17 Proven Ways To Avoid Relationship Breakdown

By David Small •  Updated: 05/22/16 •  20 min read

Preventing a relationship breakdown is a conscious, daily effort that requires commitment and dedication. One thing you will need to find out for certain is whether or not your partner is willing to put in the effort it takes to build a lasting relationship.

If you both are ready to put in some effort and take the time to understand what is going wrong as well as taking the necessary steps to fix things, then these tips may be just what you are looking for.

relationship breakdown

One thing I know for sure is that saving a relationship can be a challenge, and truly, it needs a lot of effort to do it, especially if you and your partner have already gone through a lot, and especially if there is infidelity between the two of you.

I have compiled a list 17 ways so that you can take your relationship to the next level and avoid relationship breakdown.

Although there may be no single magic that works in fixing all our relationship problems, there are, however, ways that can help you iron out your problems and at least save your relationship from breaking down. Here are some tips on how to save your relationship that you may find useful.

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1. Communicate.

One of the most important ways to avoid a breakdown in your relationship is communication. When communication breaks down, the relationship soon follows. Relationships cannot be sustained where communication is not flowing. Miscommunication is especially dangerous to your relationship.

Couples who misinterpret, assume or refuse to listen are at risk of having problems in their relationship. This is often the result of underlying issues, which can range from childhood wounds to unrelated circumstances. Unresolved conflict and suppressed emotions can also lead the couple to destructive communication.

All relationship problems stem from poor communication, according to Jimmy Evans and Frank Martin, authors of Blending Families. “You can’t communicate while you’re checking your cell phone, watching TV, or flipping through the sports section,” she says. Make an actual appointment with each other, Shimberg says. If you live together, put the cell phones on vibrate, put the kids to bed, and let voice mail pick up your calls. If you can’t “communicate” without raising your voices, go to a public spot like the library, park, or restaurant where you’d be embarrassed if anyone saw you screaming.

To communicate properly and avoid a breakdown in your relationship, use body language to show you’re listening. Don’t doodle, look at your watch, or pick at your nails. Nod so the other person knows you’re getting the message, and rephrase if you need to. All these little things will help save your marriage from breakdown.

2. Sex

Sex is another vital key point to avoid relationship breakdown. Even partners who love each other can be a mismatch, sexually. Mary Jo Fay, author of Please Dear, Not Tonight: The Truth About Women and Sex: What They Want, What They’re Not Getting, and Why, says a lack of sexual self-awareness and education can lead to a breakdown in your relationship. Having sex is one of the last things you should give up, Fay says. “It brings us closer together, releases hormones that help our bodies both physically and mentally, and keeps the chemistry of a healthy couple healthy,” Fay concluded.

Fay suggests making an appointment, but not necessarily at night when everyone is tired. Maybe during the baby’s Saturday afternoon nap or a “before-work quickie.” Ask friends or family to take the kids every other Friday night for a sleepover. “When sex is on the calendar, it increases your anticipation,” Fay says. Changing things up a bit can make sex more fun, too, she says. Why not have sex in the kitchen? Or by the fire? Or standing up in the hallway?

Learn what truly turns you and your partner on by each of you coming up with a personal “Sexy List,” suggests California psychotherapist Allison Cohen. Swap the lists and use them to create more scenarios that turn you both on. Great sex is not something that just happens by accident and then disappears after the first 6 months “honeymoon” period of a relationship. Rather, great sex can be had forever and it can only happen when an emotionally healthy woman and a strong sexually confident man get together. Having great sex is a sure way to avoid a breakdown in your relationship.


3. Trust

Trust is the most vital component of a healthy relationship and a great tool to avoid a breakdown in your relationship. It is the first thing that must be resolved before the marriage relationship can be repaired. A marriage without trust is on its way to dissolution. When trust is broken, it is difficult to restore, but it is not impossible.

The very first thing a couple with a breakdown of trust must do is to reinstate total honesty with their partner. Confession of dishonesty sheds light on the things that are being hidden in the relationship. Then, daily accountability and reinforcement of truth must be practiced. When a couple practices daily honesty, intimacy can be restored. This process may take a while; it takes one moment to break trust and a very long time to rebuild it.

