The Top 14 Silent Relationship Killers Of 2023

Relationships can sometimes take unexpected turns, leaving us bewildered as to why things are falling apart. It’s not uncommon to experience situations where a relationship seemingly ends abruptly, or we notice a dwindling spark without being able to pinpoint the cause.

This is where the concept of “silent relationship killers” comes into play. These are the subtle and often unnoticed factors that gradually erode the foundation of a relationship, leading to its deterioration.

What makes these silent relationship killers particularly insidious is that they operate stealthily, evading our awareness until the damage is already done.

Examples of silent relationship killers can vary widely, but they often involve negative patterns of behavior or communication. For instance, a lack of effective communication can slowly erode trust and intimacy over time.

When couples fail to openly express their needs, concerns, or desires, misunderstandings can accumulate, creating distance and resentment.

Another silent relationship killer is unresolved conflicts. Avoiding or brushing aside conflicts may seem like a convenient short-term solution, but it can lead to long-term damage. Unresolved issues can fester and build up resentment, ultimately weakening the connection between partners.

Neglecting quality time and emotional connection is yet another silent relationship killer. As daily routines, work pressures, and other obligations take over, couples may unintentionally overlook the importance of spending quality time together. This can lead to a gradual decline in emotional intimacy and a feeling of drifting apart.

Unhealthy patterns of criticism, blame, or defensiveness can also silently corrode a relationship. These negative interactions, when repeated over time, can erode trust, create emotional walls, and diminish the overall happiness and satisfaction within the partnership.

Moreover, external factors such as stress, financial pressures, or major life changes can contribute to the erosion of a relationship. These external stressors, if not acknowledged and managed together, can gradually strain the bond between partners, making it harder to navigate challenges as a team.

Recognizing and addressing these silent relationship killers is crucial for the longevity and well-being of a partnership. It requires open communication, self-reflection, and a willingness to work together to identify and address any destructive patterns.

Seeking professional guidance, such as couples therapy, can also provide valuable insights and tools to overcome these challenges and rebuild a stronger foundation.

  1. Poor Communication

This is no doubt the number 1 silent killer because I believe when you and your partner communicate properly with each other many other things would be in check.

Communication doesn’t involve talking alone but listening and understanding. Some of us are more concerned about what we have to say than what our partner has to say.

This doesn’t also mean texting all day but rather failing to talk to each other about things that matter or bother you when they come up or conveniently leaving out certain details.

All that shit just gets bottled up or revealed eventually, and by the time that happens, it’s usually unmanageable.

There are partners who know how to kill your vibe and frustrate your effort when you try to reach out to them.

And sooner or later you find yourself not feeling comfortable or wanting to run to them about certain things.

You shouldn’t have to overthink yourself to death or walk on Barbwires just because you want to talk to your partner.

When this begins, your relationship obviously begins to die if it isn’t worked on because the moment there is a break in communication that relationship is as good as over.

Recommended: common communication proble

  1. Lack of trust

Trust is literally meant to be the foundation of every relationship and when this foundation is shaky then the whole relationship is as well.

True some people might naturally have trust issues and not be able to give total trust but at least there must be some level of trust.

It is really bad when your partner cannot vouch for you in a relationship. And this just brings a lot of unnecessary problems in such a relationship.

You should be able to predict to an extent the things your partner can do and the places he or she would visit.

If they have never given you a reason to doubt them and its just your mindset, then you just have to learn to trust them if you really want it to work.

  1. Assumptions

We could say the Trust spoken about above and assumptions work hand in hand.

When there is a lack of trust, then assumptions must be present and this is definitely a silent killer.

You begin to think you can read your partner’s mind and know what’s going on when you might just be very wrong.

Even though some of us have very good and strong instincts and therefore our assumptions are usually correct, but still, assumptions are still assumptions. And you can’t use a few to justify all. You just have to learn to give your partner the benefits of doubts.

Thinking you can read minds eventually takes the posture of assumption instead of listening and judgment instead of compassion.

