How To Ruin a Great Relationship in 8 Easy Steps

July 24, 2020
8 mins read
how to ruin a great relationship in 8 easy steps
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Last Updated on February 21, 2022 by Randy Withers, LCMHC

Do you attract creeps, control freaks, abusive alcoholics, and narcissistsHave you had to secure at least one restraining order because you broke up with some lunatic who had his mom text you that he was going to commit suicide unless you took him back?

Would you like to learn how to ruin a great relationship?

Before we get into it, let’s begin with a few questions: do you have train wrecks in your life? Are train wrecks your spirit animal? Are train wrecks your jam? Perhaps a part of you likes the fact that you’re just so much better than these fools.

How To Ruin A Relationship In 8 Easy Steps
How To Ruin a Great Relationship in 8 Easy Steps

These guys satisfy your need to be in control while reinforcing your poor sense of self-worth. So, when a Good Man randomly makes his way into the pockmarked minefield that is your love life, it’s only natural that you’d burn any chance of happiness to the ground.

Why? Because he’s mentally healthy, and that freaks you out. Because he’s kind, so he must have an agenda. Because he’s patient, so that must mean he’s judging you. Because he’s good in bed, so that must mean he’s sleeping around. Because good men don’t actually exist.

If concepts like “contentment” or “happiness” make you want to heave, then here are 8 sure-fire steps to ensure that you drive the good ones away, and continue to attract the dumpster fires you’re more comfortable dating.

How To Ruin A Relationship In 8 Easy Steps - make him responsible for the sins of others
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Step 1: Make him responsible for the sins of others

One of the most effective ways to ruin a great relationship is to compare it to all the terrible ones you’ve had. By doing so, you get to use your own confirmation bias to perpetuate the false narrative that All Men Are Jerks. fr

You know that alcoholic man-child who moved in with you after three weeks? You know, the guy who berated you in public and called you a c-nt? See, he was pretty bad, and he had a penis.

So the Good Man you’re dating now is not actually a Good Man, because he had a drink that one time you went to a bar together. Also, he’s got a penis too. So they’re basically the same person.

How To Ruin A Relationship In 8 Easy Steps - keep it in
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Step 2: Keep it in.

If there’s one thing all your terrible relationships have taught you, it’s that you should never, ever express your feelings. 

This is because unhealthy people in unhealthy relationships will use your feelings as a weapon. If you present yourself as vulnerable, in any way, you are basically saying that it is open season on all of your darkest fears.

A Good Man actually wants you to talk to him. If he’s doing something wrong, he actually wants feedback. He is naturally inclined to please you. Who wants that garbage?

Pro tip: If you really want to sandbag a perfectly healthy relationship, keep your concerns to yourself. Let them fester. Let them turn into resentment.

That way, by the time you finally blow up at him because of some perceived slight that has no actual basis in reality, then you’ll have excellent justification for when you drop him like third period French.

How To Ruin A Relationship In 8 Easy Steps - violate boundaries
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Step 3: Violate boundaries

In a toxic relationship, problems always always always come down to two things.

First, ineffective communication. This can be a bit complicated, so here are some examples with which you are no doubt familiar. Talking indirectly about a problem. Talking at someone. Using text messages to convey sensitive information.

Sarcasm, passive-aggressive barbs, anger masquerading as teasing, or my personal favorite — not saying anything at all!

Second, boundary violations. Invariably, people who have a pattern of unhealthy relationships are all about enmeshment and drama. They crave it. It’s like a drug for them. They either create the drama themselves, or they put themselves in situations where drama will ensue. 

If you want to avoid Good Men and the chance of, say, a good friendship that could even lead to a healthy marriage with kids and schools and mutual funds and all that crap, then keep doing this.

The takeaway from this step is this: if you want to ensure that your relationships are unsatisfying, shitty, and/or possibly abusive, then definitely use unhealthy communication styles, and set poorly maintained boundaries. Works like a charm.

This will also drive a Good Man away because screw that insanity. Why *in the world* would you want to be with a man who actually cares about what you have to say? Why would you want a man who is willing to learn from his mistakes?

