When you first fall in love it is so overwhelming you can hardly imagine falling out of love with that fabulous person. They are your everything. Life is beautiful.
After the “honeymoon period” is over, cracks can begin to appear. As someone who has been married for almost 13 years and together for 18 years, I can say that a healthy relationship heals and repairs those cracks, and can become even stronger.
For others, those cracks are the beginning of the end.
But first, some beautiful stories of true love. Article continues after this video.
There are 14 factors that cause couples to fall out of love more than any others. There’s a lot to learn from each and every one of them to prevent the same thing happening in your relationship.
1. You are passive-aggressive.
It’s a slippery slope from innocent teasing to toxic passive-aggression but as anyone in a long-term relationship can attest, passive-aggression is an easy habit to fall into. Much better than a big screaming match, right? Wrong. In my mind, passive-aggression is the adult equivalent to the toddler tantrum. It involves hostility being expressed through “procrastination, stubbornness, sullen behaviour, or deliberate or repeated failure to accomplish requested tasks” which sound a little to familiar to some. Passive-aggression is one of the most damaging behaviours in a relationship and can kill love faster than the time it takes to change the toilet roll.
2. You allow yourself to be irritated or are irritating.
Don’t let little things about your partner irritate you. Also don’t be irritating. A great way to avoid this is to communicate honestly when you find something irritating and instead of getting upset or angry, adjust the behaviour if you can. Sometimes you can’t help it, and that’s when humour comes in handy. For example, my husband takes three hours to wash the dishes. It’s really annoying. However instead of seething over his lack of speed I laugh over it. It’s actually quite cute how seriously he takes the cleaning of dishes and how thorough he is. See? Just flip it.
3. You forget to feed your relationship.
Taking your partner for granted is a love killer like no other. You need to feed your relationship, pay attention to each other, value each other and make time for each other, even if you are so incredibly busy with important things. Your relationship is the most important thing, the solid base on which you perch your whole entire life. Make plans and stick to them. Thank each other and appreciate each other. Even via text. It can mean the world.
4. One or both of you side with your parents over each other.
This is a MAJOR no no and something I have witnessed happening way too many times to couples close to me. When you fall in love and commit your life to someone your loyalty has to be to them and the family you create. Your parents come second. That's just the way it is. It's all part of growing up. My husband already had two kids when I met him and it took a while for us to form our own proper family which then became our centre. The centre is your partner or spouse and kids and everyone else is part of your family and beloved, however no longer part of its core. The core is where your loyalties should always lie.
5. You don't have an honest and open relationship with joint money.
Money and how you manage it in your relationship can be a metaphor for the health of your relationship. Nobody is asking you to be completely honest about every single cent that you spend but being able to communicate openly and honestly about money and your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to money is crucial to avoiding blame and resentment, which can cause couples to fall out of love regardless of how much money they have.
6. Housework is not shared.
It is 2016 people. 2016. Share the housework equally if possible. In fact every member of your household should be contributing to the running of the household. It's just how it works. I always tell my husband that nothing is sexier than him vacuuming without me asking and making the bed because he wants me to be comfortable at night. It's about 'adulting', and being considerate of others.
7. You accidentally let teasing become taunting.
I've never said the words "I told you so" to my husband and I never will. I have thought it a million times but the effect of me saying that to him would be terrible. I know this because the couple of times he has said this to me I have felt the light of my love for him fade a little. Unconditional love doesn't measure rights and wrongs so don't taunt and don't keep score.
8. You get into the habit of telling lots of little lies.
We all get sick of fighting but lying can become a tough habit to break. Maybe you will be mocked ever so slightly for eating the last biscuit. So be it. Fess up to as much as you can and lie as little as possible. This can be difficult but if you do your best you'll minimise the times you can be caught out in a lie and preserve the trust in your relationship. That's the problem with little white lies. Many of them added up can be as damaging as a total whopper so try not to do it.
9. Any sort of betrayal, anything that breaches trust.
Once the trust is gone in a relationship it can be extremely difficult to get the love back. Betrayal can be anything from cheating to lying to stealing money from the joint account to intercepting correspondence to snooping on their smart phone while they are in the shower. Any behaviour that falls under the category "this feels wrong" can contribute to a feeling of betrayal which can burn up all of those feelings of love in a heartbeat.
10. Disloyalty in front of your loved one or in their absence.
Social media is not the place to complain about your partner. In fact I'd even get out of the habit of complaining about your partner to friends and family, unless it is for a specific reason such as seeking constructive advice. To speak badly about your partner in their absence is not only disloyal, it's disrespectful. It can be difficult not to join in when friends are complaining about their husbands and you can kid yourself by saying "venting" is healthy but it really isn't.
11. Letting negative emotions such as jealousy affect your behaviour.
Insecurity is a normal feeling to have when you are so in love you can't imagine life without your partner. However allowing that insecurity to influence your actions is something entirely different. Insecurity can affect the trust in relationships as well as cause behaviours that are seen as jealousy which have no place in a healthy relationship. In fact this applies to all negative feelings in relationships. It's normal to feel the feelings but not to act on them.
12. Lack of attraction, made worse by lack of sex.
Physical intimacy is important to maintaining romantic love because that is what sets it apart from other forms of love. Romantic love is emotional, spiritual and physical and they all feed each other. Attraction can ebb and flow however by committing to your partner and putting an effort into intimacy, you are ensuring you stay attracted to each other. It's normal to go through phases of feeling less attracted to each other but those phases won't last and eventually you'll be so emotionally, spiritually and physically connected that you can't imagine ever letting anyone else touch you in that way.
13. Giving up on yourself and becoming a bit of a drag to live with.
You really can't be properly loved until you love yourself. A relationship with someone who has given up on themselves, who lacks motivation and who has no desire to improve and enjoy their lives is, to quote one Mamamia staffer "a real drag". Part of falling in love is having endless conversations during which you share your hopes and dreams. Don't let those hopes and dreams fade. You'll go through stages of being more ambitious and at other times you'll step back to reassess. The best relationships are made up of two people who are happy with their individual lives first and don't look to each other for happiness.
14. Not respecting each other's individual wants and needs.
As you grow you change. It's part of the normal process of life. Some relationships don't survive these times because they are perceived as someone changing or even "growing apart". You don't have to want the same things all the time. You can be really different and enjoy different things and as long as you respect each other's choices and avoid trying to bend and change each other, you can stay in love forever. You don't have to love all the same things or enjoy doing all of the same things, just enough of them.
This post has been inspired by 10 Ways Relationships Can Fall Through The Cracks, published on Life Plunge, and enhanced by the personal stories of the amazing women at Mamamia Women's Network. Thank you for sharing your heartbreaks.