Why Do People Break Up? The Best Ways To Understand Your Relationship Problems

By Danni Peck |Updated August 31, 2022

Unfortunately, there are a number of different reasons that a relationship could end. If you're looking at your relationship and wondering if this is really the person for you, it is normal to wonder, "How do I really know if this is right?" If you're happily in love, however, you may be wondering 'why do people break up?' What could happen in such a wonderful relationship to make someone want to end things?"

The Context of Relationships

When things are going right in your relationship, it can be hard to see the true potential that your relationship is bound to have its problems. It is a myth that a good or "true love" relationship means that the relationship will not take work or always be "easy". The truth is, a lot of people who break up have absolutely amazing relationships to start with. In the beginning, things are great, both people love each other and care for each other. They work hard to do everything they can to make the other person feel loved, respected, cared for and a whole lot more. When then happens and causes things to fall apart? The key to understanding this question is the key to finding the secret to long-lasting relationships that are healthy. It is rare that a relationship falls apart all at once. Usually, there are warning signs that things between you are becoming strained. When those things go for along without being addressed in a productive manner, the following things can happen that can really wreck your relationship for good.

Why Do People Break Up?

  1. Cheating

One of the biggest reasons that people tend to break up is because one of the people in the relationship (or both) cheated. For some, it's possible to get through this period and get past the infidelity. For others, there's just no way to get around it and it's the death knell for the relationship. Cheating can happen even if there is no sex or other physical intimacy involved. Often, cheating begins with a deep emotional bonding to another member of the opposite sex that they can lead to something further. Even if you do manage to get past it sometimes it starts to cause a wedge in the relationship in other ways, like an inability to trust the person again. It's important to respect your partner's boundaries when it comes to what helps them to feel secure versus insecure in your relationship.

  1. No One Putting in the Effort

When you first get into a relationship you both put in all kinds of effort, typically without it feeling like a lot of effort. You are new to each other and interested in learning and experiencing everything about that person. It's not a chore to be nice to each other; to do the little things that you know the other person loves. It's second nature to take care of them and to go out of your way to make them happy. Part of this likely has to do with the fact that you are trying to make that person want to stick around and vice versa. But as time goes on it may become more and more difficult to attend to your significant other with the same amount of energy. You may not even think about it anymore or it starts to turn into too much work and too much annoyance, so the effort fades.

  1. Fell Out of Love

If you're happily in love it may seem entirely impossible that you could fall out of love with your significant other, but it's absolutely possible. Sometimes you find out further down the road that they're not the one for you. Relationships with a high level of conflict can cause pain that contributes to falling out of love. Maybe the relationship just doesn't feel the same way it used to and you're not happy about what it's like now. Some of this falling out of love probably has to do with number 2 above, that one or both of you have stopped trying to make your relationship special.

  1. Loss of Trust

Infidelity in a relationship is a clear example of what can cause a lack of trust to occur, but there are other examples of dishonest behavior that can contribute to doubts about your partner and the relationship as a whole. Maybe they lied about something small and it just ate away at you. Maybe they lied about something major and it just broke apart everything. Trust, once lost, is possible but very difficult to get back. If your significant other lied about something it could mean they've lied about other things or that they will in the future. The person who was dishonest has to admit responsibility and apologize. Forgiving people for mistakes is a difficult but necessary thing to do on the road to rebuilding trust. Sometimes, one person hasn't necessarily done anything dishonest, but the other person in the relationship is so insecure that trust is a shaky concept in the relationship, to begin with.

  1. Too Much (Unproductive) Fighting

As relationships progress, we start to see the other person in it in a more realistic light, and vice versa. There will naturally be things the other one does that start to get to you. Those little habits that were cute when you first started dating could be now extremely irritating. Those new little habits you didn't know about until you got closer have turned into something you just can't stand. It is absolutely normal to have disagreements and even arguments in a healthy relationship because the two of you are different people. It is unrealistic to expect that you would be exactly alike or agree on everything; wouldn't that really be boring? However, there are ways that we act during disagreements or conflicts that can be unproductive or downright destructive to our relationship. Being able to approach and resolve conflicts in a healthy way is crucial for successful and lasting relationships (romantic or otherwise.


Every relationship has its ups and downs. If you think that your relationship will never have a down-period, you are likely in the "honeymoon" phase of your relationship, meaning it is new and you haven't seen anything yet that you can't adore. If you want to make things work it's about making sure that you work at those ups and downs. If you're having some trouble, or sometimes when you are serious about strengthening your commitment to each other and want to head off problems before they begin, it can be helpful to see a relationship counselor. Working with BetterHelp can help you find a professional, you and your partner can talk to about healthy relationships in general and learn skills that are very necessary for lasting love. It will help you work out your problems before they become something too big to handle and it will make you stronger together.

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