Is your Relationship Dysfunctional?

Leading relationship expert shares the relationship cycle and how to tell if your relationship is dysfunctional.

Relationship expert and psychotherapist, Gad Krebs states: “It is not uncommon for every relationship, at some point in time, to struggle through dysfunction. The danger is the slippery slope from temporary dysfunction to permanent toxicity. This risk is exacerbated when a couple’s communication is poor, common goals are unclear and respective roles misunderstood.”


1. Relationships often start egocentrically
Each “partner” looks expectantly at each other to fulfil their own needs.  Even when they say “I love you”, their intent is one of self-love; “I love how you make me feel”, i.e. I love myself.


2. The relationship is elevated from self-serving to a genuine partnership

As the relationship develops, it can be elevated from a self-serving experience to a genuine partnership. The parties work together both for each other’s benefit, but ultimately for the sake of the relationship. The behaviour of each individual becomes an investment in the partnership, which benefits the overall value of the partnership.


3. Dysfunction occurs when one or both parties lose focus on the partnership

They start looking at their personal needs and desires, ignoring the core needs of the relationship. When they feel that their needs are not being serviced, it leads to disappointment, anger and resentment.


Signs of Dysfunction

  • You keep a tally of everything “you’ve done”. This list of then referenced as proof during the next argument. It becomes a competition of who has “done” more.
  • You consider yourself a martyr. Every deed you do is a sacrifice on the altar of self-righteousness. “I guess I’ll have to do it”.
  • You expect your partner to know what you’ve done without explicitly telling them
  • You expect your partner to know how you feel without explicitly telling them
  • You retain an unrealistic optimism that perhaps today your partner will spontaneously be different
  • You resent your partner for not appreciating all of the above


In working towards a functional relationship clear communication is definitely critical, but not sufficient. At times the partnership needs a realignment of goals and values in addition to clear communication.


Gad’s prime focus is on promoting and facilitating positive relationships – relationships with oneself, one’s family and within one’s business and beyond.