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Why Do People Break Up? (35 Primary Reasons)

by Sonya Schwartz

Couples break up for so many different reasons - here we look at 35 of the most common ideas that individuals assert for breaking things off with their boyfriend or girlfriend. Of course, it doesn’t just have to be a single reason that breaks a couple up. In fact, it could be a culmination of several of the factors listed below. If you feel that any of these issues are causing a rift between you and your partner, remember that talking with them can be a great way of easing any problems. Communication is key to a happy relationship.

The Main Reasons Couples Split Up

1. Distance

Distance is the main reason a couple breaks up. Often, the two people involved will want it to work, but live too far apart for the relationship to be feasibly practical. While, sometimes, couples move to be closer to one another, not everyone is prepared to do that and so the relationship breaks down. 

2. Time

Time can be a major factor in breaking up two people. This can be because they’ve been with each other for so long but yet haven’t made a proper commitment to each other yet - and nor do they want to. 

3. Career

Careers, jobs, and work are so often the key motivators in two people breaking up. The reason being is that sometimes jobs just take up too much of a person’s time so it’s hard for their partner to ever get any quality time with them. Plus the stresses that careers can put a person under can make them bad-tempered to be around. 

4. Infidelity

It probably comes as no surprise that one partner cheating on their significant other is a common reason why couples break up. It can be that one partner cheats just one time, or they can cheat multiple times - either way, infidelity is one of the hardest things for a couple to come back from and make a relationship work. 

5. Children

Just because two people love each other, doesn’t necessarily mean they are always on the same page when it comes to fundamental life decisions. Children are one of those things that can cause a major divide between a couple if one partner wants them, but the other doesn’t. It’s often something that people are not willing to compromise on. 

6. Marriage

Similar to children, some couples have very different views on whether they want to get married or not. It can cause a breakdown of a relationship if one person wants to get married and the other partner does not. Again, this is not something that people are often happy to compromise on simply to stay together. 

7. Grow apart

Some couples simply grow apart if they have been in a relationship for a long time. This means that they have not dedicated enough time to each other to maintain a strong bond and other aspects of their life are more important. This is quite common and very natural. A relationship takes work and some couples don’t always take the time to ensure they stay close. 

8. Significant life event

Despite being close beforehand, a significant life event for a partner can spell the end for a relationship. Things like a family member’s death or the loss of a job can materially change a person’s outlook on life so much so that the relationship breaks down as a couple are no longer on the same page and have many relationship problems. 

9. Mental instability

Sadly, one of the biggest reasons behind a relationship break down is the fact that one person goes through mental issues and instability. Despite the best intentions, this can cause a rift between two partners and a lot of hurt, which makes it difficult to repair the damage. It’s not impossible, but some people choose to walk away. 

10. Sex life

Sex life

Two different approaches to a couple’s sex life can be a major divider in a relationship. If there is no passion for one person or another partner thinks that their sex life is dull for example, it can cause a breakdown in a relationship very quickly. 

11. Lack of respect

Unfortunately, it is not always the case that two people have high respect for one another. In fact, it can happen in a relationship that one person is made to feel like they are the inferior one all the time. 

12. Incompatible

Despite the best intentions and respect that two individuals may have for each other, a relationship can break down simply because they are just incompatible after a certain amount of time. This means that they can end up rubbing each other up the wrong way and causing major irritation with their significant other. 

13. Criticism

It is often heard between two people who are close to breaking up that they think their partner is always criticizing them. This is difficult to contend with and so a relationship stops working as one of the partners becomes so unhappy with constantly being put down. 

14. Different priorities

It can take some time for this issue to come about, but a relationship will often suffer if two people have very different priorities. It means that they disagree on so many things in life and what they feel like should be prioritized between them. 

15. Alcohol

A relationship may stop working if a person is dependent on alcohol. Alcoholism can make it very hard to be happy within the relationship - for either partner. Unless the alcoholic addresses their issue, it can be hard for the relationship to survive. 

16. Insensitivity

It can be hard for two individuals to be happy in a couple if one of them is too insensitive for the other. It can mean that a person is constantly having their feelings hurt by their partner’s lack of empathy. 

17. High standards

Similar to being in a couple with a person who is highly critical, someone having standards that are unattainably high can cause a relationship to end. This is because it means a partner is forever feeling like they have failed when really it is just because their boyfriend or girlfriend set them up for a fall. 

18. Abuse

Domestic abuse between two people is far more common than we think and is a reason that our relationship will break down. It can take a while for someone to walk away from a domestic abuser, but it can also happen just once for a relationship to break up.

19. Unrealistic wants

When two people in a couple have unrealistic wants for each other, it can start to cause issues between them. It can be to do with anything, but it can cause two people to start to resent each other. That resentment can then mean the couple walks away from the partnership.

20. Lack of compromise

It is often said that a relationship is about compromise and, at some points, sacrifice. However, there needs to be a balance between two individuals, and the compromises that they each make. If the same person is forever making sacrifices to make the other happy, eventually this can cause a divide between them so that the relationship breaks down.

