Ask Dr. Conte: What are the top 3 relationship killers?

Three relationship killers

Hi Dr. Conte,

I’m contacting you today because I am doing a group expert interview on my site, and think a lot of your followers would love to know your answer to this question: What do you think are the top 3 killers that can ruin a relationship?


Hi Kafe,

If I had to answer quickly, I would say that the three biggest relationship killers are greed, anger, and delusion (the “three poisons” of Buddhism). Why?

Greed is selfishness, and a relationship is a two way street. Although we are all, in a sense, selfish to some degree (because we do have to take care of ourselves), increased selfishness leads to relationship trouble (usually in the form of dishonesty, infidelity, etc.).

Anger is a natural emotion, and if it’s dealt with in a healthy way, it can help a relationship grow. Unfortunately, however, if anger is not dealt with in a healthy way, it can lead to resentment at a minimum, and violence at a maximum, both of which are relationship killers.

Delusion is the idea that we believe we have the answers (when in fact, we are all fallible and still learning). In terms of a relationship, this comes in the form of needing to be right or being attached to our thoughts or beliefs. The more we believe we are right and others are wrong, the more the relationship turns into a one-up/one-down situation, rather than a shared experience. As I said on Twitter the other day: “You can be right or you can be happy, but you can rarely be both.”

I hope this helps.

Much peace,

Dr. Conte