Transparency is one of the greatest gifts you can give your spouse and it will help you avoid a breakdown in your relationship. If you have a password on your cell phone or social network system, your spouse has every right to assume the worst. If you have mysterious meetings that pop up unexpectedly, or time that you are unavailable and cannot account for your whereabouts, your spouse will absolutely assume you are hiding something awful. Rather than breed doubt and become angry when questioned, offer your spouse total transparency.

4. Jealousy and insecurity.

Jealousy is the fastest act that can lead to relationship breakdown. Insecure couples are forever locked in a cycle of jealousy and anger. When you feel jealous about the attention your lover’s getting or their recent promotion, you’re not helping them become a better individual. It’s like a parent who’s angry with their child because the child is having “too much fun”.

You need to learn to have faith in each other and in the relationship. Instead of letting negativity build inside the relationship, learn to enjoy each other’s successes. After all, your partner is your better half, and any accomplishments of theirs are your accomplishments too, isn’t it?

A recent study of college students showed that jealousy is rampant in the world of Facebook and romantic relationships. Accessibility of information makes it possible for people to monitor each other and the lack of context means that misunderstandings leading to jealousy are frequent.

I encourage couples to discuss the ground rules for sites such as Facebook if you want to avoid relationship breakdown. You may want to discuss the length of time spent on the site, whether access to your partner’s profile is allowed and how you want to navigate the ‘friending’ of ex-partners.

17 Proven ways to avoid relationship breakdown

5. Time.

Spending time with each other will help you avoid a breakdown in your relationship. Do both of you have enough time to spend with each other? These days, time is a luxury that most lovers can’t afford. When you start spending too much time away from each other, it’s only a matter of time before one of you starts asking the big question, “Do I need my partner in my life anymore?”

Don’t drift away so far that both of you don’t need to be with each other anymore. Find ways to indulge in exciting hobbies or spend evenings going out on little coffee or ice cream dates. They make for great conversations and it’ll bring both of you closer too. Show love by giving time to your partner. One of the most common things that can lead to relationship breakdown is the lack of time for each other. If you want to show your partner that you love him or her, you have to make sure you give a part of your time to her.

6. Conflict.

Avoid relationship breakdown by dealing with the problems in your relationship. Occasional conflict is a part of life, according to New York-based psychologist Susan Silverman. But if you and your partner feel like you’re starring in your own nightmare version of the movie Groundhog Day — i.e. the same lousy situations keep repeating day after day — it’s time to break free of this toxic routine. When you make the effort, you can lessen the anger and take a calm look at underlying issues.

You and your partner can learn to argue in a more civil, helpful manner, Silverman says. Make these strategies part of who you are in this relationship. Be honest with yourself. When you’re in the midst of an argument, are your comments geared toward resolving the conflict, or are you looking for payback? If your comments are blaming and hurtful, it’s best to take a deep breath and change your strategy.

If you continue to respond in the way that’s brought you pain and unhappiness in the past, you can’t expect a different result this time. Just one little shift can make a big difference and help you avoid relationship breakdown. If you usually jump right in to defend yourself before your partner is finished speaking, hold off for a few moments. You’ll be surprised at how such a small shift in tempo can change the whole tone of an argument.

Keep in mind too that unresolved issues and concerns can add ‘fuel’ to future arguments and quarrels, and for sure, you don’t want to make your misunderstandings go bigger and bigger until it reaches its peak when one of you wants to give up the working on the relationship.

relationship breakdown

7. Make your relationship a priority.

If you want to avoid a breakdown in your relationship keep, making your relationship a focal point should not end when you say “I do.” “Relationships lose their luster. So make yours a priority,” says Karen Sherman, author of Marriage Magic! Find It, Keep It, and Make It Last.

Do the things you used to do when you were first dating: Show appreciation, complement each other, contact each other through the day, and show interest in each other. Plan date nights. Schedule time together on the calendar just as you would any other important event in your life. Respect one another. Say “thank you,” and “I appreciate…” It lets your partner know that they matter.

We often do not realize that we are neglecting our significant other. We get carried away by things that keep us busy and before we could realize how the other person feels about it, we have presented with the breakup letters, announcing the ending of the relationship!
How to prevent this from happening? It is easier than you think. The first thing to do is to become aware that you have been neglecting your partner, albeit unintentionally.

Once you become aware of this, take immediate action. Show the other person how you feel about them. Spend some quality time together. Make it explicit that they are important to you. You can even apologize for neglecting them, citing the reasons.

