Why Love Isn’t Enough To Save Your Relationship

Love is described as “a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person” by Merriam-Webster Dictionary. But is that all love is, just a feeling of strong affection for someone? It sure seems like it’s more than that when another person is invading your every thought or your world is falling apart after the person you love leaves you. What about devotion? Shouldn’t that be part of the definition of love? And what happens when that love and devotion isn’t enough? What if you gave everything you had and it still didn’t work out? Sometimes love just isn’t enough to make it work.

  1. Sometimes the compatibility isn’t there. You can really care about someone, but if you’re not right for each other, you’re just not right. It won’t change the fact that you really want kids and he doesn’t, it won’t change the fact that he’s an avid smoker and you’re allergic to cigarettes, and it won’t change the outcome. Being really devoted and loving them isn’t enough to change it, either.
  2. Real life gets in the way. Sometimes things happen that change you forever, whether it’s a death in the family, finding out you have an illness, or any number of other circumstances. These things are out of your control, but they can change everything in your life. You may decide that you want something different or that you need a change. You may not place as much of an emphasis on your relationship, causing it to crumble. It happens sometimes.
  3. You can’t control another person’s actions. You can’t dictate your significant other’s desires or what they want out of life. You can love someone very much and it won’t change their mind. As Death Cab For Cutie says, “There’s no blame for how our love did slowly fade.” It’s not anyone’s fault; it just isn’t right.
  4. You grew up and your significant other didn’t (or vice versa). Personal growth happens over time, and you either grow up together or you grow apart. Your interests, beliefs, and needs change over time and if they change in opposite directions, it’s just not going to work.
  5. You’re both not willing to compromise. I was talking to a friend when my ex and I were in one of our million fights and she asked me if either of us were willing to try to work it out. To my surprise, not only did I answer that my ex wasn’t into compromising, but neither was I. It didn’t matter if I loved this person or not. It wasn’t going to work out if neither of us budged.
  6. You’re forgiving your significant other for things you wouldn’t forgive anyone else for. You don’t want to admit that they have faults because you love them and you don’t want the relationship to end, so you string it along, making excuses. Loving someone shouldn’t involve compromising who you are to make it work, especially with someone who isn’t respecting you. Remember that just because they make you happy sometimes, that happiness doesn’t outweigh the routine sadness they make you feel, either. You can really love meth, but that doesn’t change the fact that meth can kill you. Toxic people and relationships function the same way. Kick the habit.

Times love isn’t enough to save your relationship

You might love someone with your whole heart, but that doesn’t mean you’re supposed to be with them for the rest of your life. There are times when what you need to make a relationship work is more important than the love you have for a person. Here are some of those times.

