to think that a large percentage of couples break up?

(57 Posts)
Lostaway Tue 29-Jan-13 00:33:27

Sorry to be a downer.

I was having a stalk look on Facebook. A girl I met when I worked abroad three months, lovely girl had been with her boyfriend three years. She had even moved to Australia to live with him, he was then flying over to France to see her. Has now put on Facebook that she's single.

One of my exs left me for another girl. On paper they sounded perfect together - same age, same friends, same career and even from the same city and yet they broke up 8 months later (I am a little smug about that though.)

A couple I know had a baby together, been together a year before that too. Got married when he was 2 and a month later they'd broken up.

Obviously not all relationships fail, and some do and after some time you get back together but it just seems like a large percentage of couples really don't make it.

WorraLiberty Tue 29-Jan-13 00:38:59

Gosh yes, it's quite rare to meet someone who is still with their partner after 20+ years and who have kids with just the one parent.

I'm divorced and remarried...2 kids with exH and 1 with current DH.

I think something like 2 out of 3 long term relationships fail.

Booyhoo Tue 29-Jan-13 00:47:47

i'm not really sure why this is news to anyone. confused

of course a large percentage of relationships break up. if they didn't then everyone would be with their first partner for the rest of their lives.

Lostaway Tue 29-Jan-13 00:48:30

Yes, I thought my long distance relationship would last and we were even engaged. Yet he broke it off without even an explanation - he even changed his number so I couldn't contact him.

He was probably seeing someone else. With long distance you both have to be 100% committed to that relationship - it one of you isn't then it's never going to work.

I do really wish my friend and her boyfriend would break up though. Only because I love her and think he is the most immature and annoying person I have ever met in my life! Last week we had a group lunch. The bill came at the end with mints and he started throwing the mints at people hmm - I have a feeling that is unfortunately going to be the 1 out of 3 long term relationships that doesn't fail.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 29-Jan-13 00:50:05

Me and dh have been married for 20 years together 24 years, 3 dc with the same dad. I didn't think it was too unusual until a sw visited us (had been referee for friends to adopt) and she congratulated us, thought at first a bit tongue in cheek but it seems it is unusual. Must have been lucky I guess or flaming stupid, lol. When we first got together our friends and family gave us 6 months at the longest. I love him just as much today and we are true soul mates. He shags other women all the time though and hates me.
Only joking, didn't want to sound smug. I still realise though it could all end tomorrow, doesn't do to be complacent.

Lostaway Tue 29-Jan-13 00:51:40

Booyhoo I'm referring more to couples that you actually think would make it.

Like the example I gave. The french girl went on holiday to Australia and met a guy there. She barely spoke English and yet left all her friends and family behind to live with him and start a new life. They had a house together and had been together at least three years.

I heard her speaking to him on the phone all the time, never arguing etc. He flew over to France where she was working to meet her family, they posted lots of happy photos of them in France and then Oktober Fest etc.

And then boom she says shes single again.

Booyhoo Tue 29-Jan-13 01:12:20

nope, still dont get why this is news to you. why would you thinking they would 'make it' mean they are less likely to split up? life happens, people change, people do things that damage relationships. people aren't the same throughout their lives so it is unsurprising that alot of relationships break up. people aren't programmed to mate for life.

Booyhoo Tue 29-Jan-13 01:13:03

and nor should they be.

OldLadyKnowsNothing Tue 29-Jan-13 01:13:43

Hmm, the question is how you define "a couple". I had various boyfriends and a couple of longer-term relationships, including a "live together" situation, before I married dh, but I knew none of them (inc the living together one) were forever.

When I met DH I knew it would work, and almost 30 years later it still does.

I think too many people these days [old gimmer emoticon] expect their ohs to be perfect, the whole "soul mates" shite, that's just not going to happen. Some give up on their relationships far too soon, some have dc far too early.

And I say that as one who met dh just after I turned 21, married at 22, and gave birth at 24. We had ups and downs, but by far the worst time was the year after DS1 was born. The stresses a first baby brings are enormous, and I feel sad that so many couples break up at that time.

