Top 35 Reasons Why Couples Break Up

✔ Research-backed

Two people enter into a relationship because they have feelings for each other and click with each other. Looking at such a deep bond, it is not unusual to wonder “why do people break up?” In the beginning, everything feels dreamy and nice, but unfortunately, with time, love may fade, and it may weaken the foundation of a relationship and lead to separation. It is difficult to sustain or build a relationship on a weak foundation. Couples may try hard to fight their way through the differences but may still not sustain them. It is not always only the lack of love that causes people to break up. There may be many reasons couples in love can call it quits. Read this post as we talk about the various possible reasons for couples drifting apart.

In This Article

36 Reasons Why People Break Up

1. Cheating

Loyalty is the key to every romantic relationship. When a partner fails at this, a relationship can never get back to where it was initially. Cheating is the biggest deal-breaker in any relationship. It opens the door of distrust and paves the way for a break-up. Even if you two decide to dismiss it as a mistake made once, you may still find it hard to ignore it and move on normally. The fear of it happening again will always haunt a partner.

protip_icon Point to consider
The reasons for cheating can be numerous, but they usually stem from unfulfilled needs and desires. The best way to deal with this would be to take a step back, assess the situation, and be vocal about your feelings.

2. Unrealistic expectations

Sometimes, you get into a relationship with preconceived notions and expect your partner to behave in a certain way. Your partner could be madly in love with you but may not be able to express it well. This lack of expression can be frustrating, leading you to believe that your partner does not love you enough. The thing about happiness is to avoid expectations. This helps avoid heartbreak when things don’t go as you had expected.

3. Falling out of love

It’s true; love fades. Your partner’s smile that once made your heart flutter can become an annoying trait someday. Initially, your partner did a lot to please you, but now, they do not feel the need to do so, and this behavior change might irk you. You might feel you are being taken for granted and that your partner does not care about you as much as they once did. When love and attraction are absent in a relationship, you may tend to feel stuck in it.

4. Inability to confront problems

Your partner hardly contributes any money and even ignores household chores, making it entirely your responsibility to maintain the house. It can get burdensome for you, and even though you want to discuss it with your partner, you choose not to because you are afraid of their reaction. Chances are your partner might get into a fight with you, but to avoid it, you keep silent. This can lead to resentment, prompting you to move out of the relationship. Relationships should be built on the trust of friendship, and this should give people the freedom to talk about anything that may be bothering them.

5. Too many differences to resolve

The notion that ‘opposites attract’ sounds romantic, but when it comes to playing the part, it may not be as cute as you assumed. A healthy relationship requires adjustments and compromises from both partners, and you have to make mutual decisions. If your wavelength does not match your partner’s, decision-making can become very difficult and stressful. You might argue on the smallest of stuff, such as choosing a restaurant to eat. Frequent disagreements can cause trouble in paradise and lead to irreconcilable differences.

6. Lack of understanding

Lack of understanding leads to frequent disagreements in couple

Image: IStock

Both of you are unique individuals with your own set of opinions, habits, likes, dislikes, and preferences. You two even think differently, and so, what you consider extremely important may seem trivial to your partner and vice versa. If both of you fail to look at things from each other’s perspectives, you might never be able to understand each other. And this lack of understanding often leads to frequent disagreements and fights, making way for divorce.

7. Expecting your partner to read your mind

After spending a substantial amount of time with your partner, you start expecting them to understand what’s on your mind. It might be through facial expressions or body language. Let’s suppose you don’t like it when your partner places their feet on the table while watching TV. You glare at them and roll your eyes but do not say anything clearly, which leaves them utterly confused. Sadly, they might never understand the reason behind your displeasure. Such instances can eventually lead to a big fight. However, your partner is also a human being who has feelings, and to expect them to do exactly as you expect may be unfair to them unless you openly talk about it.

8. Comparing your relationship to someone else’s

Seeing images of happy couples on Instagram, you ask your partner to take you out for expensive vacays without considering the kind of financial pressure it might put on them. When they refuse, you get angry and curse your luck for having such a partner. You can never feel happy in life or have compatibility with someone if you keep comparing your relationship with someone else’s. Moreover, you might even lose your true love just because you couldn’t help comparing. The pressure of being compared to other people’s relationships may cause resentment, causing you to break up.

