Breaking Up: Why Can’t I Make a Relationship Last?

When Relationship Issues Persist

I know it can be hard to navigate dating and relationships. Life is challenging, and relationship issues can seem to persist, even if you are with different people over the years. If breaking up is a pattern in your dating relationships, it’s natural to wonder why you can’t make relationships last.

But it’s important not to beat yourself up as you think things over. There can be any number of things influencing how your relationships turn out. The important thing is to be willing to learn about yourself, and to work towards a sense of healing and wholeness that will help you grow, whether on your own or in a dating relationship.

Looking for Patterns

If you’ve dealt with multiple breakups and are trying to understand why, it’s often helpful to look for patterns. Think back on your past relationships:

  • How you met
  • When you started noticing problems
  • What arguments were about
  • How disagreements were handled

Do you notice any common threads? There may be unhealthy patterns when it comes to how you view relationships, your communication style, or your anger management that may be impacting how smooth or rocky your relationships are over time.

Committing to Finding Common Ground

It’s fun getting to know someone you’re interested in dating. You can experience a strong sense of connection early on that makes you feel like the relationship will last a long time. But when problems hit, it turns out the relationship is not as stable as you thought.

I understand that frustration. This may be happening because, in spite of the attraction between you, you have different priorities, or a different way of seeing the world. Maybe you believe in God, and some of your partners haven’t, or vice versa.

True compatibility is more than chemistry, it’s having enough common ground to be able to set similar priorities and make decisions as a unit, so conflict is less likely when challenges arise. You don’t need to have everything in common or have identical beliefs. But you should have a sense of how one another makes decisions, and what you will prioritize in the relationship.

Facing Pain and Healing

Sometimes breakups happen even when there is high compatibility and thoughtful attention to the relationship. While we don’t always know right away why this happens, I’ve noticed that many people get into relationships too soon after a very painful situation (like trauma, abuse, or grieving). If we get into relationships without first working to understand and heal the pain in our lives, it’s likely that more of our pain will be brought into our new relationships.

If you need help or emotional support after a recent breakup, you’re in a good place to feel heard and valued. Talk to a HopeCoach at TheHopeLine to explore some possible root causes of relationship issues. You can also explore our many resources on relationships, including blogs, ebooks, and podcasts with dating advice. We are here for you, and we have high hopes your future relationships will only get stronger.

Are you having trouble forgiving someone that hurt you in a relationship? Here a few things to help you understand the forgiveness process.

Dawson McAllister
Dawson McAllister, also known as America's youth pastor, was an author, radio host, speaker, and founder of TheHopeLine. McAllister attended Bethel College in Minnesota for undergraduate work where he graduated in 1968, began graduate studies at Talbot School of Theology in California, and received an honorary doctorate from Biola University.
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