1. They’re terrified of breaking up—from a logistical standpoint.
At a certain point in a relationship—once you’ve moved in together and your lives, including your schedules and finances, are nearly 100% intertwined—the prospect of splitting up becomes intimidatingly tedious. Breaking up might seem like a great idea in the aftermath of a nasty fight, but only until you remember what a raging headache it would be to separate from a practical standpoint. It’s not the hypothetical emotional anguish of heartbreak that keeps people together, necessarily. Sometimes, it’s fear of the logistical nightmare associated with dividing two intricately connected lives. Moving out, separating accounts, and explaining what went down to family and friends are all highly unpleasant tasks. As humans, we’re programmed to choose the path of least resistance, so we stay together because it’s just simpler sometimes.
2. They know too many intimate details about each other.
Over time, you acquire encyclopedic knowledge of the person you’re dating. Eventually, you know most of your significant other’s passwords, their social security number, and their answers to the typical security questions. You also know every embarrassing detail from their past, every shortcoming, and every vulnerability. No one wants an enemy armed with that much intel, so couples that know each other inside and out are incentivized to figure their shit out rather than split, which would mean releasing a scary knowledgable potential adversary out into the world. We all have a vested interest in keeping well-informed parties close.
3. They possess vast archives of potential blackmail material.
Nowadays, sex tapes aren’t just the territory of the Kardashians and fame hungry Z-list celebrities. It’s easy for couples to get drunk, prop an iphone up at an angle, hit record, and film a little DIY porno. Since we’re all recording such a staggering percentage of our mundane lives, it’s also easy to lose track of video content. Is that three-minute oral sex vid living on your hard drive or theirs? How about the footage of that 10-minute BDSM experiment gone wrong? And what about all those sexts? In some of those sexy shots, you even included your face as a demonstration of trust and faith in the relationship. As much as you’d like to believe that your partner of several years would never ever have the heart or the audacity to blackmail you, can you really be so sure???
4. They’re all over each other’s social media accounts.
Your significant other is probably an integral part of your online history. They’re at the center of your social feeds because everyone loves an adorable shot of a happy couple so you lean on those for “likes” when you need to feel better about life. If you were to part ways, you’d either have to leave that evidence of your past relationship sitting around to haunt you every time you scroll through your social feeds, or go back and untag/delete your former boo from every single post they’re featured in. Neither option is all that appealing. Why not just stick it out instead?
5. The very idea of dipping back into the dating pool exhausts them.
Whenever you’re out at a bar or a restaurant, you pinpoint the couples in the early stages of dating within seconds of overhearing their stilted conversations. Listening to all of that awkward, boring small talk makes you supremely grateful to be well past the point of feigning interest in the details of your date’s daily commute and local weather patterns. Reentering the world of singles might be fun for a minute, but the thrill of sleeping around would wear off at some point, and building actual intimacy from square requires a serious amount of work. Sigh.
6. They already have each other’s bodies figured out.
The process of getting to know someone’s body and learning how to pleasure them most effectively is draining, as it requires a good deal of communication, cooperation, and vulnerability from both parties. Plus, it’s not easy to find someone you can love and respect whom you also want to fuck regularly. There are so many factors that play into sexual chemistry. So if you and your current lover are compatible in the sack, repairing whatever’s wrong between you often seems like a more attractive option than launching a search for yet another needle in the haystack of people-you-want-to-hang-out-with-and-also-bang.
7. They’re part of each other’s extended families.
Throughout years of dating, you inevitably start to think of your partner’s family as an extension of your own even if you’re not engaged or married. You celebrate holidays together and your significant other’s siblings’ and parents’ birthdays are ingrained in your memory. After a certain point, breaking up means leaving your partner and their family. The more people you have to leave behind, the more traumatic the potential shake-up. No thanks.
8. They don’t want to trash all the stuff they’ve given each other.
Between Valentine’s Day, anniversaries, and birthdays, you’ve probably gifted your significant other with quite a few nice pieces of jewelry or expensive electronics or cheap but meaningful knickknacks. Separating would mean using or wearing said things at the risk of triggering unwanted past memories, or giving them up all together. It’s tough to part with nice stuff, but you don’t have to if you can find some way to keep the relationship in tact.
9. They have all the same friends.
Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s possible for anyone to be the Sweden of their social circle by staying neutral and friendly with both members of a relationship post breakup. It’s not how it works. Everyone has to choose a side, and that sucks. None of your friends want to be forced into the Sophie’s Choice position of aligning with either you or your significant other. Understanding this, a lot of people in long-term relationships would rather go home to someone they low-key hate for a while than be part of the divisive Berlin Wall duo responsible for messing up monthly game night.
10. They love the fuck out of each other.
The thing about relationships is that they tend to grow stronger with time all on their own. Moments are constantly transforming into shared memories, good and bad. Nothing can stop the timeline of your existence as a couple from getting longer, day after day, or the roots of your bond from growing deeper minute by minute (unless of course you split). Things don’t always have to be going swimmingly for your relationship to strengthen. You are a unit. You are best friends. And you love the fuck out of each other—most of the time, at least.