8. Don’t air your dirty laundry in public

Avoid relationship breakdown by keeping your problems to yourself. We have all seen those Facebook posts of someone who has written a gripe about their girlfriend/boyfriend, boss or work colleague, forgetting they are ‘friends’ with this person and they too can read the gripe. While it makes for a humorous story, the reality is that this kind of activity leads to relationship breakdown.

If you have an issue with someone, address it directly with that person, preferably in person, but at least on the phone. Sitting down in front of another person and bringing up the issue or conflict will automatically increase the chances of you working through the disagreement.

When you get into a fight with your partner, do not tell your family and friends every little detail about it. When you do this, you are actually hurting your relationship. The reason is that even though your family and friends only want to support you, by knowing you had conflict they will judge your relationship and your partner after that.

They will judge your partner based on things you’ve said about them while you were upset or angry. Whenever you are speaking out of anger you will speak with disdain and venom, and often not tell all sides of the story. So keep your personal life between the two of you. It could save your relationship from a breakdown.


9. Respect and admire each other.

Sometimes, we get upset and frustrated about something in the relationship that we end up saying the wrong things and eventually hurt each other. Learn respect. It’s earned. Give room for each other and take time to settle your issues if you really want to avoid relationship breakdown.

Think honestly and assess how you have been treating your partner. You may feel that you have love and respect for your partner at the bottom of your heart. But do you show them? If you do not, how will your partner know your feelings for him/her? Treating your lover with respect involves making time for them, no matter how busy you are in your mainstream activities.

Love cannot exist without respect. Understanding cannot exist without respect. A relationship will not last without respect. Anything about respect, it’s a big deal to every relationship. The marriage, even if has stood through the test of time, respect should always be a part of it.

10. Compromise

Learning how to compromise in your relationship is essential to stay away from relationship breakdown. When you go on vacation, for example, make sure you split up the things you do 50/50 between things you like to do and things your partner likes to do.

The best way to have real compromise is to find out what each other really wants. In this vacation example, you could say something like “Today I’d love to do this. What would you like to do tomorrow? How about if we make today my day and tomorrow your day (or make half of each day be yours)? That way we can both do things we enjoy.” Real compromise is about coming to an arrangement that makes both parties happy.

It is always best to give and take; a relationship will break down when you give all the time and the other half is just taking and taking. What can you get when only one of you is working for the relationship to last? Remember, it takes two to tango; compromising don’t make you less as a person, in fact, doing it can cause a BIG THING – happier and long-lasting relationship.

11. Money

Money problems can start even before the wedding vows are exchanged and if not handled well, can lead to relationship breakdown. They can stem, for example, from the expenses of courtship or from the high cost of a wedding. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) recommends that couples who have money woes take a deep breath and have a serious conversation about finances.

Be honest about your current financial situation. If things have gone south, continuing the same lifestyle is unrealistic. Don’t approach the subject in the heat of battle. Instead, set aside a time that is convenient and non-threatening for both of you. Acknowledge that one partner may be a saver and one a spender, understand there are benefits to both and agree to learn from each other’s tendencies. Don’t hide income or debt. Bring financial documents, including a recent credit report, pay stubs, bank statements, insurance policies, debts, and investments to the table if you want to stay far from relationship breakdown.

Too many new couples feel that discussing money issues is totally unromantic; they often avoid or cut short money discussions. That is until money becomes an ISSUE. Being a couple increases financial strain on those involved and every couple desiring to have a lasting relationship and avoid breakdown a should learn to have serious financial discussions from time to time.


12. Be accountable and apologetic.

Apologizing to your partner will help you stay away from trouble and also avoid a relationship breakdown. When the time is right, take your turn to talk and respond to what your partner has said.

Avoid making your partner feel like their feelings are wrong or unjustified or invalid. This will just create a barrier between you, one you won’t be able to cross. Instead, be loving and considerate and when necessary, say you are sorry for things you may have done. Acknowledge out loud that your partner’s feelings are real, and that they are important to you.

Saying I’m sorry is the hardest word to say, but when each one of you commits a mistake on marriage, sorry will take away all your pride and will allow doors of the heart to open again, giving one more chance to work out the relationship. Forgiveness means your heart is with the relationship, and you are ready again to take the battle with each other and stay away from relationship breakdown.

13. Incompatibility in love

Love at first sight and infatuation can last several months and it does a good job of masking any differences in a relationship. As perfect as two people may be, sometimes, they may just not be perfect for each other and if not handled properly, may lead to relationship breakdown.

