3 behaviors that can ruin a relationship

Meryl Streep and her partner have been together for more than 40 years. Surprisingly, Keith Richards is the same way. On the other hand, famous people like Jennifer Lopez, Nicolas Cage, and Drew Barrymore were only married for a few months.


As examples from Hollywood show, it's hard to tell which pairs will last. Still, there are some things that might be signs that a breakup or split is coming.

So, what behaviors might top the list of relationship deal-breakers? Infidelity? Lack of ambition? Abusiveness? A recent study by M. Apostolou, published in Evolutionary Psychology, outlines six categories of behaviors that could foresee relationship dissolution.

Breakup Predictors

Study 1

Sample: 233 students fluent in Greek (132 women) from a Cyprus university; average age of 31; 39% were in a relationship and 27% single.

Methods: Participants were asked to indicate behaviors likely to negatively impact their willingness to continue a relationship by answering, “Please indicate some things your partner is likely to do which would negatively affect your willingness to stay in a relationship with him/her.”

Study 2

Sample: 536 Greek-speaking students (321 women); average age of 32; 40% in a relationship and 37% single; 28% with children.

Methods: Participants were presented with potential behaviors and were asked to rate their negative impact on relationship continuation.

The identified behaviors (obtained from the prior study) were then organized into six factors:

  1. Attempts to exert control (pushiness, criticism, manipulation, jealousy, competitiveness).
  2. Lack of care (neglect, selfishness, lack of interest, taking partner for granted, disregarding needs or opinions).
  3. Engages in abusive conduct (whining, yelling, cursing, rough behavior).
  4. Shows interest in others romantically/sexually (interacting with ex-partner, flirting, cheating, engaging in affairs).
  5. Displays undesirable traits (indolence, stinginess, lacking ambition, emotional immaturity).
  6. Poor treatment of children (neglect or limited interaction with children).

The most impactful factors were the first, second, and sixth.

Data analysis also highlighted relationship and gender differences: Women and singles provided more negative ratings across the six factors. The most prominent gender differences were observed in the "Lack of care" and "Attempts to exert control" categories.

Notably, age effects were discernible as well, with older participants attributing more negative ratings to these factors compared to younger individuals.

Key Takeaways

According to recent research, three categories of behavior significantly detrimental to the willingness to maintain a relationship are:

  1. Lack of care (e.g., insufficient time spent with partner, diminished sexual interest, neglect, ingratitude, neglecting responsibilities).
  2. Inadequate treatment of children (e.g., abusive behavior in their presence, mistreatment, failing as a parent).
  3. Controlling behavior (e.g., disrespect, manipulation, belittlement, domination, blaming partner).

Women, particularly, rated these factors negatively, possibly because women are more discerning when selecting long-term partners.

Notably, the most significant gender difference emerged in the "Lack of care" category, indicating a potential lack of commitment in the long run.

Singles, compared to those in relationships, also assigned more negative ratings to these factors. Why? It's plausible that individuals in serious relationships or marriages, due to their investment, might overlook undesirable behaviors. Singles, on the other hand, can afford to be choosier as they lack such commitment.

Alternatively, the causal direction might be reversed, implying that low tolerance for negative behavior doesn't stem from singlehood but could contribute to it.

As Wilda Harrison, a psychologist, notes, the study sheds light on significant predictors of relationship dissolution, but it may overlook a crucial aspect of human behavior: adaptability. "While controlling behavior, lack of care, and inadequate treatment of children are undoubtedly detrimental, individuals are capable of growth and change. The rigid categorization of behaviors might limit our understanding of the complexities of relationships and hinder opportunities for reconciliation and growth", she warns.

So, as you walk through the maze of love, keep in mind that the choices you make, the care you show, and the respect you show can all change the path you take. And if you ever have doubts or worries about your relationship, iFindCheaters, as the best way to catch a cheater, is a friend you can count on. Our advanced tools can help you find hidden information and give you clarity and power as you try to build a stronger, more stable relationship, giving you ways to catch a cheater. Try our dating sites search right now to take the first step toward a successful, long-lasting relationship.

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