Sustaining Love

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Couple hugging and smiling at each other.

Sustaining Love

By: Michaela Bub

Making new connections has never been so easy. With the slew of dating apps and social media channels, making a new connection has never been more achievable. Even LinkedIn has become a proverbial breeding ground for those wanting to find a romantic connection. The days of being confined to just your small community dating pool are long gone.

Despite this, sustaining a connection seems challenging. A recent study (Kabić, 2022) found that the average modern relationship lasts around 2 years and 9 months compared to a poll from 2008, which showed the average length of a relationship was 15 years (Holman, 2014).  

Couple leaning side by side on a beach

Financial Compatibility

While every relationship faces unique obstacles, certain common patterns contribute to their dissolution. According to a July 2023 report from Credit Karma, about a third of Gen Z and Millennial respondents say they’ve broken up over finances. Certainly, financial considerations loom large when envisioning the future, particularly in today’s economic climate where expenses constantly rise and owning a home appears increasingly out of reach. Thus, ensuring mutual alignment and compatibility in spending habits is pivotal for sustaining a successful long-term relationship.

Supporting your partners growth

Another common reason for breaking up is a lack of emotional support, especially around reaching goals. Whether it is pursuing a challenging fitness regime, or starting a new business, it’s important to feel supported by your partner when it comes to the big changes in life. Vowels, Carnelley (2022), found that romantic partners who support each other emotionally with their goals thrived over time. In the long run, if couples sense stagnation or lack of support in pursuing personal growth outside the relationship, it may contribute to a breakup.

Couple hugging and smiling at each other.

As we navigate through various life stages, our relationships evolve alongside us. A study conducted in 2018 by the University of Houston, University of Tübingen, and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which monitored the personality traits of 1,795 individuals in the U.S. from adolescence to 50 years later, demonstrated that most individuals undergo gradual changes over time (Hope, 2022). The research revealed that many participants exhibited increased emotional stability, conscientiousness, and agreeableness as they aged. While it’s natural for individuals to change over time, many couples encounter conflict when they perceive their partner’s evolution as challenging.

Effective communication

Ultimately, effective communication has consistently proven to be the cornerstone for addressing and alleviating negative emotions arising from changes within a relationship. Studies indicate that seeking support from a mental health professional can reduce psychological distress, enhance relationship satisfaction, and equip couples with valuable communication and conflict-resolution skills (McDermott, 2024). Apart from couples counselling, individual therapy with a licensed therapist can also be advantageous in gaining insight into communication gaps and improving interpersonal skills.

Sustaining Love

  • CreditKarma. (2023, July 17). Gen Z and millennials couples are breaking up over money, study finds. Intuit Credit Karma. https://www.creditkarma.com/about/commentary/gen-z-and-millennials-are-breaking-up-over-money-study-finds#:~:text=According%20to%20a%20study%20conducted,and%2036%25%2C%20respectively).
  • Holman, R. (2014, February 6). The average relationship now only lasts 2 years and 9 months. Grazia. https://graziadaily.co.uk/life/opinion/average-relationship-now-lasts-two-years-9-months/
  • Hope, A. (2022, January 6). Watching a partner change is hard. accepting it can be harder. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/06/style/partner-change-relationship-acceptance.html
  • Kabić, J. (2022, September 12). Average relationship length [19+ eye-opening stats]. Review42. https://review42.com/uk/resources/average-relationship-length/
  • McDermott, N. (2024, January 12). How to communicate in a relationship, according to experts. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/health/wellness/how-to-communicate-in-a-relationship/
  • Vowels, L. M., & Carnelley, K. B. (2022). Partner support and goal outcomes: A Multilevel Meta‐analysis and a methodological critique. European Journal of Social Psychology, 52(4), 679–694. https://doi.org/10.1002/ejsp.2846
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