9. Subjecting your partner to unwarranted anger

Your boss rejected your plan, which you worked hard on for weeks and even months. You are angry at your boss and yourself, but you don’t know where to direct your anger. So, at the dinner table, when the food is a little bland, you vent your anger on your partner. You are furious and continue to criticize them for all the things they do. Anger can cause irreparable damage to your relationship. Instead, share your problem with your partner and see how they replace it with love and warmth.

10. Lack of support

If your partner is trying their hand at something new or feeling low, they might seek you out for some support. If they do not get any support from you, remember that they might get it from somewhere else. If you cannot be there for them when they need you the most, your importance in their life might dwindle and they may forsake their commitment to you.

11. Controlling behavior

You don’t like your partner’s friends and family, so you forbid your partner from meeting anyone you detest. You don’t like your partner eating pizza, so each time they order it, you make a face or pick a fight. If you keep restricting and controlling your partner, they are sure to feel exhausted and may want out of the relationship. After all, no one would like to be in a relationship where they are not valued.

protip_icon Point to consider
Controlling behavior is a toxic trait of those who are insecure about themselves and their standing in the relationship. Sort out this problem by having honest and constructive communication with your partner.

12. Overbearing nature

In a relationship, if everything happens at the whims and commands of one person, the other partner is sure to feel unimportant. For instance, if you want to go out with your friends, you do so whenever you feel like it, but when your partner wishes to do the same, they have to ask you first. It is similar to controlling a partner, but here, you are dominating them, ensuring everything happens at your behest.

13. Lack of interest to go on

It takes hard work to keep a relationship going after the initial spark fades. No, we do not mean that you have to force yourself to make your partner feel loved. Rather, it should come naturally because that is how you feel for your partner. It is always a good idea to occasionally show your partner how you feel for them. Also, this should be reciprocated. When the need to show some love is lacking, couples tend to drift apart from each other. Don’t be too fast to give up on your relationship. Try going on dates or having fun together to try and rekindle the love.

14. Stealing from your partner

Stealing from your partner, why do people break up

Image: Shutterstock

Stealing is a deal-breaker and a big no-no in any relationship. You cannot steal from your partner and expect them to be okay with it. If you need financial help, you can try seeking your partner’s help. If they refuse, do not hold it against them, and look for another way to solve your problem. Whatever the circumstance, do not ever resort to stealing to solve your financial issues. It can ruin your relationship altogether.

15. Lack of trust

When you are romantically involved with a compulsive liar, there will always be friction between you two because you will never be able to trust them. Trust is something you earn and build over the years. But once broken, the cracks will always remain. It could also be that your partner is actually very honest with you, but you are so insecure that you cannot help being suspicious of everything they do or say. Such a lack of trust can mar your relationship, leaving you both frustrated.

16. Inability to face challenges

No two days can be the same in a relationship. There will be happy days and sad days. And if you are unwilling to face challenges as a couple, the relationship will not survive for long. Relationships thrive on compromise and understanding. But if a little temporary hardship scares you, relationships are not for you.

17. Lack of open communication

Lack of communication can lead to contempt for each other. No matter how bitter the truth, it is always better to approach your partner and clear the path for effective communication. A good, deep chat with your love can help resolve any issue.

18. Lack of mutual respect

Once you get to know your partner well, you become accustomed to their bad habits and learn their insecurities and secrets. Sometimes it just so happens that when you share your vulnerabilities with someone, they start seeing you in a different light. And at times, unfortunately, the initial attraction is lost. The truth is that when love starts fading, the relationship survives on mutual respect. But when that is missing, your relationship can go downhill.

19. Being stuck in the past

Maybe there was a time in your life when someone you loved betrayed you. A bitter experience probably pushed you to retreat into your shell, and now, you cannot trust anyone — not even someone you love. This distrust can keep you from exploring a relationship and can completely ruin your chance at love.

20. Lack of physical intimacy

Lack of physical intimacy, Why do people break up

Image: IStock

Physical intimacy plays a huge part in keeping a couple bonded. But if you have reached a point in your relationship where you prefer pulling up your comforter and sleeping on your side of the bed while your partner sleeps on the other side, it could be disastrous for your relationship. It can worsen if one partner is interested in getting intimate, but the other person pushes them away.

21. Financial differences

When two people with financial differences become romantically involved, the difference in their status is likely to get between them at some point. In such a situation, the two partners should be mature enough to be proud of each other’s successes and not feel any kind of complex. If jealousy or insecurity seeps in, it may not take much time for the relationship to go kaput. It is important to remember to be on the same team and cheer each other on.