  1. When he cheated There may still be some love between you, but obviously not enough. He didn’t have the courage to end it, so instead he betrayed you. How will you ever move past this? How can your relationship go on when you know that the respect, trust and commitment to one another are lost? Easy answer? It can’t.
  2. When he brings out the worst in you Just because you love each other doesn’t mean that you’re good for each other. You need someone who helps you grow into the best version of yourself, not a man who drags you down to his level. You’re bringing out the devil in one other. You’ll never live happily ever after, at least not with each other.
  3. When staying together means being apart Long distance works for some couples, but for others it’s simply impossible. That doesn’t mean you don’t love each other, it just means that you’re not the type of people who can handle spending the majority of their time away from their partner. If you’re long distance with no end in sight, you just have to accept that despite love, your lives will forever be apart.
  4. When one of you tries harder than the other You both love each other, but if you’re not both putting in an equal effort, then the relationship is never going to work. Just because loving each other comes easy doesn’t mean you don’t have to work at the relationship. If you can’t take the time to put in the effort, then no amount of love will see this relationship through.
  5. When you let jealousy take the wheel If your jealousy is out of control, it’s a sign of a greater problem in your relationship — a lack of trust. If you truly love your partner, why can’t you trust him? And if you can’t trust him, how do you ever expect the relationship to last? In order for your relationship to succeed, you don’t just need love. You need confidence that his love would never betray you.
  6. When you can’t figure out how to fix your problems Sometimes the only solution is to end the relationship. If you can’t find healthy ways to work through your problems, then love just isn’t enough. Communication is key, and if you can’t do that then your relationship will forever be a timeline of one fight after another.
  7. When you fall in love with someone else It’s possible to love two people at the same time, but you should be able to choose. If you let new feelings get in the way of your relationship, then the love between you isn’t enough. You obviously want more. You’re not satisfied with your current relationship and no amount of love is going to change that.
  8. When you want different things out of life You each have your own goals, but will you end up on the same life path? Finding your one true love is about finding a partner so you can walk through life together. Do you both want kids? Where do you want to live? And how important are your careers? Despite love, if you don’t want the same things, one of you will always be unhappy.
  9. When your future plans don’t align If they want to move to New York in a few years and you’d rather die than spend hours on the subway, the relationship probably won’t last long-term. Sure, you could compromise and maybe he would too, but that doesn’t mean either of you actually should. Sometimes the things you want in life just aren’t the same and that’s not a bad thing. It just means that love might not be enough to make the relationship last.
  10. When your in-laws don’t like you Who really wants to be with someone whose parents don’t approve of your relationship? Parents can be difficult and I know it’s naive to think they’re going to like every single person you date, but they shouldn’t actively disapprove. If your parents don’t think the person you’re dating is worthy of you, there’s probably a reason— they’re not.
  11. When the trust is gone Cheating might not be the end of the world for every couple. Sometimes, depending on the individual and the situation, trust can be rebuilt (but that’s incredibly rare). Once trust is gone, it’s typically gone for good even if there’s still a lot of love there. Love can’t change a guy or girl who can’t seem to keep it in their pants (or say “no” to what’s in someone else’s pants).
  12. When long-distance has no expiration date Long-distance relationships are hard, there’s no denying that. But they’re even harder when there doesn’t seem to be an end date for that distance. Dating someone who lives far away and has zero plans of relocating takes a toll, especially if you don’t see yourself moving either. All the love in the world can’t change a living situation.
  13. When you’re not physically attracted to them anymore Have you ever loved a person so much you didn’t realize something was lacking in the physical department? Sounds like this person was more of a best friend than a partner, which can happen in relationships! It’s easy to love a person so much that you forget you should also lust for that person as well. If there’s no physical component (and you want one), that could mean you’re not with the person you’re meant to be with.
  14. When too much has happened in the past I’m not going to lie and say I never went back to an ex-boyfriend. I went back to the same ex-boyfriend at least 10 or 15 times throughout my early adult life and that’s because I loved him and I thought love was enough. But because of everything we experienced in our relationship—the betrayal, the drama, the history—it never worked. Once things happen, they can’t be undone or forgotten no matter how much love is between you.
  15. When you have the urge to explore Maybe we’re feeling stagnant in our own lives. Or, maybe we’re just curious to see what else is out there. However, what’s out there isn’t always the easiest when you’re in a relationship. This is why so many unions fall apart. I’m not saying it’s impossible to be in a relationship when you’re feeling the urge to explore your options. Still, it’s not always easy and not always smart. After all, how can you explore when you’re not really free?
  16. When communication is basically non-existent I’m sorry but I refuse to believe people can be “coached” into communicating effectively. I’m not saying it’s impossible and sure, maybe through counseling, it can improve. However, sometimes two people just can’t communicate about things that actually matter—work, goals, family, conflict, etc. I mean, we’ve all experienced that struggle before. No matter how hard you try or how much you want it, there’s nothing that can be done.
  17. When your fights are bordering on aggressive You could say the most successful couples are the ones who bicker every now and again. If you’re not fighting, you’re not trying. But that doesn’t mean fighting should be a normal occurrence. That’s especially the case if those fights get a little too heated. Slamming doors and cursing at each other aren’t good. Neither is becoming so upset you forget why you love that person. These are key signs of a destructive partnership.
  18. When you know the relationship should end You’re in love but something is telling you this isn’t the relationship for you. Maybe you can’t pinpoint the reason why you want to run. After all, you’re in love and love should be enough. That’s not always the case. Love is a feeling that can’t always silence the facts of the matter. I know this might make the romantics roll their eyes, but sometimes you have to listen to your brain as well as your heart.
Tiffany is a New Orleans-based boudoir photographer (lushboudoirla.com) and freelance writer. Follow her on instagram: @onesmallflower or view her boudoir photographs: @lushboudoir