Unhappy Relationships-Wrecking Balls at Work


How are unhappy relationships created when things started off so well? In his book Love Busters, author Willard Harley Ph.D. cites six broad categories of behavior that serve to drain the love out of relationships. As a practicing counselor for the past forty years, I have learned the truths gathered by Dr. Harley the hard way.  The six areas he defines I believe are an accurate description of the kinds of thought and behavior problems that plague many marriages and significant relationships that function like a marriage.


  1. Selfish Demands
  2. Disrespectful Judgements
  3. Angry Outbursts
  4. Annoying behavior
  5. Independent behavior
  6. Dishonesty

It is impossible to fully explain these behavior patterns or do justice to them in a brief blog post.  When all six of them are present in a relationship, it spells HUGE problems for those involved. And, it doesn’t take all six to be present. Just one of them can be enough to destroy the love your partner feels for you or the love you felt for your partner in the beginning of your time together.


I highly recommend Dr. Harley’s book if you are in a relationship that is deteriorating due to the presence of .one or more of these wrecking ball behavior patterns.  The book does not simply define the dysfunctional action patterns. It also provides solutions. There is a part one and a part two explanation for each category.  Part one defines the problem itself with its effects.  Part two for each problem defines the practical process for resolving it.. 


All of the solutions proposed in the book are based on a “win-win” orientation. They are designed to enable both parties in the relationship to gain benefit out of the conflict resolution. This fosters gratitude for both sides of the equation promoting positive feelings about the change process and enhancing the likelihood that the change will stick.


In addition to the book Love Busters, I would like to recommend the workbook that Dr. Harley created for identifying the love busters in your relationships and solutions for each of the categories identified. They work for both partners in the relationship.  The workbook is Five Steps to Romantic Love: A Workbook for Readers of Love Busters and His Needs, Her Needs. Here is the link to purchase it if you want to do more to improve a failing relationship with the partner you fell in love with.



  1. Good list you got about relationships. Very useful especially in these times where divorce rate is just going up so rapidly and by my experience, there is a lot of younger generations (around my age) that even think marriage is just pointless or a sham because they think a couple will never be happy together in the long run, regardless how well the relationship started off.

    Keep creating content about these issues and I think you’re going to see a lot of people seeking out knowledge from you, sooner than you think!

    Certainly off to a great start for a site.

  2. Great list of relationship books. I know many people that have relationship problems. I would recommend them to come to your site for some advice. Thank you for your work.

  3. I don’t exactly believe in the books and therapy.. I do however in honesty at all costs when in a relationship.. Except when it comes to whether or not i look fat lol.

    I think a lot of the times, people are not honest with themselves to start with and by extension their partners. THen it evolves into something they are both unhappy with.

    1. Thanks for your perspective! I regard books as an opportunity to learn from the wisdom of others, therapy the same way. It saved my life a long time ago.
      Thanks for the comment.

  4. After being in an extremely dangerous and toxic relationship, I wish I had read these tips back then. Sadly it was better to just cut the strings and move on, at the hopes of retaining any of my happiness and sanity. I hope everyone is a toxic relationship can find the help they deserve,

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