Is Love Enough To Sustain A Relationship?

Updated October 7, 2022 by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Those who are in love can tell you just how powerful it can be. Relationships are also a huge component of life, and you might not view your life as complete without the romantic relationship you are in. Regardless, many people wonder what truly sustains a relationship. There are times in life when people get involved in relationships that are very trying. Oftentimes, the people in these relationships care for their partners dearly, but they wind up worrying about whether that is enough to keep things going.

Is It Enough?

What can a relationship truly be sustained by? The truth is that the answer to this question depends on the situation. Oftentimes are many other factors at play. There are times when relationships will end even though two people care for each other very much. Why does this happen? Speaking with an online therapist can help the two of you determine where things went awry and if it is worth repairing the relationship.

Sometimes Loving Someone May Not Be Enough

Some Reasons It Might Not Work, Even When Love Is Involved:

You Don't Want The Same Things In Life

You might find out that even though you're in love, you simply don't want the same things in life. For instance, your partner might have a goal of becoming a parent at some point in the future. If you have zero interest in becoming a parent, then this is going to put you at odds with the person that you love. Sacrificing the desire to start a family or starting one without wanting to could breed resentment down the road, a feeling that is detrimental to the success of a healthy relationship. You shouldn't enter parenthood just to appease someone else, but you might also not want to lose someone that you're in love with as a romantic partner.

Situations like these happen more often than you might realize when love is a driving force. People often ask themselves, "Is love enough to sustain my relationship?" when they begin to struggle with big fundamental differences in their relationship. There are many situations where people break up even though they're legitimately in love with each other. Your girlfriend might get a job offer in another part of the world and you might not be willing to follow her there due to your obligations in your hometown, even though you love her. People even wind up breaking up over religious differences sometimes, so there are many different facets of not wanting the same things and wondering how big of a role love is playing.

Other Factors

While love is powerful and relationships need love to become romantic, love is also hard to navigate when other factors affect it. Keep in mind that love is only one component of a healthy relationship, and love is also very subjective, so each person can experience love and show love in different ways. Therefore, discussing logistics and wants and needs while in love is crucial to understanding your partner and strengthening your love for each other.

Your Partner Isn't Mature 

People break up due to one person in the relationship not being mature enough, too. Sometimes two people are simply on different wavelengths when it comes to their maturity, even when they're in love. One person might be career-focused and ambitious, while their partner is aloof and just drifting through life. You might wonder, “Does this matter? Is love enough?” Love can be enough to overcome differences like this, but it isn't always going to be.

Depending on what you want out of life, it may not be practical for your partner to lack maturity. Maturity can mean many different things, too. It can mean the ability to focus on goals or it can refer to someone's interests or tastes. This might seem like a strange reason to break up to some people, but it does happen. You should chalk it up to two people being at different points in their lives, even if the love is there.

Importance of Emotional Maturity

Emotional maturity is also important to have a healthy relationship. You might be with someone who lacks the emotional maturity to show their love for you or plan for the future. Emotionally immature people can even be selfish at times, choosing to do things that appeal to them rather than doing what is best for you as a couple.

People can mature over time, and wind up developing into someone that you would be more compatible with. You shouldn't seek to force someone to live in a way that they don't want to, though. In many ways, this is just an extension of two people not wanting the same things in life, and being at different stages in their love. It can be a tough pill to swallow, but some relationships might not be meant to stand the test of time, instead the love is only meant to last a season or the love is there for a reason.

Severe Communication Problems Between The Two Of You

Being able to communicate openly is a sign of a healthy connection. Severe communication problems can ruin a relationship faster than just about anything else. Sometimes, people are very bad at communicating with each other. For example, there are couples that get into arguments constantly due to their inability to communicate their differences in the right ways. These problems can be very difficult to deal with, and can lead to the death of a relationship, even when you love someone.

The good thing about this is that communication problems can be fixed. People can learn to talk to each other in healthy ways instead of having shouting matches, or can adapt to each other's love languages. Many people decide to attend couples therapy sessions in order to work on these types of problems. Talking about this issue with the guidance of a professional can build a healthy dynamic and set you up for success. If you're currently in a relationship that involves a lot of miscommunication, then this might be something that you'll want to think about.

Arguments versus Fighting

Arguments are actually normal in relationships, but too much fighting is simply unhealthy. It’s challenging to sustain a relationship when fighting is more prevalent than displays of love and support. It's possible that one or both of a relationship might have anger problems. Anger issues can make things even worse, and these problems can also be worked on during couples' therapy sessions. Not all couples are able to make it through these issues, and many wind up breaking up due to the relationship simply being too rocky.