Why would you want a man who is willing to say he’s sorry?

How To Ruin A Relationship In 8 Easy Steps - never apologize
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Step 4: Never, ever apologize.

In the 1970 movie Love Story, Ali MacGraw’s character says “Love means never having to say you’re sorry” after her boyfriend gets pissed off and later apologizes for it. This is, arguably, the stupidest line of movie dialogue to ever poison the national zeitgeist.

Of course you have to say you’re sorry in a healthy relationship! Of course you do! What kind of crazy pills were these screenwriters eating?

If you never apologize, your relationships will continue to suck.

In healthy relationships, people make mistakes. And when they do, they take responsibility for those mistakes. This is called “Being an Adult.”

If you like Bad Men, then avoid taking responsibility for anything, ever, at all costs. People who take responsibility have “self-awareness” and “insight” and recognize that relationships are partnerships and that no side is ever 100% at fault.

Step 5: Bow to confirmation bias

How To Ruin A Relationship In 8 Easy Steps - cherry pick
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If you want to ruin a relationship, you’ll need to step up your game with confirmation bias.

Don’t know what that is? Here’s an Official Definition from Psychology Today:

Confirmation bias occurs from the direct influence of desire on beliefs. When people would like a certain idea/concept to be true, they end up believing it to be true. They are motivated by wishful thinking. This error leads the individual to stop gathering information when the evidence gathered so far confirms the views (prejudices) one would like to be true.

This is something people who come from dysfunctional backgrounds do all the time.

They get an idea in their head and it festers for so long that it becomes real. Doesn’t matter if it’s true or not. If you bow to confirmation bias, you look for things that reinforce your belief and ignore the things that don’t.

Jealousy is a great example. If you look hard enough in any relationship, you will find something to get jealous about. Whether the jealousy is legit is beside the point. If you believe it, it must be true right?

How To Ruin A Relationship In 8 Easy Steps - make assumptions
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Step 6: Make assumptions

The beauty of all these steps is how seamlessly they intertwine. Step 6 is no different. And the good news is, if you have a history of trashing great relationships for no legitimate reason, you’ve probably already mastered it.

An assumption is a guess. It’s a conjecture, extrapolation, hypothesis. It’s a thing that is accepted as true, without any actual evidence. Assumptions are bad. Humans are terrible at making them, and we are almost always wrong.

Remember — the purpose here is not to learn how to enjoy a healthy relationship. The purpose here is to stay in terrible ones, so you can be a victim and remain morally superior without ever having to accept personal responsibility.

When we assume that a Good Man is just a Bad Man waiting to happen, we tend to look for ways to make it true. See the previous discussion about confirmation bias.

When we assume that a Good Man’s mistake is just indicative of who he is, we won’t even bother to give him a chance to fix it, and we’ll likely just drop him because men are pigs and they never change.

When you assume, you make a one-sided decision without the hassle of communication or compromise.

How To Ruin A Relationship In 8 Easy Steps -hold court with your friends
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Step 7: Hold court with your friends

In mature, healthy relationships, it’s never a good idea to involve your catty, maladjusted friends. They secretly think you’re pathetic, so when you do this, it just reinforces that notion.

Women who live and breathe dysfunction like to get together and hold court — usually on new relationships.

What’s awesome about these gatherings is that they’re only going on your perception of the “problem,” which naturally you will embellish, because it’s up to you to hold their attention by really selling how terrible the in-no-way terrible relationship yours actually is. You know — for sympathy!

But reality isn’t important right now. Your friends’ callous, uninformed opinions are what matters. And your victim’s mentality. Don’t forget that one.

So all your friends get together, and they put your new relationship on trial, because maybe their own relationships are terrible and unfulfilling, and it gives them satisfaction to tear yours apart. And besides, you’ve dated some real sleaze bags in the past, so they’ve gotten pretty good at this.

Except no, their advice and analysis sucks. There are at least four reasons why:

First, they’re not just holding court on your Good Man. Their holding court on every relationship you’ve ever had. And every relationship they’ve ever had, too.