22. Sudden change in circumstances

A significant life event, such as the loss of a job, a big loss in business, or losing a loved one, can cause tremendous pressure on a person’s mental health and lead to stress and tension, which can hamper the relationship between two people. Under stress, a person can also pick up bad habits, such as excessive drinking or smoking. These factors can put the couple under severe pressure, creating an atmosphere of unhappiness and discontent.

23. Selfishness

For your relationship to be successful, you must take care of your partner’s needs as much as you care for yours and not neglect them. If you only think of what you want and never consider what your partner wants, your selfish behavior might make them resent you. They may feel neglected and may not want to continue a relationship where they are not valued.

24. Lack of appreciation

Your partner arranges a party for your family or friends, and you do not even thank them for all the efforts they put in. Imagine the kind of disappointment they might feel when you barely appreciate their sincere efforts. Or let’s say your partner juggles work and home life effortlessly, but you never bother to ask if they are okay multi-tasking. Such a lack of appreciation can drive a wedge between you two.

25. Trying to change your partner

If you fall in love with someone thinking they are “work in progress,” and you can work on their flaws and mold them into the person you envision, it is a wrong approach. People should be loved the way they are. If you try to change them, they may feel insecure and fear losing their identity, making them bitter toward you.

26. Having a preset dating duration in mind

This may be a tad difficult to comprehend, but some people get into the dating game with a timeline in their head. When they start seeing you, they think the relationship will last only for a certain period. They do it out of the fear of getting too attached to one person. Once their pre-decided time has elapsed, they will become less loving, seem aloof, and behave weirdly to be able to break up with you.

27. Personality change

Change in personality of the partner can lead to breakup

Image: IStock

People change over time, and there is no guarantee the person you fell in love with will be the same a few years into your relationship. Also, sometimes, people put up a façade to appear appealing to you, and once their mission is accomplished, they do not bother to keep up with the fake image they created for you. When you start settling in the relationship, you will see the true side of that person.

28. Lack of self-confidence

You may see your partner as someone too good for you, so you may seek their opinion on everything you do. You feel dependent on them for advice because you do not trust yourself with important decisions. This lack of confidence in yourself and the constant need for validation might seem unattractive to them. And slowly, they might start losing interest in you.

29. Unrealistic idea about love

You watch a cute Korean drama or a rom-com and start believing that a lover should read their partner’s mind and save them whenever they are in trouble. Expecting your partner to be nothing less than a movie character will only leave you disappointed. Instead, fall in love with whatever your partner does for you and see how your life becomes more beautiful than a fictional story. Living in the present and appreciating everything you experience with your partner helps you have realistic expectations for the relationship.

30. Holding grudges

It is important to forgive and forget minor mistakes your partner makes to let your relationship work. If you are someone who holds grudges and keeps taunting your partner about the wrong they did in the past, they might start dreading arguments with you because you will keep reminding them of something they wish to forget.

31. Making your partner jealous

Yes, your love interest may look cute when they feel jealous of seeing you with someone of the opposite sex. It is okay to enjoy such attention occasionally, but subjecting them to such feelings frequently can make them feel exhausted to the point that they may not want to be around you. They might want to settle with someone who does not make them fight for them constantly.

32. Falling prey to gender myths

Common and outdated beliefs such as “Men are supposed to earn more than women” or “Women should do the cooking and other household chores” often burden individuals. It can create a sense of dissatisfaction in a relationship and make partners resent each other.

According to Brandee Monet Cannady, a blogger, breaking up with her boyfriend was hard to cope with. She says that there were many reasons that led to the breakup, and one of them was her belief that women were mere childbearers. She says, “He was a bit misogynistic in his views. He wanted to be married to a woman who would start having kids with him right away and believed the purpose of the wife was to stay at home, maintain the house, and make babies. He wanted to have as many kids as possible. That scared me because I only wanted a couple. He wanted a stay-at-home wife and mother. He deeply believed in a one-income household, but I WAS NOT about to be a housewife. I wanted to work and was fine with the idea of kids being in daycare. He did not agree at all (i).”

33. Spending too much time together

This one is common among couples who work together. If you and your partner see each other 24/7, you are bound to have differences and clashes. And if you work together, chances are you might take a home fight into your workspace and vice versa. It is always best to give each other enough personal space and find the right balance.

34. Excessive levels of intimacy initially

You two hit it off right from the start, and you are so into each other that you two can barely keep your hands to yourselves. But gradually, the attraction starts to fade, and the chemistry that got you together vanishes without a trace. Now, what do you base your relationship upon? It takes more than physical attraction to keep a relationship going.

