when is love not enough

When Love is Not Enough: 12 Often Overlooked Indicators

For our inner peace and happiness, we must learn to recognize and admit when love is not enough, no matter how much we might feel connected to someone. We can love someone and have very different approaches to life. We can love someone and have very different long term visions. Loving someone does not guarantee we will feel physically attracted to them. Loving someone doesn’t mean we’re ready to make a long term commitment. In fact, love and “fit” often don’t align. 

Achingly, when we love someone and have to let them go, it may feel like our heart will break in two. Yet, while it won’t actually break, the heartache can feel immense until we understand truly why love is not enough. In that awareness we can slowly, with the least amount of pain, the most love, and the most grace, find a way to transition out of what wasn’t serving us, what wasn’t meant to be.

But how do we know when love is not enough? What do we do when we realize it isn’t? Maybe more importantly, how do we prevent getting into a relationship where love is not enough. Let’s explore… 


When love is not enough

When we truly love someone, many of us will feel immense motivation to turn that love into a lasting relationship, even a marriage. Yet, if we desire actual partnership, we must consider the bigger picture when choosing a mate. If we simply follow that loving feeling, our narrowed focus may cause us to overlook certain less-than-ideal aspects of a potential partner or relationship. Eventually, those parts we didn’t want to see and tried to look past become painful thorns for both people.  

Sadly, when we find ourselves already in a relationship where it feels like love is not enough, as much as we might be in love, we also likely feel pain, frustration, even abandonment. When love is not enough in a relationship, you may find yourself experiencing some of these uncomfortable experiences.

  1. One partner appears clingy or needy
  2. One partner may unconsciously pull away, yet believe they’re fully in the relationship
  3. The distinction between healthy and unhealthy boundaries may blur
  4. In the fear of loss, one or both people may turn to people pleasing and self abandoning patterns trying to make it work
  5. Frustration may arise when the two of you frequently feel out of sync
  6. Loneliness, even in love, can visit often 
  7. One or both partner may feel like it “should just work” without any real effort
  8. Either partner may avoid conflict, or feel like conflict means it’s not love
  9. There was never real chemistry between you
  10. Believing that couples in love never have conflict (which makes your conflict worse) 
  11. Lack of true partnership where you care for and support one another
  12. You hear you or your partner saying, “It shouldn’t have to be this hard.” or “Why can’t we make this work?”

Each relationship is different so you may not see all of these, but identifying even a few offers an indication that your hearts and your relationship may need some quality care and attention. And, let’s be clear, just because you see these signs that love is not enough, your relationship may not be doomed. It may just mean that two of you need some education on how to have partnership and love. 


Why love is not enough

Let’s look a little deeper so we can see the “why” when love is not enough for you or the one you love. Just because we have love doesn’t mean we have the capacity or the desire for partnership or committed relationship. Sustainable partnerships require, let’s even say demand, more than just love to last, to feel happy and fulfilling. 

If we want a long term relationship, marriage, or lifetime partnership two people must choose to actually relate to each other, to work together. Sustainable partnership requires interdependence. When we genuinely desire this kind of partnered connection, we begin to genuinely see why love is not enough when…

  • The connection lacks a mutuality of care, concern, and contribution.
  • One of both partners consistently aren’t present to the relationship dynamics.
  • The two of you experience a repeated inability or unwillingness to communicate.
  • One person isn’t genuinely physically attracted to the other. (This means nothing about either person. We simply don’t have chemistry with every human. Thank goodness.)
  • Upsets fester and you find yourself feeling the hurt more than the love.
  • Unresolved insecurities and self doubts prevent love from actually being felt

Simply put, why is love not enough? Because love doesn’t make for a relationship. Partnership and mutual engagement paired with love make for lasting connection. 


What to do when love is not enough in your relationship

When love is not enough in a relationship, and you want to address it, you may find one of these two common scenarios exist for you.

