angry woman
Sarah Biren
Sarah Biren
December 3, 2023 ·  5 min read

Why Modern Relationships Are Falling Apart So Easily Today

Love is difficult to understand. We desire to love and feel loved, but achieving that often seems impossible. Especially when it comes to modern relationships. In the United States, about 40 to 50 percent of married couples get a divorce. [1] It’s even harder to account for all of the breakups occurring in unmarried couples. What’s going wrong in relationships nowadays? 

Why Do Modern Relationships Fail So Often? 

Search for Perfection 

When we seek love, we often look for someone who “completes” us. This could translate to “someone who could flawlessly slip into my idea of a perfect life” or some other equally high expectation. The truth is, we are flawed and any potential partner will be flawed as well. But we don’t want to settle for less; we want the best. And sometimes that means sticking with one person until we find a better one. 

Because of this search for perfection, we tend to focus on our partner’s defects instead of their positive qualities. Things like bickering, forgetting chores, and other inconveniences feel large because they scream imperfection. So the search for our true partner has to resume. [2] 

Lack of Appreciation 

Imagine cleaning the entire house just for your partner to complain about a dirty dish left in the sink. Maddening, right? But this is the attitude we often take towards our partners. They may be kind, attentive, and fun, but their messiness drives us up the wall. This negativity bias often prevents us from seeing their good qualities, the ones that attracted us to them in the first place. 

We tend to pinpoint their flaws instead of complimenting their attributes. Instead of congratulating and encouraging them, we naysay to their goals and accomplishments. And if they act the same way toward us, there’s only negativity in that relationship and no reason to stay. 

Unwillingness to Work 

As we seek perfection and focus on the bad, we forget that we are flawed ourselves. For two people to coexist in harmony, they need to compromise on many things. Including their character traits. Please remember: Never enter a relationship with the intention to change someone. That is a mission destined for disaster. 

However, in a loving, healthy relationship, people naturally change for the better. Not because their partner demands it, but because they each want to improve themselves out of love for the other.

For instance, a woman may be very serious, soft-spoken, and easily annoyed when people raise their voices. Therefore, her husband, a naturally excitable man, makes an effort to keep his cool to avoid upsetting her. In turn, she works on appreciating his exuberant personality and how he jumps to praise her accomplishments. So when he does accidentally shout, she forgives it easily because it’s part of a personality she adores so much. 

An unhealthy relationship would have both parties demanding the other to become quieter/less sensitive, and breaking up when the other refuses to change. 

Fear of Commitment 

Healthy couples evolve because they are committed to each other. Instead of giving up when faced with problems, they make strides to overcome them. They don’t want struggles to separate them so they go above and beyond to strengthen their relationship. 

Without commitment, there’s no reason to brave trying times. It’s easier to leave the relationship than to make it work, and that’s what many people in modern relationships do. 

The fear of commitment could come from the search for perfection. We don’t want to commit unless we are 100% certain we have found our perfect match.

But here’s a secret: 

Perfect matches aren’t found. They are made. Love comes through working on the relationship and appreciating each other. Lust and infatuation may feel strong but they don’t last.

Love grows by knowing the other person more and more. This leads us to: 

Guardedness

Many of us are guarded. We’ve suffered through rejection, abandonment, and many other emotional upheavals. We don’t want to get hurt. We fear that as soon as our partner sees ‘what we really are,’ they will run away screaming. However, the fear of being known can also be the fear of being loved. [3] 

Love requires honesty, openness, and emotional intimacy. Imagine someone says “I love you” for the first time, but our response is to think, “If you really knew me, you wouldn’t love me at all.” To feel loved, we need to be honest, and to be honest, we need to be able to trust our partners.  

It’s healthy to not trust everyone. Many people act in ways that prove that they are undeserving of our trust. Our partners should not be one of those people. And when our partners give us no reason not to trust them, it’s our own fears that hold us back. And in turn, how could they trust someone who doesn’t trust them? 

We don’t need to tell our partners every detail of our baggage. However, it’s important to share our overall personal struggles, especially if they could impact the relationship. And if they are perfect for us, they will love us and value us no matter what we say. [4] 

The Secret to Modern Relationships 

Don’t allow the demoralizing statistics to doom your relationship before they even begin. Everyone is capable of finding a partner perfect for them. (Note the “the partner perfect for them” and not “the perfect partner.”) 

Before you begin your journey, however, get to know yourself. Learn your strengths and weakness. Find areas you could improve on. Discover what bad qualities you could live with and which ones are dealbreakers. Examine your friendships. Things like communication, trust, kindness, forgiveness, and willingness to change are vital in any relationship, romantic or platonic. See how you engage with these qualities with your friends. [5] 

A perk of modern relationships is that you don’t need to rush into anything serious just because “you’re getting older and heaven forbid if you aren’t married by 23.” If you need more time to get to know a person or yourself, take it.

Remember, finding love is a journey. Once you fall in love, you need to keep working to sustain it. So relax and enjoy. It’s going to be an incredible ride.  

Keep Reading: If You’re Truly Happy, Stop Sharing Your Personal Life With Everyone You Know

References

  1. “Marriage and divorce.” American Psychological Association.  
  2. “Psychologist Explains a Common Reason Relationships Fail That No One Likes to Discuss.” Science Alert. Gary W. Lewandoski Jr. February 16, 2019 
  3. “7 Reasons Why Modern Relationships Are So Fragile.” Psych2Go. Chloe. December 8, 2019 
  4. Top 10 Reasons Relationships Fail.” Psychology Today. Preston Ni M.S.B.A. July 12, 2015 
  5. “You Have to Love Yourself Before You Can Love Someone Else .” Psychology Today. John Kim LMFT. February 19, 2018