The 9 Fights Most Likely to Derail Your Relationship, According to a Therapist

Stephanie Booth | Aug 11, 2016 Love & Sex
The 9 Fights Most Likely to Derail Your Relationship, According to a Therapist

unhappy married coupleWhen couples run smack-dab into trouble, it's not always because of another woman. Or man. Or mid-life crisis.

In fact, the reasons a relationship can swing so vehemently from love to hate are disturbingly common.

Click through to see what everyday issues are most likely to derail your marriage. Any already taking a toll? There's no shame in talking to a therapist. Doing so now could save your marriage -- or help you realize you're better off single.


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  • Compatibility

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    No matter how charming your partner, "if he or she's a player, an out-of-control spender, a con artist, an alcoholic/addict, or violent, no amount of love on your part will fix him or her one bit,” says Tina B. Tessina, PhD (aka "Dr. Romance"), a psychotherapist in southern California and author of How to Be Happy Partners: Working It Out Together.

  • Problem-Solving

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    "Partnership is the name of the game, not 'I want you to take care of me, and I'll throw a temper tantrum if you don't,'" Tessina says. "You'll get a lot more of what you want if you ask directly and simply, and motivate with affection, humor, and fun."

  • Household Chores

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    Lots of people try to fill in the gaps and keep the peace by doing whatever their partner ISN'T doing around the house or with the kids, Tessina notes. It's an attempt to defuse the situation. Unfortunately, "if your partner won't help around the house," she explains, "doing it all yourself won't save your relationship."

    More from CafeMom: 5 Household Chores My Husband Is Not Allowed to Do

  • Empathy

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    "If you don't care about what your partner thinks, wants, and feels, you prevent him or her from loving you," explains Tessina. "Both of you need to be happy for it to work, and both of you need to cooperate to make a successful relationship."

  • Sex

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    Your partner thinks you're not having enough. You think you're having TOO much. Or maybe it's not frequency you're arguing about, but the type of sex you're having. Either way, "sex is a form of relationship communication," Tessina explains. "If you have hang-ups or unrealistic expectations, and won't address them, you won't have a lasting relationship.”

  • Money

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    This one will shock absolutely no one. "Money is an important, inevitable part of a relationship," Tessina says. "The arguments [about money] will suck the joy and love right out of a relationship."

    More from CafeMom: 10 True Stories of Money Nightmares While Parenting

  • Self-Esteem

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    Only change into your PJs in the bathroom? Or don’t like to eat in front of your spouse? "If you don't like yourself, your partner will know, and eventually get tired of trying to love you when you feel unlovable," Tessina points out.

  • Lack of Self-Control

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    Compulsive behavior such as overeating, gambling, drugs, alcohol, or overspending "destroys the trust in your relationship, and eventually the love," Tessina says.   

  • Communication

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    "If you make assumptions that your partner thinks the way you do, then get angry when he or she doesn't, you're not learning what you need to know to be partners," says Tessina. "If you don't learn how to communicate and find out what your partner thinks, you won't be able to get along."

    More from CafeMom: 9 Signs Your Marriage Is On the Rocks

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