35. Mental or physical abuse

Mental or physical abuse in a relationship can lead to breakup

Image: Shutterstock

If you or your partner often subjects the other to any kind of mental or physical abuse, it is a major reason to break up the relationship. No person should feel suffocated or scared in a relationship. The day they feel so should be the last day they remain in that toxic relationship.

36. Money issues

For some couples, money is one of the major sources of disagreements and resentment. Many partners argue more over money than spending quality time together. The major signs that indicate relationship issues around money are expecting your partner to pay for everything and mindless spending. In addition, many couples marry with considerable financial burden. It can be student debt, credit card debt, or even debt accumulated from gambling habits. If you have more debt than your partner, arguments can take place when discussions about earnings, spending, and debt servicing happen. Also, not talking openly about managing money and setting goals for the long term contributes to a breakup.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the signs of a breakup?

When you start fantasizing about breaking up with your partner, compromise most of the time, find it difficult to trust your partner anymore, and no longer feel an emotional connection with them, all these may indicate it is time for you to move on from the relationship.

2. What is the hardest stage of a breakup?

The denial stage, where you are unable to reconcile to the fact that the person who meant the world to you is no longer a part of your world, is the most challenging part of a breakup. However, eventually, with willpower and by sharing your feelings with friends and family and seeking support from them, you can get past this phase.

3. Is it beneficial for me and my ex to remain friends after a breakup?

If you are clear about your expectations, have had closure with your ex, and have no problems moving on, staying friends with your ex is not harmful. Maintaining a friendship with your ex for security and practicality can also give positive results. It ensures that you get support during difficult times and can place your trust in that person. However, make sure there is no ambiguity in your relationship with them.

4. What are the long-term consequences of a breakup?

A painful breakup can lead to many long-term effects. Studies show that breakups are associated with a decline in life satisfaction and increased psychological distress (1). Depression is also a consequence of breakups. If it goes undiagnosed. It may also adversely impact the quality of life (2). Breakups can lead to despair and frustration. However, you can overcome this pain in the long run with conscious efforts to move on and a strong support system.

5. Are there any benefits to breaking up?

Some of the key benefits of a breakup is getting more time for yourself, which you can use to analyze your priorities and wants. You don’t need to serve your partner’s interests anymore and make choices based on their goals and whims. This period will also help you realize who your true friends are.

6. How can I manage the stress of a breakup?

To get over the stress of a breakup, you must first accept that it has happened. Then, try to understand the mixed feelings of anger, grief, sadness, and freedom that you experience. Think about the lessons learned from this relationship. You will also need to create new habits and routines to gradually get over the pain of the breakup.

People fall in love and believe that the relationship will last forever. But with time, love fades, and many problems arise in a relationship. Though the couples might try hard to fight the differences, they still may not sustain them. Relationships may end for a wide variety of reasons like infidelity or cheating, personality differences, lack of positive interactions between the couple, low physical intimacy, and low overall relationship satisfaction. Although ups and downs in any relationship can help two individuals come closer, if there is no peace, lack of love, and respect, growing apart is inevitable. it is better to part away as it is important to grow as an individual.

Infographic: Can A Breakup Be Prevented?

Now that you know why couples break up, it may be easier for you to analyze your relationship and take steps to make it more stable. The infographic below shares some suggestions to prevent a breakup by taking the proper steps before it is too late.

ways to prevent a breakup (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Key Pointers

  • It is not unusual for couples to hit a rough patch in their relationship and end up in breakup with each other.
  • Cheating on a partner is one of the most common reasons couples break up, as loyalty is non-negotiable in any romantic relationship.
  • Falling out of love, lack of understanding, physical intimacy, etc., are a few of the many reasons couples break up.
why do people break up_illustration

Image: Stable Diffusion/MomJunction Design Team

Personal Experience: Source


MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Galena K. Rhoades; (2012); Breaking Up is Hard to do: The Impact of Unmarried Relationship Dissolution on Mental Health and Life Satisfaction.
  2. The Painful Truth About Breakups.

Ending a relationship can be challenging, yet there are instances where it becomes the right choice. Explore 8 reasons that may indicate it’s time to embark on a new path and move on.

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Marsha has done her Bachelor’s degree in Sexology and has six years of experience in the field. She takes up counseling for individuals, couples, and for persons of all sexual orientations and gender identities. She dives deep into the issues and helps her clients remove anxiety, despair and unresolved trauma.

Read full bio of Marsha Jackson