Why is it so hard to find a long-term relationship

People seek the services of dating consultancies for a range of different reasons however one that seems to be presenting more than most is the question of: why is it so hard to find a long-term relationship and why don’t relationships seem to last?

If you’ve ever online dated you would have noted that most of the prominent sites have no shortage of stock, both men and women. Many of them unsuitable for whatever reasons, but nonetheless many will be suitable for someone. With all of this availability, we embark on a series of dates with strangers hoping that the good initial dates will lead onto a second, a third and so on. Many first dates end there but others do go on to additional walks, dinners and the like. Once in a while one leads onto something more permanent. You have the let’s – be exclusive conversation and the relationship eases into a state of providing safety, intrigue, excitement and just the right amount of good anxiety.

Some relationships will go on and endure over time but many will end after a few months or even after years of being together. Some relationships will have insurmountable problems that just can’t be tolerated by one or both parties, but others will seem workable only to leave one person bewildered as to why it ended.  Some relationships are full of limerence, desire and passionate turbulence whilst others are ‘slow burns’, dependable and stable. Nonetheless, when they end we ask ourselves why is it so hard to find a long-term relationship and why don’t relationships last?

Reasons why relationships don’t last

If there are so many single people on dating apps and others looking for a prospective partner in organic single environments, why are many of us finding it difficult to meet a suitable partner and a long-term relationship?

There are often many obvious reasons why relationships don’t last including:

  • Incompatible personality types, values and plans for the future
  • Practical stressors such as financial pressures
  • Other outside stressors (including work, family and friends)
  • Poor communication
  • Sexual mis-matching

In addition, other driving factors as to why relationships don’t last include selfishness, anger, infidelity and not making the relationship a priority.  Many factors can be overcome but the survival of the relationship depends on how each person in the dyad navigates the issues and inevitable conflict.

What’s at the heart of the break-ups?

Some couples are able navigate through the above factors whilst others plummet into despairing times and the relationship eventually ends. The later individuals develop a pattern of relationship cessation and frequently ask themselves why they have such difficulty with long-term relationships.

Art Markman, PhD, believes that an individual’s high motivation to pursue personal goals usually results in a reduction of the quality of their relationship. If focusing of individualism and personal goal attainment is the primary emphasis for a person in the relationship, the relationship will automatically be relegated to second place. If both individuals demote the importance of the relationship then the relationship itself drops even further down the list of priorities.

In order to survive and flourish relationships require dedication and devotion. If individualism and selfishness are prioritized there is little hope in the relationship being of value and surviving.The difficulty people often face however is that they don’t necessarily see themselves acting with individualistic tendencies and behaviours. They are goal driven and may even believe that the achievement of their goals is also in the best interest of the relationship. When the relationship ends these individuals are often left perplexed and asking what the reasons were as to why their relationships don’t last.

Healthy relationships require both parties to give way to personal needs, desires and dreams for the future and to develop a set of shared plans and dreams. It’s ultimately a positive balance of weighing up the needs of the individual, combining these with the needs of the couple, and knowing when to put individual drives aside.

Written by Linda Thomson