why does love hurt

They say you haven’t truly loved someone until you have gone through a heartbreak which can be very painful and feel like the wind has been knocked out of you.

None of us go into a relationship expecting it to end in heartbreak but life sometimes happens, and it is inevitable that you will experience a breakup at least once (if not more) in your lifetime.

This can leave a lot of people feeling heartbroken by love, losing hope that they will ever find that special someone and love again.

So what makes a relationship successful?

What are some of the things that make love work:
  • For love and relationships to work there needs to be some basic principles in place such as:
  • The ability to respect each other as human beings and partners including each other’s boundaries.
  • The ability to be honest with each other about your expectations of each other and the relationship.
  • The ability to create safety for each other, both physical and emotional safety which involves the ability to communicate effectively as well as resolve conflict constructively.
  • This helps to build trust in the relationship which enables connection and builds a strong bond between couples to work through their issues together.
We often hear that love alone is not enough. What does this mean, and is there some truth to it?

Love alone is not enough to make a relationship successful because we go through different phases where some days our connection is strong and we feel in love with, and loved by our partner, and other days we can be disconnected and question our relationship by the stressors that are evident (e.g. work stress, family stress, relationship stress etc).

There are also many deeper elements that need to be taken into account when entering into a relationship such as:

  • the same/similar value systems (different value systems can cause clashes and conflict)
  • come from same/similar cultural backgrounds (different cultural or traditional expectations can cause conflict)
  • the same/similar religious path (having different faiths and beliefs can cause conflict)
  • have we clearly articulated our expectations from each other and the relationship (are they realistic or unrealistic e.g. your partner cannot make you happy but they can playa role in your happiness)
  • have we clearly defined our relationship boundaries (e.g. cheating, abusiveness etc)
  • the same/similar financial goals (spending vs saving, financial responsibilities etc)
  • the same/similar lifestyle aspirations (e.g. hobbies, interests etc).
  • the same/similar family aspirations (relationships with family, wanting children etc)

These are ongoing discussions that couples should be having throughout their lifetime together as both individual and relationship needs shift and change as life evolves and shifts.

The longer we are together, we evolve at an individual level and on a relational level. We therefore need to be able to adapt and evolve accordingly which means continually checking in with each other where we are and are we still aligned with each other. If not, where do we need to adjust to ensure we grow together instead of apart.


Paula Quinsee is the Founder of Engaged Humans, facilitating connection between men, women and couples. She is a certified Imago Relationship Therapy Educator and Facilitator, NLP Practitioner, PDA Analyst, Coach and Trainer Paula is also the author of 2 self-help guides: Embracing Conflict and Embracing No as well as an international speaker, advocate for mental health and activist for gender-based violence. For more info:  www.engagedhumans.com