Is Love Alone Enough To Sustain A Relationship?

Medically reviewed by April Justice, LICSW
Updated February 21, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

You may find yourself involved in a difficult relationship, and while you care for your partner dearly, you may worry about whether that is enough to keep you together. Finding answers may involve a deep examination of your relationship, and it may require some self-searching as well. However, there are some common reasons that you may find your relationship in jeopardy, even if you still love each other. 

Sometimes loving someone may not be enough

You don't want the same things in life

You might find out that even though you're in love, you have different goals. For instance, your partner might have a goal of becoming a parent at some point in the future. If you have no interest in becoming a parent, this may put you at odds with the person that you love. Sacrificing against your wishes on the subject, either way, may cause resentment. While you shouldn't enter parenthood with the sole purpose of appeasing someone else, it may put you at odds because you love that person, and you don’t want to lose them. 

Another example could be that your partner might accept a job offer in another part of the world and you might not be willing to follow them there due to your obligations in your hometown, even though you love them. 

Your maturity levels don’t match

Even if they’re in love, people break up due to one person in the relationship not being mature enough sometimes, too. One person might be career-focused and ambitious, while their partner is aloof and doesn’t have a clear direction. Love can be enough to overcome differences like this, but it isn't always going to be. 

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. If the maturity levels in a relationship are mismatched, it may be difficult to keep it together. 

Emotional maturity is also important for a healthy relationship. A disconnect in emotional maturity may mean that one or both partners are unsure how to show their love for each other 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 eventually develop into someone that you would be more compatible with. But it can be damaging to a relationship to force someone to live in a way that they don't want to. In many ways, this is an extension of the situation where two people have too much love for each other but are at different stages and don’t want the same things in life.

Communication problems between the two of you

The ability to communicate openly is a sign of a healthy connection. Sometimes, however, people don’t communicate well with each other. For example, couples may argue due to their inability to communicate their differences in the right ways. These problems can be very difficult to deal with and may lead to the end of a relationship, even when you love someone.

Communication problems can be fixed, however, and people can learn to talk to each other in healthy ways. Many people decide to attend couples therapy sessions 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.

Arguments versus fighting

Arguments are often normal in relationships, but too much fighting is usually 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 people in a relationship might have anger issues or resentment, but these kinds of problems can also be worked on during couples' therapy sessions. 

Irreconcilable differences in the relationship

There are also situations where two people will have irreconcilable differences, and the relationship is irrevocably damaged even though they love each other. The easiest example of this is infidelity.

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

You are missing something in the relationship

A healthy relationship is built on a foundation of many things. Relationship experts say there are three primary components of a loving relationship: intimacy, commitment, and passion. 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, creating difficulties in the relationship that may lead to separation.

You aren't happy

It's also true that some people leave relationships due to simple unhappiness. You may love your partner, but if you aren’t happy, the relationship can be hard to sustain. Loving someone and being happy inside of a relationship aren'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 won’t always be enough to keep two people together, and some people may 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 a common reason why people leave someone they love. 

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 communicating can lead to mending things, especially when the conversation is based on love.

Sometimes loving someone may not be enough

If you feel that it may be time to seek support from a therapist for you and/or your relationship, a growing body of research suggests 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 with relationships considered to be distressed or high-risk, as well as those that were generally satisfied with their relationships.

Researchers noted the issues that are often associated with relationship dissatisfaction, including higher incidence of individual mental health concerns, work and social life impairment, and a decrease in physical health. Online therapy, they conclude, effectively alleviates many of these concerns. 

Online therapy sessions through platforms like BetterHelp allow couples to speak to a counselor on their schedule from anywhere via phone, text, online messaging, and video chat. It’s a convenient way to begin repairing your relationship and getting back on the right track.


It may be uncomfortable, but having an open, honest conversation with your partner is the first step toward fixing your relationship. If you find it too difficult to do it alone, relationship counseling is a good way to establish that level of honest communication and get past your problems, either together or apart. Many couples turn to counselors to talk through problems and to learn how to get over the differences that are holding them back. 

Also, people often feel symptoms of depression or anxiety if their relationship with the person they love is in danger. In these cases, individual therapy can help you heal yourself and, in turn, allow you to bring strength to your relationship.  

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