My family is split almost exactly 50/50 on who has stayed together and who hasn't.

bruffin Tue 29-Jan-13 01:20:00

There are 6 of us who have lunch every week. I have been with dh 25 years and married 21 and all the others have been with their dh longer than I have. We are all around 50

OldLadyKnowsNothing Tue 29-Jan-13 01:20:29

I have three siblings, we're all on our first marriages except for one, who has been married to her second for over 20 years.

payingtherent Tue 29-Jan-13 01:29:18

I'd say 90% of my extended family (many aunts, uncles and cousins) have remained married. We're all quite traditional though and it's frowned upon to cohabit/have dc out of wedlock. So, I'd be surprised to hear of any relationship breakup amongst my relatives. DH's family is a bit less traditional, but still probably over 80% staying together.

Amongst my friends, I think about 70% of the cohabiting/dating relationships have failed but only one of the marriages.

Booyhoo Tue 29-Jan-13 01:30:42

hang on, are we only talking marriages here? those who have been with DH/DP long term, is he your only relationship?

OldLadyKnowsNothing Tue 29-Jan-13 01:43:39

I think very few "very first" relationships last (although of course some do). I'm glad I had a few bfs before I met dh, they gave me a measure of what I'd accept and what I wouldn't.

payingtherent Tue 29-Jan-13 02:01:21

Oh, I had lots of boyfriends before I met DH grin. But I didn't introduce any of them to family and didn't live with any of them. I don't really hear about most of my family's relationships unless it gets to a cohabit/marriage level of seriousness either. I tend not to take much notice of friends' relationships until it gets to that stage either.

Mosman Tue 29-Jan-13 02:10:49

I've been married to DH for 10 years, prior to that none of my relationships lasted more than a year, i knew they weren't the one so moved swiftly on.

HollyBerryBush Tue 29-Jan-13 06:25:27

it's quite rare to meet someone who is still with their partner after 20+ years and who have kids with just the one parent

really???? not in my circles it isn't. It's the norm.

theplodder Tue 29-Jan-13 07:29:55

think some of this is situational. all my friends have all been with their partners and havent broken up , children within marriage etc for 20 years, as have i with mine.

I do think "birds of a feather" flock together and if your friendship group is full of divorcees , serial marriers, broken homes with children by several different fathers, and other such types who can't make a relationship work,then you're probably going to be the same sort of person yourself, and you think it's normal.

Most marriages survive til death of one partner and for many people they marry their first serious girlfriend / boyfriend. So i don't agree that most relationships fail.

jojane Tue 29-Jan-13 08:12:49

In my circle of friends pretty much everyone has been with their partner 10+ years, got several kids together. Compare that to our families - mum married an divorced twice and been with current partner 20 years though, sis who had split with long term boyf, had baby very soon with next boyf, split up when nephew was a baby and how with someone else, aunt and uncle split after years of marraige, mil had several long term partners and kids with 2 of them, Dhs aunt had kid while she was having affair with married man, Dhs nan and grandad split up years ago when people didn't really do that sort of thing although then went on to have long term relationships.

MajesticWhine Tue 29-Jan-13 08:20:34

I can only think of 1 or two broken marriages out of the people that I know. Most people have made it 10 years or more, some more like 20.

musicposy Tue 29-Jan-13 08:27:44

All of my circle of friends are still with their DHs, some (including me) after 20 years or more. But a few years ago we went for IVF because we'd been trying so long for number 3 (never happened sadly) and most of the healthcare professionals were a bit taken aback that I was doing this with the same man who was father to my teenagers. So must seem quite rare to them, I guess.

BertieBotts Tue 29-Jan-13 08:28:56

"Such types who can't make a relationship work" shock Charming! I'm glad your life is so perfect theplodder hmm

I'm such a different person to who I was when I first started seriously dating. There's no way I'd have been happy with DP back then, and he probably wouldn't have liked me. And if I'd stayed with XP I'd be very miserable by now.