  1. Unrealistic Expectations: One or both of you didn’t realize, or maybe want to admit, how much energy and effort it takes to sustain a romantic relationship over time through the ups and downs of life. In that resistance, love just isn’t enough to sustain the connection.  
  1. Not a Fit: Early on, you didn’t explore, or admit to yourself or each other, whether you were a true fit, a genuine match, before getting into your relationship. When you seek love with an energy of desperation, even if that desperation is unconsciously hidden under the surface, you can easily convince yourself “it’s good enough.” You may tell yourself “you may not find someone better” and that you should settle for what you have. While you likely love the other person, the love in this case will be limited and certainly won’t be enough to fulfill either partner long term. 

If you find yourself in the first scenario, you’ll each want to genuinely and authentically ask yourselves whether you’re willing to learn how to have a true relationship, beyond the love you share. You’ll have to decide whether you’re willing to learn how to partner – to communicate, to listen, to contribute to each other, and most importantly, to consciously navigate upsets together. If you’re both willing to even consider learning, discovering, and practicing – individually and together – you can absolutely expand on the love you have and build a beautiful life together. 

In the second scenario, you also have to get honest with yourself. In this case you have to be real about whether you truly want to be with this partner, whether you have genuine interest and attraction, desire and respect. If you don’t and you try to force a round peg in a square hole over and over and over again, both of you will suffer greatly. Both of you will be denied the opportunity to know true soul connection and divine union. You may care about each other and if either of you feels you are settling by being together, resentment will surely grow and create more pain than either of you deserve.

This second possibility may not be an easy path and is not a decision to be taken quickly or lightly. It’s possible your attraction and connection, your true desire for each other, may be hidden under fears and judgements, behind unrealistic expectations or even self abandonment. Again you may want to seek support to help you sort out what is authentically true for each of you. 

If you’re single and exploring when love is not enough in dating, pay particular attention to this second scenario. If the two of you don’t truly “fit”, the sooner you are honest with yourself, the more heartache you will save yourself and the one you are dating – even if you’re the one more in love. Again, having support here can matter because sometimes our fears make it seem like we’re not a fit, when a true soul connection exists.


How to prevent this heart ache

One of the most common reasons individuals and couples find themselves wanting to understand when love is not enough happens because they didn’t actually choose their partner consciously. As we mentioned above, when having a relationship becomes more important than having the right relationship, we find ourselves struggling and in pain. 

If you want to prevent unnecessary heartache, if you want to choose a great partner for you, if you want to build a solid foundation for a relationship with a love that lasts, then first and foremost, practice authentic self love. Seriously. The old adage about loving yourself first stands true now more than ever. If you settle, which is the antithesis of self love, you will suffer and so will they. Ask a potential partner these 21 questions for a new relationship. Even if you’ve been together for years and you’re trying to determine if your love is enough for your relationship to work, ask yourself those 21 questions. 

Then, plain and simple, be courageously honest. If you want to be together and you choose the relationship and you choose to do what needs to be done to reset the foundation of your connection, then you can find an ecstasy together beyond anything either of you imagined. 

Alternatively, a profound expression of love happens when we set someone whom we’ve been “settling for” free. Your hearts may hurt initially but in your ending you will have known true love

Remember that just because you see indications that love is not enough, your relationship may not be over. It may simply mean the two of you have opportunities to grow and learn together – something truly in love couples absolutely do. Know that the potential for divine union always exists between truly aligned souls, even when that alignment feels temporarily hidden. 

Know that any relationship that matters requires energy and conscious effort. Relationships may be intangible yet they are no different than a house, a car, a garden. We must care for them if we want them to last. Love alone is not enough. 


Since 2006, highly conscious men and women, with a commitment to extraordinary relationships, have chosen Ecstatic Intimacy to find and cultivate Soul Partnerships from their bedrooms to their boardrooms. Ecstatic Intimacy believes in coveted relationships, for all. 

You too, are invited…

*At Ecstatic Intimacy, an all-inclusive website for singles and couples, we welcome all sexual orientation(s), gender(s) and relationship expressions. In this article we utilize the pronouns he/she/him/her.

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