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Why Do People Break Up Even If They’re Still in Love?

Is your relationship with a loved one on the rocks? Read on to see why people in love separate, and what can be done to halt a breakup in its tracks.

why break up when you're still in love

In the immortal words of the Beatle’s song, “All you need is love.” But is that, in fact, the case? Does true love automatically guarantee a smooth and faultless path to a lifelong relationship? I think we all know the answer to that question, and the answer is indeed, no!

We probably have all known someone, at one time or another, who has been in what seemed like a blissfully loving relationship, but ended up separating from their partner anyway. The real question is why. Why do two people who are seemingly so in love decide to break up?

The whole picture

As important as love is to a lasting relationship, it is only one of many different aspects that must be tended and cultivated over time. People don’t usually come together as an already perfect match.

There will be differences of opinion, disputes over how to do common day to day things, which, if not properly dealt with in a mature and constructive manner, can lead to resentment. Resentment, in turn, can swiftly lead to people falling out of love, or if not out of love, then a willingness to sacrifice it for an easier and more productive life.

The whys and wherefores of breakups between couples in love

There are many reasons why these resentments occur, leading people to break up. The following list provides ten of the main such reasons, along with how to avoid and deal with them to ensure that your relationship continues in the direction for which it was destined.

1. Home is where the heart is

The problem: Unfortunately, it is rarely the case that both halves of the couple are at the same stage with regards to settling down, with one at the pipe and slippers stage, while the other has their sights firmly set on the discos. This can lead to a great deal of tension.

The answer: Agree to disagree. Respect each other’s boundaries and freedoms, but allow the other to express themselves in the way they wish. Also, however, make sure you sometimes get involved in each other’s lives too, or you will naturally separate without realizing it. [Read: The introvert’s guide to dating an extrovert]

2. An eye to the future

The problem: Similar to the first point, people often have different strengths of aspiration. They might be the happiest most in-love couple around, but if one of them aspires to own expensive cars, go on luxurious holidays, and have a fast-paced career whereas the other is happy with a weekend at the local resort and a nice, safe job letting everyone else get promoted past them, tensions may arise.

The answer: Compromise is key. If that love is worth fighting for, then surely it is worth finding middle ground where one partner’s aspirations take the other’s feelings and sensitivities into account.

3. A spritely twice nightly

The problem: Sex, how it is conducted and, even more importantly, how often it is conducted can prove a huge point of tension between couples if there is disparity. Physical affection is a hugely important part of a relationship and can be seen as a rejection of one person’s love, even if the other doesn’t particularly associate the two.

The answer: Talk it out. Don’t hide away from the issue and continue to let the resentment breed. If the physical part of the relationship is really that important, then explain it to your other half as best you can. Maybe they just didn’t know what a difference that extra hour between the sheets will make to you. [Read: 10 ways to make married sex feel like a one night stand]

4. The other side of the fence

The problem: A tough one this, but it is what seems to be an ever-increasing problem, and it describes issues not with sex specifically, but sexuality. Some couples break up, even though they are in love because they feel a need to explore their sexuality and same sex relations.

The answer: Work out what the issue is. Are they bisexual? Would talking about it help? Are you able, as a couple, to explore it together, whether through actual relations or fantasy talk or pornography? If one half is truly and fully homosexual, then there is unlikely to be a comfortable solution, but for all degrees in between, there may be a way to work it out. [Read: 9 ways to know if you’re really bi-curious]

5. Space: the final frontier

The problem: No matter how in love two people may be, if they both have different psychological needs regarding the amount of space they require in a relationship, it can prove a huge issue. If one has a psychological need to be around their other half at every waking moment, but the other struggles to cope with the relationship unless they get their solitary cave time as well, then the strain soon starts to show.

The answer: Again, compromise is key. Agree on times when you should be together, or when time alone needs to be respected. Just work out a balance through healthy, mature discussion. [Read: How to love your partner without smothering them]

6. Playing away

The problem: One of the couple has, for some bizarre reason or other, been caught or admitted to cheating with another person. This is usually enough to end the relationship with immediate effect, creating nothing but mistrust, sadness, and anger.

The answer: There often isn’t one. They say you should never trust a cheater not to do the same thing again, but it depends upon circumstances. Just have a full and frank discussion first before making any decisions, however difficult this might be. [Read: Should you ever forgive a cheating partner?]

7, Relative disagreement

The problem: Whether parents, siblings, or other relatives, a member or members of one of the couple’s family has taken a dislike to the other, and is forever interfering and causing trouble between you two.

The answer: It’s my road or the high road! Don’t let such petty issues come between you. Be frank with the offending family members, presenting a united front, and put them in the picture as to the fact that you have found the perfect partner, and you’re not going to let anything come between you two… including them.

8. It’s all in the past

The problem: You become aware that your partner’s history is less than flawless, and it has started to come between you. It could a dubious sexual history, a criminal record, or something entirely different, but it is starting to change your perceptions of your loved one.

The answer: Unless it’s something very bad indeed, then the answer is simple: get over yourself! You’ve found the perfect partner, and you’re willing to throw it all away over something that happened before you even met them. Who’s in the wrong there?! [Read: The right way to discuss past relationships with your current partner]

9. Too much love

The problem: You love each other almost too much, so much so that one or both of you have started to display some very unhealthy traits – namely jealousy, an emotion that will nearly always lead to a relationship’s downfall.

The answer: Everytime the responsible party feels the little green monster start to raise its ugly head, call for an immediate pow-wow. Let your partner know, so that they can help see you through it, make you feel comfortable again, and prevent jealousy from festering and eating into your relationship. [Read: 6 little ways to stop being so jealous in a relationship]

10. Loggerheads

The problem: You’re both very opinionated people who never seem to agree on anything, and it always breaks out into an argument between you.

The answer: Embrace it. You both have something to say, which is actually the opposite of the case for most couples. Just have rules about disagreeing, such as how to take turns speaking and about not raising voices, and enjoy an aspect to your relationship that many don’t have. [Read: 8 ways to avoid the post-argument tension]

As you can see, love isn’t always a guarantee to relationship success, but it does provide the perfect foundation from which, together, you can tackle and resolve your relationship issues.

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Philip Hegarty
Currently reclining with a peaceful and contented smile upon his face, with perhaps just a hint of mystery and steely resolve, Philip Hegarty has an obviously i...
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