There's loads of crap in society too about (women in particular) putting up with shit in relationships so so many relationships which are unhealthy get past that initial dating stage when they really shouldn't. I know some couples who would make great friends but don't really work together as a couple, but they keep going anyway even though they get upset/annoyed by one another all the time. It's a shame.

abcdangel Tue 29-Jan-13 08:51:58

I'm with Holly - in my circles all couples have been together for 15+ years. All are married and in all the families bar 1, the children have the same 2 parents (one lady's 1st husband left her with a young baby).

LaQueen Tue 29-Jan-13 10:37:22

DH and I have been together for 21 years, married for nearly 11, and have 2 DDs. Our circle of friends is very predominantly the same, and have all been together since university, married 12+ - although one couple are still unmarried (but have been together 10+ and are engaged).

Infact, I only have one divorced girlfriend who is very long term single - and she's perfectly content to stay like that.

I think often like attracts to like - my one divorced girlfriend has a good circle of friends, but mostly they are all single/divorced/long time separated.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 29-Jan-13 15:37:06


Hey, speak for yourself smile. Dh and I met and became soul mates and it is this that has helped us through the ups and downs over the past 20+ years. I'm not saying its essential to all good relationships but it helped us. I can talk to him about anything, have no secrets and feel like we are good friends foremost.

malteserzz Tue 29-Jan-13 18:05:28

I don't think it's unusual, I've been with dh for over 20 years, both sets of parents still together and siblings married for years. All of our good friends are still together too mainly with partners they met at school or uni. Everyone seems very happy too we certainly are.

Booyhoo Tue 29-Jan-13 19:04:23

Again- are we just talking marriages here?

because i'd be pretty surprised if all of you who have been with partner 10/20+ years have never had a relationship before you were with that person.

OP asked if she was BU to think that a large percentage of couples break up. i took that to mean any sort of couple. so if you took all of the relationships you've been in and worked out teh precentage of break-ups versus stayed together then i think OP would be pretty spot on in saying that a large percentage of couple break up.

e.g: i've been in 3 relationships. all 3 have broken up so that is 100% break up rate. if i was still with my last partner i still would have a 66% break up rate which is still a majority and a large percentage. i'm not sure why those in long term relationships are only counting that relationship when answering this question. confused

KobayashiMaru Tue 29-Jan-13 19:11:49

"Gosh yes, it's quite rare to meet someone who is still with their partner after 20+ years and who have kids with just the one parent."

Is it really rare in the UK now? I'm a bit shocked by that. It's not rare for me, its the norm. I know only a few people who have children with different fathers, and not many divorced people.

Notalone Tue 29-Jan-13 19:12:42

I think its more a case of no-one really knows what goes on behind closed doors. Many of my friends with seemingly perfect relationships have broken up and the reasons have come out later. Often cheating or worse. Also, those who talk about how perfect their relationships are, particularly on Facebook etc may be trying to actually convince themselves. Its the same as people who post on Facebook what a lovely time they are having on holiday / at a bbq etc. Erm, yes, right. If it was that good you would not be posting about it on FB while it is actually going on. But going back to original topic. Those who are most content probably just get on with it without sharing their contented bliss with the whole world.

Megatron Tue 29-Jan-13 19:20:10

Most of my friends are still with their partners after 15+ years, apart from one. We are all in our mid 40s. I am on my 2nd marriage and been with DH 12 years.

BackforGood Tue 29-Jan-13 20:09:40

Depending on how you define 'couple' in the first place.... obviously lots of people go out for a while with people that are never going to be their life long partners, but, once you get to that marriage stage, I agree with HollyBerryBush and others :
^it's quite rare to meet someone who is still with their partner after 20+ years and who have kids with just the one parent

really???? not in my circles it isn't. It's the norm.^

I can hardly think of anyone amongst my family and friends, say in the 45yrs and older bracket, who is divorced. I know a lot of people but am struggling to think beyond about 3 or 4 couples who have split up ~ leaving dozens and dozens and dozens... ie, the vast majority, who are still together.

