Make it or break it: Relationships in your 30s

A Column

Before you proceed reading: I am totally aware of the fact, that relationships can break apart for many reasons. This article is just based on my own observations and experience, as well as a study published by Nick Wolfinger in 2015 (with the outcome that the best age to get married is between 28 – 32 – but it’s just math…relax). Fine – time to talk about some serious business now.

For sure you have already asked yourself once: Why do some many relationships fail? And why on earth it’s that striking, that separations happen that often around the time we are turning 30?

Well, let’s analyse this. As soon as entering your early thirties, you will be able to find the following groups among your friends and other fellow companions (referring to those living in a long-term relationship with some other person than themselves).

The Wishiwashi_Graph

The happy couples described in the upper two squares – “The Commited” – and “the Married Ones” – are more or less self explaining and don’t require any further explanation. Why people want to get married (or not) or decide to live together happily ever after in long-term relationships without a marriage certificate, is a decision every couple has to make on its own.

Let’s focus on the two “break it” groups , what I refer to as “the Wishiwashis” and “The Non-Reflected Ones”.

The Wishiwashis are that kind of couple, who have been living with each other for a long time already and most probably got together in their early twenties. Going through life-changing milestones together (graduating from University, starting your first job etc.) and supporting each other along the way is considered to be taken for granted – with all its ups and downs. Whilst running through their twenties without reflecting where they are going to end up as a couple in a few years from now (and yes – hold on – entering their twentyninesomething grown up life), the Wishiwashis will grow apart and often fail, as they miss to address their emotions, re-define their emotional goals and talk about their wishes.

With a high probability, they will end up in a “break it” decision, as soon as one of them expresses his or her sincere wish to get married soon – but the other person not seeing it that way.

As Cervantes already put it “that which we are capable of feeling, we are capable of saying.”, comes quite close to the best advice one can give this certain kind of group. As in every relationship, establishing a functioning culture of an open communication, may will come to rescue.

“That which we are capable of feeling, we are capable of saying.” — Cervantes

On the contraire, the Non-Reflected ones are actually getting married after having been living with each other for a significant period of time – but often for the wrong reasons. Friends and family (especially the latter one) expect the couple to finally tie the knot and after having attended the fifth wedding in a row, “the Non-Reflected” are rather falling for the romantic idea of getting married itself, instead of asking themselves first if they are actually still falling for each other. Not listening to your inner self and seriously questioning your current situation (also known as reflecting one another and your inner gut feeling), may be an important step before getting married and hopefully not end up getting divorced. Ever.

The list of reasons why relationships fail (whether you are married or not) will be quite a long one and most importantly something very personal. But putting it in a nutshell: Yes, communication and listening to each other seems to be the key (which often seems easier said that done).


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