Even the most well-intentioned and responsible people sometimes find it difficult, if not impossible, to stay in a long-term relationship. Why? Here are some of the most common reasons, as shared in The Like Switch: An Ex-FBI Agent’s Guide to Influencing, Attracting, and Winning People Over.
• A divergence of interests. Individuals who might have shared the same outlook and career paths in their twenties may have different perspectives thirty years later. A new career or life focus can weigh heavily on a long-term relationship if both parties are not seeing eye to eye on the change(s) involved.
• The “empty nest”syndrome. When children leave the nest, one or both of the parents sometimes choose the same option.
• The need for more freedom. Couples who have been together for a long time, particularly if they married young, sometimes feel “trapped” and yearn for the freedom they see their single friends enjoying. This is a classic case of “the grass is greener” syndrome. Married people yearn for the freedom that single people have and single people yearn for the commitment that married people enjoy.
• The need for change. Ever wonder why people in their late sixties and seventies opt to end long-term relationships? Sometimes it is simply the recognition that one doesn’t live forever and that if one desires the chance to experience a different lifestyle, the window of opportunity is closing fast.
• Changes in personality in one or both partners. Our personalities are not static or set in stone by the time we are adolescents. We change over time and if these changes drive people apart, they usually end up parting.
• Third-party disruptions. Behavioral scientists have long debated the issue of whether humans are “naturally” monogamous. While they continue to argue, long-term relationships continue to crumble due to infidelity and partner replacement with a new love interest.
• Boredom. Too much of the same thing can create boredom, an accelerant for relationship breakdowns, which can make once-exciting interactions seem mundane and unsatisfying.
• Emerging incompatibilities. As relationships develop, so do the persons in the relationship. This can lead to problems, should one party to the relationship develop behaviors unacceptable to the other. For example, one partner in a relationship might start drinking or gambling too much, or show less interest in sex, or become more reclusive, even start snoring (to the dismay of their light-sleeping mate).