OldLadyKnowsNothing Tue 29-Jan-13 22:25:22

morethanpotatoprints I'm glad your relationship has worked so well, sounds like mine with dh. When I posted about "soulmate shite" I was actually thinking of a schoolfriend of mine who, at last count, had met, married and divorced at leadt three "soulmates" (and every one of them abusive bastards). Don't know her current marital status, but I hope she found someone as goodd for her as your man is for you. smile

morethanpotatoprints Tue 29-Jan-13 22:55:37

Ah yes I see now. I've had several acquaintances over the years too with similar "soul mate" statements. When you find the man for you I think you hope it works, even though you know its the right one.

I had lots of boy friends before dh, but never lived with any. smile
He only had two girlfriends before me, lol.

I am 4ft 11 and he is 6ft 4. He jokes that there is only him on our wedding photos.

His first girlfriend was 5ft 10, his second 5ft 6 so when he met me he thought he'd better stop here. grin

OldLadyKnowsNothing Tue 29-Jan-13 23:02:06

LOL, I'm five foot, dh 5'10, in every single one of our wedding photos his head is angled towards me. It's rather sweet, but might be why his neck ached the next day! grin

LessMissAbs Tue 29-Jan-13 23:05:55

I hardly know any couples who have split up! I hardly know, or know of, any couples that have divorced. Of younger friends, the pattern seems to be very much having one serious girlfriend amongst the guys, living together for many years, then getting married eventually and quite quickly having a couple of DCs.

I think a lot of them would be too afraid of being single to split up. While I know a few single female friends (most of them happily so), I hardly know any men who are single. They seem to view it as an embarassment if they are.

I'm in Scotland and involved in the running scene - possibly this is more typical of this demographic.

BertieBotts Tue 29-Jan-13 23:07:44

Booyhoo exactly. I've been in six relationships and am only in one now grin so that's a 12% survival rate, or something?

Serious relationships (living together) only two though so 50%.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 30-Jan-13 00:03:25

I sometimes think there is a correlation in the 45+ age range of today who have stayed together and the old fashioned values we were brought up. I know that's a general statement and not true for all, but I seem to know more couples that have stayed together out of this age group than 40 and under.
I'm not saying that is better though, maybe more stay together for the wrong reasons and more split for the right reasons.
Very interesting though.
There is certainly a lot more pressure put on couples/families today, than when we started out. We had nothing but society didn't urge us into expecting too much to begin with, we were probably happy to settle for less, lol. Had fewer expectations and were certainly not as needy and entitled as the next generation. I am sooooooo old. grin

Harriet35 Wed 30-Jan-13 00:05:57

I think far too many people split up too easily nowadays. At the first bit of trouble it seems. It really isn't good at all for society IMO. Not that I'm saying that couples who hate each other should stay together but there has to be a happy medium. Look at nice old couples you see. Do you imagine they never had rows?

morethanpotatoprints Wed 30-Jan-13 00:09:05

Sorry, meant to add. That's not to put younger people down. I am just noticing the changes in society which is very different to when we started out.

"I think far too many people split up too easily nowadays. At the first bit of trouble it seems."

The other way to look at it is that people were stigmatised for splitting up in the past (especially the women, even more so if they had children), whereas now it is more acceptable to walk away from a bad relationship.

Booyhoo Wed 30-Jan-13 00:11:58

you see harriet i think people stayed together when they shouldn't have in times gone by and that now in days when women have more rights and choices it is easier to make yourself safe and happy by removing yourself from a bad relationship.

i dont think breaking up is bad for society at all. why would it be? far more damaging to society for people to remain where they shouldn't. especially where children are involved. i dont think anyone breaks up over just having a row? do you? honestly?

Booyhoo Wed 30-Jan-13 00:12:42

xpost with goths.


Looks like I'm about to become one of those people who appear to give up too easily. I'm just glad I'm living now, in a time where people are less bothered by divorcees.

