Back in college, my best friend and I lived in a house with several male roommates. One of them was incredibly sweet and had a wonderful girlfriend he had been dating for years. We were entirely convinced they would get married.
The “happy” couple ended up moving to another state, and on the surface, things seemed perfect. A few months later, we saw that they had broken up, and our illusions about their relationship were shattered.
It can be devastating when we idealize couples, and they break up because it shatters our preconceived notions about their relationship. The unfortunate reality is that there are reasons why even the seemingly happiest of couples call it quits.
Relationships often become superficial/an act.
A childhood friend constantly posted pictures with her boyfriend on social media that created an image of perfection. They were always going to the hottest places and events and, from the outside looking in, seemed incredibly happy.
One day, the photos were all deleted. When I asked my friend what had happened, she said the following:
“It was exhausting. Instead of chilling and watching a movie on a Friday night, we tried to fill every moment to avoid having real conversations. We spent more time trying to look perfect and happy than actually being happy.”
If you are spending all of your time editing photos and ensuring that you go places because you want to convey a certain image… you aren’t prioritizing an authentic and vulnerable connection with your partner.
What two people want for the future can end up being completely different.
For over a year, there was a man in college I believed would be my “forever.”
We were inseparable. Everything we did together ended up being a blast, and our compatibility was off the charts. Talk of the future and marriage came up often, and it felt like a romantic dream.
One random day he broke up with me. The reason was simple. He wanted to travel and join the Peace Corps after college, and that he didn’t want to be tied down to one person.
I was heartbroken, but later on, I reflected and realized he had been right in his decision. Instead of leading me on, he realized that we wanted different things and that it was better to let go.
One partner can reveal their detrimental habits later in the relationship.
In the beginning stages of dating John, I had no idea he was an alcoholic.
He drank lightly on the weekends, a glass of wine or two, and the dining didn’t accelerate until we moved in together.
John began keeping a huge frozen bottle of gin in the freezer, eventually going through the entire bottle in a day or two. His health began to decline, and his moods were constantly changing and volatile.
For months I begged John to seek help and recognize what was happening. He refused to acknowledge that he had a problem. Eventually, although I loved John, I had to walk away. The destructive and detrimental habits that John had hidden ended up being the end of us.
They end up wanting the person that is sparkly and new.
There is a scene in the movie “Closer” where Natalie Portman tells Jude Law’s character that he gave into his affair and that there must have been a specific moment when he chose to step over the line.
The reality is that relationships are far from easy. When you spend your life with someone and see them every day, it can feel mundane.
There will be moments of inevitable temptation and seemingly “greener” grass on the other side. Although some choose to resist temptation and prioritize their partner, others do not.
Inevitably when the desire and fantasy aren’t resisted, a moment will arise when someone steps over the imaginary line, deciding that their current relationship will not work.
Every single couple you have ever encountered has a unique set of struggles. Although it is easy to believe in a fairy-tale ending, the reality is that no one is perfect or happy at every single moment of their relationship.
When a “happy” couple breaks up, we need to remember that all we saw was a tiny sliver of their life together instead of being shocked.
The only people who truly know and understand both sides of what happens behind closed doors are the ones actually in the relationship… no one else.