The Surprising Key Factor That Makes Or Breaks A Relationship

What makes for a successful (or failed) relationship may not be what you'd expect.

happy couple Jacob Lund via Canva

Everyone wants to know the secret to a lasting relationship, but few do. However, there is one key factor that can help your relationship last a long time.

Relationship podcaster Jimmy Knowles delves into a research study that exposes the one thing in your relationship that can make or break it.

The Surprising Key Factor For Relationship Success

“Research shows that what men do in a relationship is by a large margin the crucial factor that separates a great relationship from a failed one," says Knowles.




Now before you yell at me, this doesn't mean women should give up and stop trying. However, it does mean that men in relationships should be more reflective about their actions.

Sadly, most men struggle with self-reflection because to be reflective takes vulnerability. And "Men have been taught over and over again that vulnerability and intimacy is a sign of weakness," says Knowles.




However, licensed therapist Sam Dekin writes that refusing vulnerability can have damaging consequences for both you and your partner.

Avoiding emotional vulnerability can lead to an increase in depression and anxiety — and depression is no joke. Dekin writes, “In 2018, men died by suicide about 3.56 times more often than women did.”

So, when men have no outlet for their emotions what else can happen? According to Dekin, it can lead men to express aggression over small mishaps.


But when we embrace emotional vulnerability we are much more likely to process our emotions better. Expressing your feelings can reduce the impact of your emotions and help you recover from them more quickly.

Along with improving your relationship, vulnerability benefits men in many ways. So, how can men learn to be more vulnerable in their relationships?

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How To Be Vulnerable In Your Relationship

If you want to become more vulnerable you need to know yourself better. As licensed therapist Keir Brady writes, "Everyone has a past and early experiences that help shape current responses and reactions.”


Knowing your past and how it shaped your triggers, is the first step to improving vulnerability. If you struggle with pinpointing your triggers ask your partner for help. During heated moments your partner will be more likely to identify what causes you to tick.

Next, sit down with your partner and discuss your past. "Discussing your experiences can help your partner understand who you are," writes Brady.

key factor for relationship successPhoto: JackF / Getty Images via Canva


Be sure to discuss your emotions throughout the day. If something happened at work that made you upset don't be afraid to share it with your partner, advises Brady.

When it comes to your partner, don't hesitate to address things that bother you at the moment. Take a deep breath and use "I" statements to express your emotions.

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Say, "I felt upset when I noticed you forgot to clean the dishes." If you feel overwhelmed during the moment take a twenty-minute break.

Tell your partner, "I feel overwhelmed and I need a twenty-minute break before we resume." Just be sure to go back and talk through the problem with your partner.


Share your fears with your partner and speak up about your needs. Your partner is there to love and support you!

Be open about your struggles and through this, you can feel better understood and connected to your partner, says Brady.

Being vulnerable isn't always easy. But guys, opening up can deepen your connection with your partner and make your relationship stronger in the long run. As Knowles puts it, vulnerability doesn't revoke your man card, it helps you earn it.

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Marielisa Reyes is a writer with a bachelor's degree in psychology who covers self-help, relationships, career, and family topics.