Men and women are different, that is a given. We cannot live with each other and we cannot live without each other, creating the balance we need to survive. Physical and emotional desires make romantic encounters alluring. What happens after the physical and chemical attraction? Unfortunately, couples do not succeed once the attraction phase passes. We erroneously expect that the chemistry and attraction to continue forever. We think that relationships can be built based on attraction and sustained based on attraction. Attraction is what initially brings us together to 'sniff' each other out, to 'try' each other out, to see if we are a fit for each other. That is all attraction is, powerful and very addictive which results in making the wrong choices. But, what women do by the first to the third date is skip to thinking about forever or marriage, and all it was is a first, second, or third date instead of continuing to collect data over time while spending time together to determine if this person truly is a life long match.
Here are the top 3 reasons why I think couples break up:
All of a sudden, one day you wake up! You look at your partner and realize after having invested time and energy in the relationship, you notice that you have diverging lives, requirements, wants, and needs. You realize that you do not want to spend time with someone who is so apparently different from you. You think it is hard work because you are so different. While there are situations where it just will not work out, I find that more often than not, when the couple gives up on needing each other to be the SAME, and begins exploring and enjoying their differences, allowing space to share their differences and find common ground while learning from each other's unique approaches to life that the relationship works. The couple fails to recognize that it is not the differences that cause the end of the relationships but how they manage their differences and allow each other to thrive that creates success. This is why people split up because of their differences, then move on to the next relationship where differences continue to be the reason to leave. In fact, being the same is boring in a relationship and over time that does not work either. Strike a balance between your differences and similarities to have a happy successful relationship.
Being In Love versus Love
Being in love happens in the attraction stage of relationships. See my post about the 5 Stages of relationships. Understanding the difference between being in love and love is important so you can recognize when you have a relationship worth keeping for your lifetime. Being in love is that fleeting, butterfly, exciting sensation you feel in the initial stages of the relationship. Once a couple makes it past the attraction stage, they claim they fall out of love. They claim they have lost interest in the relationship, that is has become predictable and boring, that they have fun only when they go out and do things together but day to day life is boring. Becoming parents exacerbates the situation because children need routines, and the only way parents can survive is to have plans and routines, again boring. Being in love is not long lasting. Loving someone is long lasting. If you have LOVE, keep it because LOVE is the staying power, LOVE is what lasts, LOVE is what has you make choices FOR the relationship. I am not saying that the 'in love' fluttering feeling goes away, I am saying that it is not a sustainable feeling, it comes and goes throughout the relationship. That's why we do the relationship jump. We think that the butterfly flutter of being in love is what a relationship is about. It is not, that butterfly flutter is a recipe for relationship jumping. You can choose love for a lifetime AND have the feeling of being in love throughout your relationship. There are times I am not in love with my husband, I love him dearly, and there are times the flutter is there. Today I feel totally in love with him and I love him. Tomorrow, I may be really busy working and in that moment, I do not feel in love, but I love him. The point I am trying to make is that the feeling of being in love is congruent with your day to day life and how you feel in any given moment; whereas, LOVE is unifying, sustainable, and what we should be looking for instead. Most people do not know what LOVE is, they know what being in love is. Start learning about pure love so that you will recognize it when it shows up in your life.
Not recognizing that something is missing in your relationship and actively addressing it, instead avoiding it makes it easy for you to fall prey to infidelity. There is no shortage of women and men who chase married individuals. We think that finding someone else is easier than addressing the issues in your marriage and finding a way to resolve them. Sad, but true. Couples who reconcile recognized that they did not address the issues and start taking accountability for their choices. They see that the cheating behavior created the space for the issues to be discussed and reconciled. Couples who cannot get past the act of infidelity to address the issues that previously existed break up thus making infidelity the issue. Infidelity is the consequence, the result of not having the conversations, not coming to agreement, not addressing the issues, and acting as though everything is fine. Infidelity is not the reason a relationship ends, it is merely a symptom. It warrants a mention here because people think that infidelity causes relationship failure when really it is not having your requirements, needs, and wants met in your relationship.