And because they’ve never met your Good Man, they get to make wild assumptions (there’s that word again) that actually have no basis in reality. But you don’t care. Your sisters have your back, and that’s all that matters. Even if their analysis is laughably incorrect.

Second, advice *always* sucks. In professional counseling, advice is considered unethical, because advice hinges on the idea that people are too dumb to figure things out on their own.

Consider this quote:

The problem with advice is that the advisor seldom understands the full implications of the problem. When people share their concerns with us, they often display only the “tip of the iceberg.” The advisor is unaware of the complexities, feelings, and the many other factors that lie hidden beneath the surface.”— Robert Bolton, People Skills

People who give advice — especially relationship advice — inherently believe that they immediately know the solution to a problem that has heretofore confounded you. Don’t believe them. They never, ever do.

Third, there’s this thing called “Group Think,” which basically says that the more people who are involved in a decision, the more idiotic the decision will be.

Fourth, talking a bunch of crap about your new boyfriend is something a 16-year-old does. Grown, mature women talk to the man in their life. They work together towards a resolution. That’s what makes healthy relationships. If you’re the one acting like a 10th grader, then maybe it’s not your Man who’s the problem.

How To Ruin A Relationship In 8 Easy Steps - make decisions while drinking
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8: Make decisions while drinking.

This one’s pretty straightforward.

Drinking is just the best. Calms the nerves, releases inhibition, and subverts critical thinking. Always make decisions while drinking. If you can, always make important relationship decisions while drunk.

Get together with your catty friends, knock back some wine, and spend a few hours sifting through every single conversation, intimate moment, and phone exchange you’ve ever had. 

Make sure to leave out all the ones that were really just wonderful, quiet moments where the two of you really connected — those will just get in the way. No, make sure you focus on the minutia. He won’t be there to defend himself, so you can’t fail.

The bottom line is this: things just make more sense when you’re drinking. The details are just so clear. Nobody has ever gone wrong poisoning their bloodstream with a toxic chemical.

How To Ruin A Relationship In 8 Easy Steps - the end of a relationship
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If you follow these steps, you will never have to endure a healthy, mutually beneficial, mature relationship. You’ll never have to experience the burden of effective communication. You’ll never have to deal with the angst of proper social and emotional boundaries. You’ll never have to rely on “direct conversation” to make your point. 

And you’ll always have friends to remind you that you’re a victim.

That way, you’ll be able to continue dating jerks with reckless abandon. No more ridiculous kindness, empathy, or respect. No more of this “your needs getting met” nonsense.

The beauty is, you don’t even need to use all eight. Any one of these will do the job just fine.

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Randy Withers, LCMHC

Randy Withers, LCMHC is a Board-Certified and Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor at Practical Counseling and Wellness Solutions, LLC in North Carolina. He has masters degrees in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Lenoir-Rhyne University and Education from Florida State University, and is the managing editor of Blunt Therapy. He writes about mental health, therapy, and addictions. In his spare time, you can find him watching reruns of Star Trek: TNG with his dog. Connect with him on LinkedIn. If you are a NC resident looking for a new therapist, you can book an appointment with him.


  1. Sadly, i’m 2 weeks from the final court date for the end of my 5 year marriage. It’s been about 4 years of an emotional destruction-derby. The bottom-line line is the apostate state my husband decided to inhabit. With no god there is no healing when there is an affair and deception. At least I know I have both biblical reasons for divorce but how do i tell that to my 2 teenage kids who just wanted a whole family.i have been a victim of both emotional and physical cheat,but the truth was able to come to light after i seek for counseling and service of a professional hacker.I never knew that the man i trusted so much with my love and care has been cheating on me. Cheating sucks.

  2. Thank you for summarizing 30 years of Oprah W so I don’t have to take my VCR out of the attic. . Just reprint the same article with masculine pronouns and you will have pretty much wrapped up the state of every currently existing dysfunctional relationship. Well done my Good Man.

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Randy Withers, LCMHC

Reviewed for accuracy by Randy Withers, MA, NCC, LCMHC, LCAS. Licensed Therapist and Managing Editor of Blunt Therapy

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