09/11/2014 12:29 pm ET Updated Nov 11, 2014

4 Reasons Your Amazing Relationship May Fail

Les Haines

My ex-boyfriend recently reached out and perhaps, it's why I thought it was appropriate to ask him a few questions.

Being fairly blunt, I dove right in; I wanted to understand something that was kind of touchy, and hoped for honesty.

Which one of the three items below is missing when someone says goodbye, but at the same time continues feeling the other two for the person they are leaving, perhaps for the rest of his or her life?

1. Courage.
2. Real love.
3. Best friends and lovers.

It wasn't as much a me needing an answer to the question, as it is a theme in so many lives, both young and old.

I hear details of these relationships, from many of my clients, but what really had me going was this dynamic was affecting someone very near and dear to me.

I know what it's like from my perspective to have someone come racing back into my life telling me I'm the one that got away, the one they should never have left, and so on. Even being told his mom had a picture of us hanging in her hallway throughout his first marriage. It isn't quite so romantic as it sounds, even though for some it is, but for the majority of us, we encounter the same lack of courage as before.

How do these relationships end in the first place? Why would anyone leave a great relationship; their real love, best friend and intimate lover?

1. Lack of courage in oneself
Some people believe they are not worthy of receiving great love, especially if it is unconditional. They succumb to fearful thoughts about their lover eventually leaving them, or how they may disappointing them in some way, which would leave them feeling destroyed, shamed and unable to recover. And so they think they're cutting their losses and saving everyone heartache.

2. External Factors
Other people, parents, friends, society all have opinions. Sometimes, we don't believe in ourselves enough, so that we think we're doing the right thing for our lives and instead, defer to what other people think is right. In the case of love, it rarely is and the choice is one this person will usually regret when they walk away from their special relationship.

3. Childhood
Some look at the responsibility they have from an agreement they made as a child. It may be, they were raised by a single parent, or watched their parents struggle in a relationship together and so they made a vow about their future, so they or their children would not experience the same situation.

4. Risk
There is usually a loss -- whether it is an idea, a place to live, a job or even another relationship--it is too scary and it brings us back to the first reason. The lack of courage in oneself to feel they deserve or can sustain this true partnership.

All four take a great deal of awareness to understand.

Life is not like the movies and often, people make choices based on anything, but love.
When the motivation is one of those four, this individual isn't moving on emotionally. Usually, they get into a new long term relationship, one that requires less vulnerability, risk and may even look better on paper, so they don't have to struggle with those four items.

These individuals settle.

So when I asked my ex-boyfriend, who himself had come back in my life at one point, about courage and did he feel like he has settled in his latest relationship? I didn't feel any qualms. I wanted to understand a different perspective. What was up?

He didn't really answer my question. He said he matured and was making different choices. It still didn't speak to why he chose to not go for what he stated he had wanted. Lack of courage? Awareness?

I've had many clients who were together when they were younger, and reunited years later, but it wasn't a fairy tale.

The lack of courage was still present years later. For one couple, it wasn't just a lack of courage, but fate cut short their reunion. It was a messy, painful drama for everyone before he passed. He was married to someone else and wanted to live out his last days not with his wife, but with his true love.

Some return from the past and their relationships are a whole new dynamic, both people have grown and are actually more capable partners now. Perhaps, there is confidence or a knowing of oneself that had been missing in the past.

More often, the idealizing that one or both do over the years, only leads to a future, painful parting.

What can we do?

Find courage, whether it is happening now, in the past or it's a hope for the future. Do the risky thing, no matter happens, there is far less regret in living life through action, rather than just in our heads. When we don't honor our heart, we miss out on experiences, which connect us deeper to our own truth.

Get clear on this relationship that has been deemed as amazing, great, wonderful and see it through very real eyes. Don't dress it up or shoot holes in it based on the opinions of others. Don't think about what is right or wrong in the mind, pay attention to the heart. What does it say?

If it's not a current relationship, see where there's attachment and why? What is missing from life right now? And how can we fulfill it on our own?

When we have an opportunity to explore a once great relationship again, we have an opportunity to explore ourselves too. We can look at it with new eyes and hopefully the courage to follow our heart wherever it may lead.