The sad truth is that it’s easier to fall in love than to stay in love.
Did you know that 70 percent of straight unmarried couples break up within the first year? This is according to a longitudinal study by Stanford sociologist Michael Rosenfeld who tracked more than 3,000 people, married and unmarried straight and gay couples since 2009 to find out what happens to relationships over time.
The study found that after five years there was only a 20 percent chance that a couple will break up and that figure dwindles by the time they have been together for ten years.
The question is, why do so many couples break up within a year or two? Experts say there are nine key reasons for why this happens.
1. The first year of a relationship comes with many challenges
Relationship expert Neil Strauss told Cupid’s Pulse that there are three stages to the first year of a relationship: projection, disillusionment, and a power struggle.
In the beginning, you don’t see things as they are in reality, you project what you want to see onto your partner. In the next stage you become more realistic and disillusionment sets in.
“That’s why people break-up in that three to nine month window — because you’re seeing who they really are. Then, there’s a power struggle or conflict. If you get through that, there’s a relationship,” Strauss told Cupid’s Pulse.
2. At certain times relationships are more vulnerable to a breakup
Were you aware that many couples break up around Christmas and Valentine’s Day
According to a study by David McCandless breakups most frequently happen on Valentine’s day, Spring season, April fool’s day, Monday, Summer holiday, two weeks before Christmas and Christmas day.
3. The truth starts showing
After one year, stuff gets real. You are starting to see through your love and are not always charmed by your love’s ways and habits.
“This point is really critical because you will definitely see this person’s character,” author and relationship expert, Alexis Nicole White, told Bustle.
By this point, you will either really be attracted to your partner or exceptionally turned off by your partner’s flaws.
4. Love is blind
Scientists at University College London have shown that love indeed is blind.
They found that feelings of love lead to a suppression of activity in the areas of the brain controlling critical thought.
So, once we feel close to a person, our brain decides that it’s not necessary to assess their character or personality too deeply.
5. People want a return on their investment
Life coach Kali Rogers told Bustle that she has found through her research that women want to have an emotional return on investment from their relationships.
“Once they have committed a certain amount of time — typically six months — they like to hold on as long as possible.
“They’ve dumped their love, attention, money and time into this relationship and they want a return,” she says.
6. After a year, reality sets in
“After a year or so, the new relationship euphoria begins to wear off, and reality sets in,” Tina B. Tessina, better known as Dr. Romance, told Bustle. “Both partners relax, and stop being on their best behavior. Old family habits assert themselves, and they begin to disagree about things they were tolerant of before,” she says.
When this happens, and people lack the skills to handle the situation because they come from a divorced or dysfunctional background, things may start falling apart. Even if they come from a happy background, people are surrounded by relationship disasters, which sets an example and makes it hard to be together for a long time.
7. The great no-no: your partner isn’t generous
It takes a while to find out how generous a person really is. If after a few birthdays and holidays a person realizes that their partner is no generous, they might decide to call it quits. This is the insight of Stefanie Safran, Chicago’s “Introductionista” and founder of Stef and the City, according to Bustle.
8. A year is the time when most people determine where the relationship is going
“A year is when most couples of a certain age decide to make it official,” New York–based relationship expert and author April Masini told Bustle.
“If, after a year of dating, one or the other doesn’t want to take that step — whether it’s moving in together, getting married or simply making monogamy important — this is when the one who wants a commitment should leave to pursue their personal relationship goals.”
A year into a relationship people tend to think in terms of a solid commitment and if that is not forthcoming from one partner, the other person may decide to leave the relationship.