Quit assuming and start asking and listening more before your assumptions destroy your relationship totally.

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  1. Unmet Expectations

There is no doubt that when you begin a relationship there are always going to be certain underlying expectations.

We assume when we settle down our partner will meet all of these expectations and it can be really disheartening when they eventually don’t.

No matter how many times you try to kill your expectations, at some point or the other they would definitely be there.

But it’s one thing to have realistic expectations that aren’t met by your partner probably due to:

You didn’t properly express your needs or they don’t even meet the very basics because they just aren’t sensitive.

And it can be really frustrating when you have to tell a partner everything! There is nothing like when certain things are done without being told. By then you know they are paying attention to you and actually know what to do.

But having to say even the slightest things every damn time makes you wonder if they are just doing it cause you asked them to.

It can be a turn off some times and slowly kill the relationship faster than you can imagine.

See also: Why Low Expectations Are good 

  1. Unrealistic Expectations

It is one thing to have realistic but unmet expectations but it is another ball game when you keep throwing the ball way too high.

So these unmet realistic expectations are slightly different from unrealistic expectations in general.

Just like I said earlier when we enter a new relationship, we are bound to have some certain expectations.

These expectations could sometimes be tied down to what we are already used to from our previous relationships or what we want to change.

Take for example in your previous relationship your partner was buoyant enough to spoil you silly and buys you the best gifts and then you enter another relationship being used to that but then now your new lover happens to be broke but you are out there expecting a car on your birthday and when he doesn’t deliver you become demoralized.

Learn to understand that some expectations are pretty unrealistic. And if you keep having them it would slowly kill your relationship.

  1. Comparison

Sometimes these unmet and unrealistic expectations then lead to comparison. Soon we begin to feel ‘ if it was mike, he’d have done this or that’

More so, with the ease of staying in touch with past relationships through Facebook, text messages, and other social media, the temptation of comparison is great.

At some point or the other, the temptation to compare would always creep in.

You might not necessarily be comparing your present to your former but you could be comparing yours with that of another.

Oh! Sarah’s boyfriend bought her an iPhone and your boyfriend bought you a pair of earrings and now you find yourself rethinking your relationship.

It is even worse if you have to compare them to their faces. But still, whether you do it directly or silently, the resulting outcome is the same.

Testing your current relationship, based on a prior one or that of another, is a good way to kill your relationship even before it begins.

Must read: 8 negative effects comparison has on you and your relationship

  1. Belittling

Belittling is a form of verbal abuse that can show up in several different ways like criticism remarks such as “you don’t know anything” or “you would be more attractive if….”.

Or it could be in form of condescension that is meant to make you feel foolish, self-conscious, flustered or humiliate eg ‘You look ridiculous doing that’, ‘Stop fooling yourself’, ‘what is wrong with you’ etc.

Or these belittling could even come in form of playful insults and demeaning comments that puts you down or make you feel inferior and worthless.

These could often be taken as a harmless joke or constructive criticism because that’s how it’s usually passed and yes it could be sometimes.

But then when it becomes a constant thing and you continue to accept it, it becomes damaging. You start to second guess yourself and wonder if there is any truth in it.

Especially for  Perfectionists, over thinkers, and people-pleasers who happen to be highly self-critical. They are more susceptible to taking belittling remarks to heart.

When you eventually do, the belittler might accuse you of being too sensitive, causing you to question your own account of what happened.

You might begin to feel you are overreacting and sweep it down the carpet while it affects you. This is not just belittling, but another form of emotional abuse called gaslighting. 

  1. Invalidating Feelings

I spoke about gaslighting earlier where partner passes your feelings as an overreaction thereby invalidating them.

At some point, this could make you start to question yourself as well and sooner or later could end up making your feelings feel invalid.

You or your partner should never have to feel like your feelings don’t matter in your relationship.

The moment either of you begins to feel this way, you start to lose each other.

See also: 12 ways to make your man feel safe, appreciated and loved

  1. Harbouring hidden resentment

This happens to be one of the very silent killers of relationships. Infact most relationships that die down out of the blue often have this as the root.

