Why Can’t My Relationships Make It Past Three Months?

A string of short-lived romances may point to a bigger issue.

By Keelia Clarkson4 min read
Why Can’t My Relationships Make It Past Three Months?

It seems like almost everything today is just temporary — for a good portion of younger people, our roommate-laden living situation won’t last forever, our current occupation is just a stepping stone to another gig we’d rather have, and even the way we interact with social media is through stories that disappear in a day. We live with a “for now” mentality.

The same line of thought often bleeds into our dating life. Even the relationships we enjoy, for some reason, end up fizzling out by the end of the season, leading us back to square one and absentmindedly swiping through our options on Bumble. As we search for new love, we think that this time it’ll be different, only for our new relationship to fall victim to the same fate as the last one just a couple of months later.

But why is that? Why do so many of our romances fail to last longer than a measly three months? Before we explore what’s going wrong, let’s talk about how romances normally develop.

Relationships Develop in Stages

Romantic relationships, like with anything capable of living and dying, go through stages of development. We’ve all experienced the exhilarating rush of a budding romance, when everything about this person is uncharted territory, every little thing they do is captivating, our heart flutters at the mere mention of their name, and we simply can’t get enough of them. We’re starry-eyed, seeing our new love through the tint of rose-colored glasses.

The stage in which we’re infatuated with our new beau typically lasts around three months.

The stage in which we’re infatuated with our new beau typically lasts around three months — long enough to feel like we’ve invested time and formed a connection with someone. Beyond this stage, we begin to take note of our boyfriend’s flaws and may feel like the “magic” has started to wear off. Relationships that last past this point will experience times of conflict, but provided the commitment of those involved, can continue to flourish with healthy communication and respect.

Why Your Relationships Aren’t Lasting Past the Honeymoon Phase

There’s no single reason that relationships don't work out — sometimes, it’s not our fault in the slightest bit, and other times, a breakup leaves us with some self-reflection to do. But if breaking up within the first three months of a new romance is a pattern, there are a few issues worth exploring.

You're jumping in too quickly.

While some prefer to take things slow, and even play hard to get, some of us live for the thrill of jumping into a new relationship headfirst, hungry for love and commitment. The problem with this approach to a budding relationship is we often end up putting in more time, effort, and investment than are warranted. We treat a new love with the weight of one that’s outlived challenges, placing pressure on our partner to live up to the expectations we’ve placed on them without meaning to.

You're focused on chemistry alone.

Another common issue in our instant gratification-obsessed culture is focusing too closely on finding a relationship that makes us feel good in the moment — one that relies heavily on chemistry, novelty, and passion. Feelings are fleeting, and when we pursue them rather than a relationship based on common values and respect along with attraction, we’re bound to be left with a romance that can’t withstand much beyond the fun, pleasure-filled moments. Once the novelty wears off, we’ll find we’re not nearly as attracted to this person as we once thought.

We regard our new boyfriend more as an idea of a person than an actual person.

You're obsessed with the idea of him.

We often think of finding the perfect mate as checking off a list of must-haves, whether it be that he should come from a good family, have a cushy job, or want the same number of kids as we do — and herein lies yet another problem that could be keeping our relationship from lasting past the honeymoon stage. Approaching a new relationship as a thing to meet our expectations means we regard our new boyfriend more as an idea of a person than an actual person. Eventually, because people are fallible and will never live up to our fantasy version of them, he’ll disappoint us and we’ll feel disenchanted with romance.

You could be sabotaging your chances.

Lastly, it’s possible that we’re actually trying to get our relationship to fail, without realizing it, of course. Commitment issues are hardly uncommon today — we all know that Millennials really struggle with committing, right? The idea that we’re sabotaging our new romances due to our fear of commitment or difficulty with being vulnerable in relationships is worth exploring, especially since relationships lasting longer than three months normally become more committed in the following months.

The Warning Signs That the Relationship Won’t Last

It’s worth betting on that if we took a cursory glance over our past short-lived and failed relationships, we’d be confronted with red flags, as well as patterns. Signs that a new romance is in danger of fizzling out along with the end of the honeymoon phase are:

He doesn’t like making plans for the future. If he’s unsure about inviting us on his trip up the coast in September, he’s clearly questioning the expiration date of the relationship.

We don’t feel comfortable being ourselves in front of him. The promise of any relationship lies in our ability to feel at home around our guy. If we feel like we have to put on a performance around him, that’s a red flag.

If we feel unable to talk to him about our deepest feelings, then something’s not right.

He shows a lack of respect towards us. If a guy respects us, our time, and our feelings, then he’ll make it clear by regularly texting us to check-in, making his intentions in dating us clear, and never leaving us wondering what he’s thinking.

We don’t like his friends… and for a reason. The people we hang out with have an effect on us, and his friends are no exception. If his pals rub us the wrong way for valid reasons, it lets us know he might not be who we think he is.

We can’t rely on him for anything. Part of what we’re looking for when we date is someone we can count on. If he proves time and time again that he’s not worth relying on by disappearing at the moments we need him most, he’s probably not in it for the long haul.

If his pals rub us the wrong way for valid reasons, it lets us know he might not be who we think he is.

He doesn’t want to show us off. Let’s be honest — one of the best parts of being in a new relationship is introducing our new love to everyone in our life. If he isn’t super excited to show us off to his friends and family, there’s a reason that’s worth exploring.

We can’t connect on anything deeper. Countless romantic relationships started off with “Wow, they’re cute”...but what happens after that? Part of our connection with our boyfriend should include things we can’t discuss with anyone else. And if we feel unable to talk to him about our deepest feelings, then something’s not right.

Closing Thoughts

There are a million reasons our relationships don’t pan out, but if we see that our relationships don’t make it past three months, we should think about why.

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