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I'm a Therapist and This Is How I Know a Relationship Won't Last

This one issue can breed so much resentment that it's often hard to come back from.

There are lots of tell-tale signs to look out for that a relationship might be on the rocks—for instance, a lack of physical intimacy, mismatched values and goals, or having the same argument over and over. But according to Jeff Guenther, LPC (@therapyjeff), there's one issue that's definitely worth looking out for. "I can almost guarantee a relationship won't last if I see this one thing happening," he says in a recent TikTok video. So, what is it? Read on for Guenther's insight into a common problematic dynamic.

RELATED: 7 Things Divorced People Wish They Had Done Differently in Their Marriage.

It's almost impossible to have a happy relationship when one partner puts in more effort.

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All relationships ebb and flow. There might be times when one partner needs to pick up a little slack because the other is overworked or overwhelmed—but on the whole, you should be contributing equally.

"If one partner is consistently putting in more work, more effort, and more labor than the other, it's going to tip the balance eventually," Guenther explains.

This type of dynamic—where one person is pulling all the weight—is one of the top signs a relationship won't last, says Guenther.

Resentment is bound to build.

Angry millennial couple arguing shouting blaming each other of problem, frustrated husband and annoyed wife quarreling about bad marriage relationships, unhappy young family fighting at home concept
iStock / fizkes

The reason why relationships rarely flourish with this dynamic is because the person putting in all the effort typically starts harboring resentment and anger. Guenther says this can start to build over time, and ultimately, become "too much to recover from."

Resentment is often referred to as the "silent relationship killer," because it can become toxic if it's not addressed.

If and when you do break up, one partner may feel blindsided.

man looking concerned while talking to the woman across from him

Another almost guarantee?

"When [the relationship] ends, the partner who wasn't putting in as much effort will be shocked," says Guenther. "They'll wonder why it's ending, while the one calling it quits will be like, 'Really? These are all the times I told you this was a problem.'"

In other words, there's often a disconnect between partners—which can make for a confusing breakup. Whereas the person doing all the work may feel as if they've expressed that something is bothering them, their partner may either underestimate their frustration or just fail to pick up on it entirely.

RELATED: 5 Body Language Signs That Mean Your Partner Wants to Break Up, According to Therapists.

This is why communication is key.

one-third of couples would give up alcohol to never do chores again, survey finds

"So, be honest with yourself," says Guenther. "Are you the one putting in less effort? Because if you don't change, it could spell doom."

In a separate TikTok video, Guenther reveals that one of the most crucial moments to speak up in your relationship is when you notice an unfair distribution of household chores, emotional labor, financial responsibilities, or anything else.

If you're the one who's putting in more effort, it's important to give your partner an opportunity to step it up by sharing how you're feeling. Try expressing this as a need rather than an accusation, and starting with an "I" statement.

For example, you might say, "I feel really exhausted lately because it seems like if I don't do the housework, it just won't ever get done. It would mean so much to me if you could choose a few chores each week to help out with." Saying it this way is far less likely to put your partner on the defensive than if you say, "You never help me with anything around the house and I'm sick and tired of it."

On the other hand, if you think you may be the one slacking in the relationship, consider asking your partner what they need from you. They may feel too awkward about asking for your help, and by saying, "What can I start doing to make your life easier?" you're showing that you acknowledge how hard they're working, you care about their happiness, and you're willing and eager to share the burdens.

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Rebecca Strong
Rebecca Strong is a Boston-based freelance health/wellness, lifestyle, and travel writer. Read more
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