13 Signs Your Relationship Is in Trouble

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13 Signs Your Relationship Is Headed in the Wrong Direction

We humans long for stability in a world where everything is in flux. Despite our wishes, the only certainty in life is constant change. Nothing will be the exactly the same tomorrow as it is today.  Rivers erode one bank while causing accretion on another. Just when we think we’ve settled into a safe existence, we lose a job, someone gets sick, a child is born, a parent dies. Some change is rapid and perceptible like technological innovation or a summer storm. Other changes take eons like the creation of mountains or smoothing of jagged rock.


Your relationship is also always changing in perceptible and imperceptible ways. Even the most rock solid one is in a state of flux. Like nature, relationships have seasons and rhythms. But within each “season”, you build a stronger union or drift apart. Your thoughts, words, attitudes and behaviors dictate the direction of the change. Are you moving toward more intimacy and closeness or away toward isolation and alienation.

We have listed 13 specific danger markers to help you assess whether your relationship is headed in the wrong direction.

1-     Secrets are a cancer to relationships. They gnaw at trust and closeness and create barriers between people.

2-     Infidelity can undermine the best of relationships. Even relationships that survive the exposure are often irreparably scarred the experience. Emotional infidelity can be as damaging as physical infidelity.

3-     Lack of balance in decision making power is usually a sign of a lack of cooperation and mutuality.

4-     An overall feeling that you are superior to your partner is a prescription for dissatisfaction for both parties.

5-     Reluctance to bring your partner to business or social gatherings can be a sign of shame which is unwelcome in a healthy relationship.

6-     Resentment in sharing in your partner’s success or accomplishments reflects competitiveness and a lack of recognition that partners are on the same team.

7-     A condescending approach to your partner is a poison pill for any couple’s happiness.

8-     Feeling trapped, stifled, or imprisoned in a relationship breaks down the potential for intimacy.

9-     Prolonged and volcanic jealousy is a source of turmoil that isolates partners.

10- Destructive or malicious conflict that is hurtful and encourages partners to withdraw and retreat from each other is a barrier to intimacy.

11- Feeling critical or disappointed in significant ways about your partner discourages mutual respect and realistic love.

12- Not having basic needs and wants met creates a vacuum which chokes relationship.

13- Compromised dependability and the inability to trust your partner makes lasting, fulfilling relationships extremely difficult.

When these dangers are present in your relationship, it signals a relationship headed in the wrong direction. The best cure is to identify and take responsibility for your part, bring the problem out in the open, and together try to make positive changes. If your relationship is plagued by more than one of these dangers, working together with an objective professional can help you get back on track.


Dr. Jerry Duberstein

Dr. Jerry Duberstein has counseled individuals and couples for 40 years. He received his Ph.D. in Psychology at Saybrook Institute in San Francisco in 1986 and a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology at Antioch New England University in 1976. Dr. Duberstein’s book , Relationship Transformation: Have Your Cake and Eat It Too-A Practical Guide for Couples Who Want To Be Free and Connected is available in paper copy and ebook formats. He lives on the coast of New Hampshire with his wife, Mary Ellen Goggin. Learn more about their work by visiting their website at free & connected.

Mary Ellen Goggin 

Mary Ellen Goggin has worked with individuals and businesses for 35 years as a lawyer, mediator, personal coach and educator. She received her J.D. at University of New Hampshire Law School and a Master’s Degree at Harvard University. Ms .Goggin is the co-author of Relationship Transformation: Have Your Cake and Eat It Too-A Practical Guide for Couples Who Want To Be Free and Connected . She lives on the coast of New Hampshire with her husband, Jerry Duberstein. Learn more about their work by visiting their website at free & connected.

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5 Responses to 13 Signs Your Relationship Is in Trouble

  1. Lynne July 10, 2012 at 1:00 am #

    Very nice post. You explain everything very clearly. In every relationship fidelity, trust and team are very important. Making secrets with your partner is also a sign of infidelity and lack of trust.

    • admin July 10, 2012 at 4:27 pm #

      Hello, Lynne. Thank you and welcome to our community. Feel free to make suggestions for future topics of interest. You’ll find more inspiration on our Facebook Page Cruise on by and say hello.

    • Zakir August 9, 2012 at 12:09 am #

      Hi! I’m a new follower of your blog and I just found out why! I love this post. I am deliang with some communication issues with my boyfriend during his first deployment. We are at the beginning of it but I already feel like we are drifting a part. Any advice on how to make him realize how much a simple “how was your day babe?” or a short email saying “i miss you and love you” would mean to me? Thanks for sharing! :)

  2. Carlos August 9, 2012 at 8:06 pm #

    great post, hopefully this post can be an eye opeenr for all your readers.more people need to realize how important communication is in any relationship. And it’s not just about talking but truly listening to what your partner has to say. And people need to stop blaming the military for their go girl. :)

  3. Chad March 20, 2013 at 6:42 am #

    Great! Just found a ton of tips or guide about wrong direction in relationship.
    Thanks for the guide.