If you find yourself dating someone with whom you have nothing in common, you need to decide on the next step. Try to find common interests that both of you like, or walk your own paths instead of living in frustrations. It’s not uncommon to see couples who are in love with each other and are well balanced, but you can see that something is missing. They are husband and wife and excellent parents, but they are not companions! The life of one has not been inseparable companionship for the life of the other.

In these cases, what is missing is the generosity to open up one’s interior life – often the most difficult thing to do – and offer it and give it with pleasure to the other. Doing this will help you avoid relationship breakdown. When the two become companions, good companions, of course – the gift of intimacy overflows and gives rise to profound joy, which cannot be hidden. It is found in those who feel that they are companions; they truly are, in their work, dreams, desires, expectations, fantasies, expressions, feelings, projects, thoughts and memories.

14. Respect your partner space and personal growth

To avoid a heart-breaking breakdown in your relationship, you need to respect your partner’s space and personal growth.  Marriage, of course, makes them one flesh, but at the same time both conserve all of the unique characteristics of their genuine personalities.

Consequently, it is necessary to define the necessary space of personal freedom which is appropriate for each one of them and which the other neither can nor should attempt to invade or cease to respect.  Space and individual growth are contradictory to the earlier problem in relationships. But it’s still something to watch out for. Too much of a good thing can turn out to be bad too. When you’re in a relationship, spending time with each other is very important. But at the same time, spending time away from each other is crucial too.


15. Keep a balanced and flexible division of tasks and roles.

It’s not a matter of “lending a hand” with the least pleasant tasks just as an excuse for loading the other person down with more work. It’s simply a way of being more efficient, but without getting bogged down in functionalist utilitarianism. This is why, if one of the spouses sees that the other one does some task or chore that requires a lot of work, he or she should take the initiative to do it sometimes or to help the other do the job.

Most partners work outside the home and often at more than one job. So it’s important to fairly divide the labor at home, says Paulette Kouffman Sherman, author of Dating From the Inside Out. Be organized and clear about your respective job in the home, Kouffman-Sherman says. “Write all the jobs down and agree on who does what.” Be fair so no resentment builds.

16. Believe in yourself

To keep up your morale as you plow ahead with your steps to avoid a relationship breakdown, think about the proverbial little engine that could, whose mantra became “I think I can, I think I can.” Treasure this mantra, and say it to yourself multiple times a day. If deep down you believe that you don’t deserve to be loved, you need to change that. Use “temporal tapping,” a technique for changing self-defeating beliefs. With the three longest fingers of your right hand, tap in a circle around your right ear.

Be the person you know you can be, and the person your partner fell in love with. No matter what happens, don’t give into depression, to suspicion, to manipulation. Show your genuine feelings, share your honest thoughts, and be the best person you can be – hopefully the person your partner couldn’t resist.

17. Look your best

Appearance can be a huge factor in the odds of success in avoiding a relationship breakdown. Lose weight. Rethink your hairstyle. Pay attention to the clothes you’ve been wearing: throw out those baggy sweatpants and outdated shoes. Picture how you would look if you were to look strikingly attractive. If the image isn’t clear, pay attention to attractive people dress or to newscasters or other well-dressed folks on TV Then figure out how to make that your new personal style.

Cleanliness is surely the first thing that not only your partner but even your colleagues notice in you. To be clean, you really need not spend 1 hour in the bath daily, just ensure that you take enough time to clean yourself.

Being confident about your own self is very important to look attractive to anyone. So, opt for everything that can help you to feel more confident. When you believe that you are looking beautiful, automatically you feel more confident. Walk confidently and behave confidently, it can help you a lot in every aspect of life and help you avoid relationship breakdown.


So, look at the above list and then at your own relationship. Ask yourself how many of the relationship-destroying behaviors you and your partner engage. Ask yourself how many of the relationship-building behaviors you and your partner engage. Then, find out the areas you’re falling short and start making changes right away.

Having a great relationship takes work, patience and a lot of understanding. Don’t just give up on one before you work on it. If you do work on it and it still doesn’t work out, then at least you know you did everything you could to not only keep it from falling apart but to make it amazing.


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David Small

is the founder and editor of relationshiptips4u. He is a dating, marriage & relationship coach, speaker, and author. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
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