So many different things can make us resent our partner and worst of- so many things can make us get all quiet about it as well.

I talked about invalidating feelings. Imagine having your partner sweep your feelings under the carpet every time and you’ve complained several times but still… Nothing.

Before you realize you begin to get pissed and might as well not see the reason for voicing it out anymore. You begin to resent them.

As VoxMeretricis wrote, “by the time resentment is expressed, the damage is already done” to the relationship.

It starts out quietly but becomes something big over time, which is what makes it so damaging.

Whether you feel trapped, angry, or something else entirely, it’s crucial to air grievances because when it is not aired it becomes a dangerous prospect.

Must read: 4 Must do away Factors Of Negative Emotions

  1. Silent treatment

Often times when couples are in conflict with each other, it happens one partner might not want to talk anymore or worse both partners.

That’s fine but choosing to totally ignore your partner with the silent treatment constantly even when they are trying to talk to you might not really be wise.

Needing space is healthy and normal but the silent treatment is ultimately a cutting off of communication.

If this goes on for way too long thereby affecting the relationship then we could say you’re already ready to give up on it.

  1. Lacking curiosity

Wonder is a magical ingredient for a healthy relationship,” says relationship therapist Janet Zinn, LCSW.

She explains that when we ask our partner details of their days, their thoughts, their ideas with an open mind we learn and grow from them

And I totally agree!

Relationships are much more fun when both partners are curious about each other. It happens this curiosity often last for the period when they are just getting to know each other.

And then we realize that years into the relationship and there are still some exciting things you don’t know about your partner that they might want you to but then you aren’t even curious.

Nothing kills a vibe more than being curious about your partner and asking them questions about themselves only to realize they don’t even ask back or really want to know yours.

Personally, I would stop because I would take it that you don’t care to know. And Before you realize the whole excitement and connections begins to die slowly when this happens and I believe this applies to many others as well

It’s this connection that keeps the relationship going. If you lose your sense of curiosity or even just caring what your partner has to say, you are in trouble and are silently killing your relationship fast.

See also: 10 Easy tips to build a healthier relationship

  1. Withholding affection

Withholding affection can be a form of emotional abuse and it’s usually done to maintain control or inflict pain for whatever reason.

These affections could be in various forms and whether affection means being really touchy-feely, asking each other intense questions about meaningful things, or helping each other through obstacles etc

Being absent and unaffectionate for a long time with or without just cause can bring some kind of doubts in a relationship that ends up being irreparable.

Recommended: how to make someone feel important to you

  1. Lack of courtesy

In relationships, people of different backgrounds and doctrines often come together as one.

You really do not expect your partner to think like you or act like you, this is another area where unmet expectations surfaces.

Perfection in a relationship is a feat many would consider unattainable. In view of this, there would be misunderstandings, arguments and fights.

You should learn to apologize when the fault is yours and let go even when it is not. Using the words thank you, sorry and please will help your relationship a great deal.

There are many other areas where basic courtesy might be required. No one wants to be trampled in a relationship; if you treat your partner as dirt or irrelevant, he or she may be forced to leave.

Must read: The 3 magic words for both personal and relationship growth

  1. Keeping Desires to Yourself

For couples who put a priority on intimacy- feeling unsatisfied sexually could be a major issue at some point.

Not speaking up about your sexual desires as well as what turns you on can slowly turn a good relationship into an unhappy one.

Talking about curiosity above, these are some of the things you could as well ask your spouse if a conversation relating to it comes up or you could bring it up.

What’s his or her favourite sex position? Do you even know? What are some of the things they like? Often times people get silent about their desires when their partners seem to care less.

Too many people especially those in established relationships are too shy or too scared to raise the topic. And if peradventure they do and it doesn’t seem forthcoming they lockup.

They probably don’t want to be viewed in a certain light. As a result, many people who want to do things even mild things don’t even mention their interests.

Over time, that’s a silent killer that could even lead to cheating

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A Love Doctor Who Passionately Shares Love And Finance Tips