Dr. Suzanne B. Phillips

Licensed Psychologist, Psychoanalyst, Diplomate in Group Psychology, Certified Group Therapist, Author, Radio Host and Media Consultant Covering a Wide Range of Psychological Topics

Post: What Are The Three Top Relationship Killers? Expert Opinions

What do you think are the three top relationship killers?

About a month ago a relationship site contacted me and asked me that question. The Coordinator of the site said that they were gathering the opinions of people, like myself, who worked with and wrote about couples. In the end they gathered some fascinating and important comments from 62 experts.

Couple staring at each other

I would invite you to consider that when your relationship is working there is no one more expert about why it feels good, thrives and keeps you both happy and healthy than both of you.

When it is not working so well, reading the opinions and advice from those who have worked with couples may provide motivation to improve your relationship. It may shine a light on what is keeping you from being happy together.

Given everyone’s interest in “ online” answers, try using these opinions as interesting information that you can read together or read separately in a way that invites self-reflection, mutual consideration or even just something different to consider together. We never know where a first step might begin.

I have listed the three top relationship killers that I identified. I have also listed comments I have heard over the years. Below them you will find the link to 62 contributions by men and women, from matchmakers to mental health professionals who work with couples….

Three Top Relationship Killers


Distrust in a relationship disqualifies the safety needed for connection, intimacy and growth. Distrust may stem from a known or feared betrayal, which left unresolved and unaddressed, slowly eats away at all that is good. Distrust, which persists regardless of apology and change, may imply that mistakes and imperfections are not allowed.

  • Sure I made mistakes, but no matter what I did, the distrust was set in stone. You can’t feel good about your life together if you can never get past the mistakes, if you live in the past and never go forward.
  • From early on the relationship, I was never complimented or thanked. Was he afraid I would feel too good about myself, not love him anymore? I don’t know, but how can you feel love if you never feel appreciated?


Disrespect in a relationship disqualifies the necessary mirroring, affirmation and appreciation that nurture a strong bond. Disrespect disrupts the feeling of mutuality that enables couples to draw upon each others strengths, enjoy each others victories, fuel each others dreams, become each others fans.

  • She stopped asking for my opinion on anything. I felt marginalized so I started pulling back and ignoring her.
  • Other people were more impressed by my athletic strides than he was. Even the children wondered why he never came to cheer me on. When I asked, he said I was wasting our time. I felt embarrassed by his lack of support.


Disinterest is a deal breaker in a relationship. Most partners would rather have someone mad at them than disinterested. Disinterest is incompatible with passion, desire and intimacy. The disinterested partner has stopped listening, laughing, flirting or touching with interest and expectation. Sex may be possible but it is obligation, compliance or routine.

  • She just stopped being interested in any intimacy.  We never laughed. There was no more fun. Eventually connection stopped mattering.
  • I think it ended when the outside world became more important than each other. When the kids left for school we stopped even trying. We had become strangers.

Read on to 62 very interesting tips on what to avoid if you want to keep your relationship healthy and happy.

“A loving relationship is one in which the loved one is free to be himself (herself) — to laugh with me, but never at me; to cry with me, but never because of me; to love life, to love himself (herself), to love being loved. Such a relationship is based upon freedom and can never grow in a jealous heart.”– Leo F. Buscaglia