Why Most Relationships Fail

. 2 min read

Have you noticed that the number of marriages that don't end in a divorce seems to decrease all the time? It's almost as if people were happier back then when marriages were arranged and finding your true love wasn't a prerequisite for a marriage and a life lived happily ever after.

The last phrase above suggests the core of the problem: disneyfication. I use the term here to describe the phenomenon that since the adults and young adults of today were raised watching Disney films, they seem to expect real life to be the same - a prince saves a princess and they fall in love and devote the rest of their lives to one another.

Ah, therein lies the rub.

Everyone, both men and women, expect their partners to want to be the subject of their unconditional devotion. But no one wants that. The whole relationship collapses under the weight of both parties devoting themselves to the other while not wanting to have the devotion of the other.

Arranges marriages worked so well in the past because no one was expecting larger-than-life love, but a working day-to-day life where the partners have specific roles and duties. The men were the providers, responsible for making money. The women managed the household and raised the children. Both had clear and important roles, and no one was devoting their life for their partner.

While arranged marriages are rare today, and while you're allowed to marry someone you first fall in love with, the solution to the disneyfication problem is: do not devote yourself or your life to your partner. Find something else to devote yourself to (work, charity, project, experiences, raising children, anything), and regard your partner as something that supports you in your endeavours. You'll be a supporter to your partner in their endeavours in the same sense.

Don't worship your partner, lift them up on a pedestal, or devote your lives to them. They don't want it. Instead, be an individual - have your own life, your own goals and projects - and an element of support in your partner's life, be it by offering comfort, joy, laughter, security, cooking, or doing household chores.

And like magic, suddenly everything works.