There are couples whom you think are a match made in heaven. They’re your life pegs, your #goals—until you hear that they’ve broken up after years of being together. This confuses you, because the last time you saw them, everything seemed okay.

There are some relationships that are calm on the outside and not necessarily tumultuous on the inside, but that doesn’t immediately mean that nothing is wrong. It could be a slow burn that sometimes those involved don’t even notice until it’s too late.

So why do seemingly perfect couples breakup after years together? It could probably be that:

They’re not in sync anymore.

It happens—people change and for some couples, there comes a point when they don’t do it together anymore. One person may keep on growing, and another may be holding back, and this may cause feelings of inadequacy in both parties. When not addressed, this sort of disharmony can grow worse overtime.

“Conflicts happen more often, last longer, and hurt more. One partner may push while the other runs. Repeated arguments become ritualistic and eat away at the core the lovers could once rely upon,” says clinical psychologist and marriage counselor Randi Gunther Ph.D. on Psychology Today.

Issues from the past may have festered.

“Each couple has to deal with their own unique blending of histories and personalities,” Dr. Randi continues. “One or both partners too often bring unresolved issues into the relationship, some of which don’t emerge until the relationship matures.” These can affect decisions made by the couple together, or even how one deals with the other when the going gets tough. “Negative issues that were once only a small fraction of the relationship slowly overwhelm what positive experiences once counteracted them.”

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Needs are not met.

Couples in relationships single out their partners to provide them with things that they don’t ask from others, such as attention, support, sensitivity, validation, and intimacy, among others. “Having the right to expect these things doesn’t mean you’ll always get them,” says psychotherapist Tina Gilertson LPC, BC-TMH. “It does mean that it’s okay for you to ask for them, and that it's okay for it to matter to you if they’re not available from your partner.”

Relationships are give-and-take, and while the concept is pretty basic, there are couples who falter at it as time goes on, and often not intentionally—families grow, careers blossom, and generally, life just happens. Needs are not met when the disconnection is not addressed, and this can drastically affect even the strongest commitment.

So what happens when a couple falls out of love with each other?

Falling out of love doesn’t immediately spell disaster, because as much as this can happen, falling back in love has a huge chance of recurring, too. That’s what relationship counselors are for, but even without one, a couple still willing to make things work can put things back on track, and even include a few improvements. This just goes to show that love is more than just the kilig. It’s hard work, and a decision made every day.

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