When a couple says there’s no specific reason why they broke up, they think they’re unique. That commonly, there’s a reason why.

But from what I’ve seen and heard, the reason is usually “just little things that build up.”

And I think this is what “the little things” mean:

Sometimes, you’ll find yourself wishing you didn’t have to be explicit. You wish the other person already knew that there was a problem and would do something about it.

This is a common and understandable fantasy – our ideal mate or perfect colleague should be able to read our mind and meet our needs without our having to ask. Unfortunately, such people don’t exist. Over time, we may come to know better how we each think and feel, but we will never be perfect.

Being disappointed that someone isn’t reading our mind is one of our contributions to the problem.

From: Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most

A good example is our personal rules on gift-giving.

Maybe to some guy, to show love to a girl means giving expensive gifts on major occasions. But to the girl, it’s the small, everyday gifts that prove your love. She thinks expensive gifts don’t require a lot of thought and hence, don’t mean much.

To the guy, he’s doing everything right. But the girl doesn’t say anything because she thinks, “If he loves me, he should get it.”

Repeat this over 3-5 years and I see how most relationships end.

Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most will make you see epiphanies and is full of nuggets like this.