Booyhoo Wed 30-Jan-13 00:17:57

happy divorce goths! i know that might sound wrong but i do think if it's not right then the best thing to do for all involved is to end it, so i wish you as happy a divorce as possible. smile

i think my parents think i gave up too easily but they dont and nevr wilol know the full story and tbh i think they should have split up long long ago but they wont as they are catholics and wont even consider it.

You say it like it's a bad thing, OP. Some relationships run their course - a year, a few years, and then there's nothing left and the participants would be happier apart. Some are toxic. Some people remain in a couple-relationship that isn't making either of them happy because of some misguided belief that longevity is a virtue.

And some people have no wish to engage in couple-relationships at all.

ThatVikRinA22 Wed 30-Jan-13 00:19:14

its all a game of chance i reckon.

i met DH when i was just 15.
married at 19.

now im 41 and he is 47 and we are still together - he is my best friend and i couldnt manage without him.

i suppose i clung to the first person i loved and who loved me after a rotten childhood but, it s worked so i dont question it too much!

married 22 years in april.
2 kids.
lots of stress and we are still here. its not and never been raging passion but we are the same - we often finish each other sentence and we think the same....i think we love each other very solidly. we were always seen as an odd couple but we are soul mates. he makes me laugh and i cant imagine life without him.

MooMooSkit Wed 30-Jan-13 00:21:23

I totally agree with OldLadyKnowsNothing

I was with my sons real dad six years and various other relationships. All though I thought it was "love" i never actually looked to the future and saw things the way i do with my current oh. Now i'm older I feel like I am with someone and have got it right, i see a future, I plan things without doubting what will happen and know i want to be old with this man. People change. I don't think it's shocking.

Harriet35 Wed 30-Jan-13 00:30:00

"The other way to look at it is that people were stigmatised for splitting up in the past (especially the women, even more so if they had children), whereas now it is more acceptable to walk away from a bad relationship. "

You're right, but I think it's gone too far the other way.

"you see harriet i think people stayed together when they shouldn't have in times gone by and that now in days when women have more rights and choices it is easier to make yourself safe and happy by removing yourself from a bad relationship.

i dont think breaking up is bad for society at all. why would it be? far more damaging to society for people to remain where they shouldn't. especially where children are involved. i dont think anyone breaks up over just having a row? do you? honestly? "

Yes, I think they do. That is the extreme end of it to be sure but it happens. I think a lot end people expect their relationship and family to be perfect and are destined for a lifetime of disappointment that this is not so. My mum and dad are still together but went through many trials and tribulations along the way, including my dad moving out for some time. Now they are in their 70s and still together and happy together.

Thank you Booyhoo

I'm terrified but know that there is no other real solution. Need to think of what's best for DS.

Porkster Wed 30-Jan-13 00:31:35

I can only think of 2 couples in our group of friends (about 25 couples) that have split.

The rest have all been together, almost all of us married, for about 15 years.

"You're right, but I think it's gone too far the other way."

Seriously? Have you ever split with a long term partner or ended a marriage? It's hardly the easy option! The easy option is to just muddle along with your head in the sand, going through the same things day in day out. Divorce/separation is hard.

TotallyBS Wed 30-Jan-13 00:32:05

In my circle (relatives, work mates, fellow school parents, personal mates) I would say that 90% have never been divorced.

They probably aren't in better relations than your divorced mates. It's just that in the circles that I move in people are expected to stay married unliess infidelity is involved. Being bored with each other is not an excuse for divorce smile

Booyhoo Wed 30-Jan-13 00:33:31

harriet if they are breaking up over just a row then they aren't in a serious relationship so what is lost?

Booyhoo Wed 30-Jan-13 00:35:12

those quoting 15+ years. were there no relationships before that one?

Booyhoo Wed 30-Jan-13 00:36:13

because never divorcing isn't the same as never breaking up which is what the OP was talking about.

ThatVikRinA22 Wed 30-Jan-13 00:39:47

DH was my first proper relationship boo but we were best friends for a few years before it became a relationship and was very much on and off for few months!

when it was on it was on though. and has been now for......think we got together when i was 17 and now im 40, 41 next month.

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