Irreconcilable Differences In The Relationship

There are also situations where two people will have irreconcilable differences in a relationship. They say that you never stop loving someone completely if your love is true, but that might lead you to asking, "Is love enough?". Regardless, there are situations where your love for someone will be tarnished by something that they did. The easiest example to use is infidelity.

It makes people feel like they can no longer trust the person that they had a deep love for and were devoted to. A healthy relationship requires this trust and it can be challenging to build back. Whether or not infidelity is going to be the end of a relationship depends on the couple. Some couples are able to come to terms with these problems and can work on strengthening their relationship. Others will be unwilling to move forward due to the pain that this cheating has caused, even if the love is still there.

Other Types of Irreconcilable Differences In The Relationship

There are other types of irreconcilable differences as well. People aren't always going to be able to get past certain obstacles in life. There might be things that are holding your relationship back from moving into the future. Love might be enough to help you to move past them, but it might not be. You have to take the time to figure that out for yourself.

You Are Missing Something Else In The Relationship

A healthy relationship is built on a foundation of many things. Oftentimes, people refer to three components of a loving relationship: mutual respect, mutual trust, and affection. Love is integrated into all of these. However, a person can have a lot of love for their partner but be lacking in one of these key areas.

When abusive behavior occurs, most people would feel a lack of respect whether they are aware of it or not. Despite this behavior being wrong, the couple may still love each other. However, if partners cannot find a way to work through and change the abusive behavior, love may not be enough to sustain a relationship.

Love conquers some challenges, but without trust, it can be difficult to move forward. When a partner has the feeling that they cannot rely on their significant other or that they are not being told the truth, the relationship may begin to deteriorate no matter how much love is present. 

You Just Aren't Happy

Finally, it's also true that some people leave relationships due to just not being happy. Your partner may mean the world to you, but without happiness, any relationship is hard to sustain. Loving someone and being happy inside of a relationship isn't necessarily the same thing. You might not be happy with the way things are and you could desire something different for yourself. These types of feelings are not that unusual, and don’t necessarily mean that you don't love your partner.

Love isn't always going to be enough to keep two people together forever. Some people will want to move on to a new chapter in their life. People change and desires can change, as well. This can be very hard for people to come to terms with, but unhappiness is one of the most common reasons why people leave someone who they love. The pursuit of happiness is a big part of life and you want to be able to feel like you're living your life to the fullest.

If you aren't happy in your relationship, then your love for your partner might not be enough to keep things going. Sometimes love is not enough to overcome unhappiness, but you can try if you feel that there is hope. Many people choose to have a conversation with their significant other about their unhappiness and why they're feeling the way that they do. It's possible that making some changes could completely turn things around, especially when the conversation is based around love.

Be Honest With Yourself And With Your Partner

You just have to be honest with yourself and with your partner about how you're feeling. It might make you uncomfortable to have a conversation like this, but it's important to do when love is involved. If you decide to work on trying to make the relationship a happy one once more, then it might be worth looking into professional help. You don't have to do this alone if you want to keep moving forward.

Talking to a Therapist Can Help You Get Through This And More

Losing a relationship can take a toll on you. If you know that breaking up is the right move, then it might be time to go through with it, even if you love them. That doesn't mean that it's going to be easy and many people will feel symptoms of depression or anxiety throughout the process. If you're struggling with losing a relationship with someone that you love, then contacting a therapist can be a good idea to help navigate this loss and love.

If you feel like there is hope for your relationship, then therapists can help with that, too. Many couples turn to counselors in order to talk through problems and to learn how to get over differences that are holding them back. There are even situations where relationship counseling has helped couples to overcome severe problems in their love.

Supporting Your Relationship With BetterHelp

There is a growing body of research suggesting that online therapy is a useful method of providing couples with counseling. One study, published by the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy, found that online couples counseling was an effective method of helping couples that were considered distressed or high-risk, as well as those that were generally satisfied, such as those in the premarital or newlywed phase. Researchers noted the issues that are often associated with relationship dissatisfaction, including higher incidence of individual mental health concerns, along with work and social life impairment, and a decrease in physical health. Online therapy, they conclude, alleviates many of these concerns in an efficient, (due to fewer barriers, including time, geographical limitations, and cost) manner.

Sometimes Loving Someone May Not Be Enough


As mentioned above, online couples counselors can guide you and your partner through a treatment program that can help you strengthen your bond and love. Without having to leave the house, deal with traffic, or sit in a waiting room, you’ll be able to attend therapy sessions through BetterHelp’s online platform. The mental health professionals at BetterHelp know how to help you and your partner address complicated feelings associated with your relationship. Is love enough? Read below for reviews of counselors, from those experiencing similar issues in their love life.

For Additional Help & Support With Your Concerns

Speak with a Licensed Therapist
The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.