21. Imbalance

Particularly in the 21st Century, relationships are about companionship and respect. Sometimes there is a major imbalance between the wants of a person in a relationship in comparison to the other. This type of imbalance is never a healthy attribute for a relationship and sometimes it will eventually cause two individuals to walk away from each other.

22. Dissimilar interests

At the start of a relationship, two people may not notice that they have very dissimilar interests. While this won’t always cause a relationship to be unhappy, it can mean that a couple eventually breaks up as they have nothing in common with each other.

23. Anger

Anger

It may not have been apparent at the beginning of a relationship, but sometimes a person within a couple has anger management issues. Whilst some partners will be able to tolerate this anger, others will find it too difficult and break up the relationship to be happier elsewhere.

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24. Rose-tinted glasses

Sometimes a person is constantly comparing themselves to others. They look at other peoples’ apparently successful lives with rose-tinted glasses and as a result, feel that their relationship or life is failing. This can cause a rift in a couple or simply cause a person to walk away from a partnership in an attempt to find more happiness with someone else.

25. Lack of trust

For a couple to be happy and to work, it is often said that there needs to be trust between them. If that trust isn’t there, it is very difficult for a partnership to last the test of time. Eventually, a couple will break up as a lack of trust will forever cause problems between them.

26. Lack of honesty

Another key attribute a couple of needs at the heart of their relationship is the ability, to be honest with each other. If a partner is constantly lying to their boyfriend or girlfriend, eventually that dishonesty will most likely cause a breakdown in their partnership.

27. Drugs

Much like alcoholism a drug addict is difficult to be in a relationship with this is often down to their behavior when high and sometimes due to the lies, they tell as a result of the addiction.

28. Financial issues

Financial stress is often overlooked as a cause of depression or anxiety. When there are financial issues for a couple to contend with this can cause a huge amount of strain on the relationship. So much so that the relationship breaks down.

29. Self-interest

It can be hard to be in a relationship with a person who always puts themselves first. If a couple has a partner within it that is incredibly self-interested, the likelihood is that the relationship will eventually stop working.

30. Lack of appreciation

For a relationship to work, it is important for there to be a lot of love present. Some people don’t always show that love in the best way and there can be a lack of appreciation from a person. This can be too difficult for someone to live with and so they choose to end the relationship instead.

31. Codependency

Codependency in couples is a major reason for the breakdown of relationships. It is not a healthy balance to be had and can make being in such a partnership difficult for the long term. 

32. Competitive

Sometimes within couples, there can be an unhealthy amount of competitiveness. This can mean that two people never back down in an argument and this makes working through problems very difficult to maintain a happy and healthy relationship.

33. Lack of forgiveness

Lack of forgiveness

Everybody makes mistakes and so it is key, if a relationship is to work, for both partners to be able to forgive one another. This can be over small petty things but also bigger issues that without forgiveness will be difficult to move on from.

34. Lack of commitment

Some couples cease to work because there is a lack of commitment from an individual or both partners. When it is just a single person who does not want to commit to the relationship, it can eventually cause the other individual to walk away - realizing that they probably want very different things from each other. 

35. Lack of communication

In some couples, they eventually end things with each other because they have not worked through smaller issues as and when they arose. This means that problems have slowly become much bigger and therefore too large for them to overcome. It causes them to both be very unhappy and finally to split up. 

FAQs

What are the main reasons people break up?

Infidelity and life events are two of the main reasons why couples break up and move on. Life events can be things that occur in a person’s life that makes them question everything and often that leads them to break up with their partner in an effort to be happy. 

Why do couples break up after 7 years?

The seven-year itch is a phenomenon that is hard to explain at first. However, often, couples break up after seven years as this is a common point for two people to realize that they’ve been together for a long time yet don’t want to get married or even move together. 

Why do we break up?

People break up for so many different reasons. Infidelity is very often the most common reason, though it is important to remember that infidelities often happen as a relationship is not working already. The infidelity is often the final thing that makes realize that their relationship problems aren’t going away. 

Why do men withdraw?

Men withdraw for lots of reasons. Some of the most common reasons that men withdraw into themselves are because they are not happy in their relationship due to a lack of respect - on either side - or because they no longer have an emotional connection to their partner. 

What month do most couples break up?

It is said that a lot of couples break up in January as the New Year makes people look at the relationship and realize that they no longer make one another happy. People break up in the New Year as a resolution to start afresh and hopefully be happier as a consequence. 

The Bottom Line

Couples break up for all sorts of reasons. Everybody is different and therefore every relationship dynamic is different. Couples therefore can be successful in the face of huge amounts of difficulties simply because they are willing to work through those issues. 

Other couples that look very compatible on paper may find that they come up against significant issues in the future due to significant life events. In the main, however, couples that do end up working are all those that are able to work through their problems in a constructive manner and proactive communication.

You may also be interested in: 3 Easy Ways to Find Out If He's Cheating On You

You may also be interested in: 3 Easy Ways to Find Out If He's Cheating On You

Sonya Schwartz
A hopeless romantic that struggled for many years to find her Mr "Right" and made all the mistakes you could think of while dating. Known for always choosing the wrong guys or messing up relationships, Sonya was finally able to change her approach and mindset when it came to dating which helped her eventually find the man of her dreams and become happily married. You can read more about me here...

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