Relationship Issues That Can't Be Fixed, According To A Licensed Counselor

At one point or another, all couples learn that communication, trust, respect, and intimacy form the basis of a successful relationship. If the relationship between you and your partner feels like a precarious balancing act, this may be a sign that you need to step back and re-evaluate things.


Even the most successful relationships experience a fair share of hardships, to be sure, but certain issues are more difficult to work through than others and may put an end to a relationship if not resolved.

Glam consulted Portland-based licensed professional counselor Jeff Guenther for exclusive insight into the warning signs and red flags to watch out for within a relationship. Guenther — who can be found on TikTok and Instagram — has worked with both couples and individuals since 2005. According to his expertise, these five issues act as serious relationship killers and may signify that your relationship isn't the right one for you.

Neglecting small gestures

One of the tell-tale signs that your relationship is on the rocks is when your interactions lose the intimate or attentive quality and begin to take on a roommate dynamic. "Over time, if you stop engaging in little acts of affection — like compliments, flirting, touching, or spending quality time together — it's as if you've become roommates, merely crossing paths in the hallway," Jeff Guenther explains in an exclusive conversation with Glam. "This creates a significant gap, making it feel too daunting to mend things, or perhaps you've already emotionally moved on."


For instance, it's common for couples to fall into the fatal roommate phase after cohabitation or marriage. In this case, it's critical to maintain a healthy level of intimacy by prioritizing quality time and romantic gestures to sustain the spark. Otherwise, this may communicate a lack of priority or care for the other partner, unintentionally or otherwise. However, if both sides have given up or no longer feel it is worth the effort, the relationship may have reached the point of no return.

Repetitive arguments

Quarrels and disagreements are commonplace in any relationship. When you find yourself going in circles and bickering over the same issues, this is when things take a turn for the worse. "Frequent unresolved arguments, where the same issues resurface without any resolution or repair, lead to deep-seated resentment, contempt, and emotional exhaustion," Jeff Guenther shares in an exclusive interview with Glam. "This means even minor disagreements trigger a sense of 'here we go again' followed by shutdown and withdrawal."


In other words, if all conflicts result in one or both partners shutting down or feeling triggered, every argument then remains unproductive, which only leads to further bitterness and contempt. This creates an unhealthy cycle that becomes difficult to address as time goes on, resulting in unmet needs and constant tension. At this point, continuing to pursue the relationship may feel pointless as "the emotional journey to fix things then seems too overwhelming."

Desire for independence

"Occasionally, a partner craves freedom outside the relationship. This often isn't about the partner's inadequacy, but about a personal journey of self-discovery," Jeff Guenther tells Glam exclusively. Therefore, the need for independence within a relationship is both normal and healthy — to a certain degree. It's when one partner's desire for freedom leads to that individual feeling stifled or stuck that it inevitably takes its toll on the relationship.


It's worth noting that "the partner seeking independence might still love their significant other, but this need often leads to feelings of being trapped, creating a gap in the relationship that's hard to bridge." This may lead to irreconcilable differences if the individual's desire for independence stems from a deeper issue that's not being addressed or if the other partner continues to feel neglected. In this scenario, one partner can't simply give the other more space to fix the issue; if that person feels "trapped" within the relationship, exiting the relationship may be the only viable option for them. 

Falling for someone else

"Developing feelings for someone outside the current relationship typically signals unmet emotional needs," Jeff Guenther reveals in an exclusive chat with Glam. "Perceived as a significant betrayal, this erodes trust and breaks emotional connections."


Building mutual trust between partners is no easy task, as it takes time to develop. As a crucial pillar of any union, a lack of trust is enough to end a relationship. For some individuals, a betrayal of this kind can break this trust, and the resulting damage to the relationship may be too much to bear. If this occurs more than once, or a partner's straying attraction leads to unfaithfulness, the trust may never return. This often leads to a toxic relationship where one or both partners feel resentment toward the other.

"The redirection of affection towards someone else renders the task of mending the original relationship extremely difficult, if not impossible," Guenther adds.

Growing apart

It's common for relationships to change over time, but why does this happen? According to Jeff Guenther, who spoke exclusively with Glam, "Sometimes, partners simply grow apart, leading to unexpected shifts in the relationship." He added, "As individuals evolve, their interests, beliefs, or needs might diverge, resulting in incompatibility. Often, this isn't anyone's fault and can be unpredictable, but it may mean there's not enough left to hold the relationship together."


While many couples will adapt the relationship to align with shifting priorities or needs, it's not uncommon for some people to struggle with these changes. It's difficult to shorten the distance and rebuild an emotional connection when both individuals have drifted too far.

That said, it's important to note that your attempts to reconcile a relationship are not automatically futile simply because you notice hints of one or more of these issues. There are many factors at play when it comes to relationship dynamics. Consulting a relationship counselor can help pinpoint the underlying problems only if both parties are willing to put in the necessary effort.