The seven most difficult aspects of being in a relationship, and how to deal with them
However, maintaining a romantic relationship is much more challenging than the initial thrill of falling in love.
Relationships take effort, despite what Richard Curtis movies might have you believe. However, a path to a long-lasting, meaningful connection with another person isn’t always paved with wit and charm. Neither is Bill Nighy usually a part of it.
There are some common challenges that most people in relationships will experience at some point or another. These range from communication problems to finding it difficult to carve out alone time.
The Independent consulted matchmakers in order to identify these obstacles and provide crucial insight into how to overcome them.
1. Consideration for one another
Although it may seem obvious, there will inevitably be times in a relationship when the level of respect between the two partners fluctuates. Changes can be positive or negative.
However, according to licenced psychologist Dr. Daria Kuss, relationships can suffer when one partner does not respect the other’s values, boundaries, interests, and family.
Recognize that “they may be different, like different things, and have different opinions and relationship needs,” she advises.
“It’s not a practical goal, and it’s probably doomed to disappointment in the long run, to try to change them. Recognize that you won’t always see eye to eye, but appreciate them for who they are and what they bring to your life regardless.
2. Establishing the Bond
With the rise of dating apps, singles now have more options than ever before when it comes to finding a romantic partner. In this day and age, meeting someone new is as easy as swiping right.
However, this can be problematic when attempting to enter a committed relationship with someone, as it may take more time for both parties to accept that the dating phase is over.
One of the most difficult aspects of modern dating, according to relationship expert Hayley Quinn, is determining when “seeing someone” has evolved into a serious commitment.
“Right now, we need to check in and make sure everyone knows where they stand.”
Quinn suggests paying attention to the other person’s signals about their level of commitment to you in order to reach a point where you can define the relationship.
Take them at their word if they say they’re not ready for a serious relationship. Second, try to form alliances with people who believe as you do in the importance of loyalty. Since you’ve found someone you like, don’t try to talk yourself into settling for less than you originally desired.
The third problem is a failure to communicate.
One of the most common sources of conflict in relationships is ineffective communication between the two people involved.
Kuss suggests that when people are having trouble communicating with one another, whether due to a lack of communication or misunderstanding, they should set aside time to talk, work on their active listening skills, and paraphrase the other person’s words.
She cautions, “Avoid accusation and blame;” doing so will only make matters worse. Keep lines of communication open and consider the other person’s viewpoint.
Making time for one another
Having a full social calendar can make it easy to neglect a relationship, especially a long-term one. This is because we are all busy people.
According to Quinn, “by now we should all know that we can’t get all our needs met through one person,” and that healthy relationships allow each partner to have their own life and set of friends.
However, when time spent alone together drops to almost nothing, physical and emotional intimacy can suffer in relationships.
If your time together is limited to watching TV or doing the dishes, you and your partner may be headed for trouble.
“Try going low-fi and turning off technology,” suggests Quinn. “Go for a walk (this often makes it easier to have emotionally intimate conversations), build a puzzle, or even have brunch together without your phones safely switched off or put on aeroplane mode.”
5. close physical contact
Lack of physical intimacy between partners is common and can lead to tension in other areas of a relationship.
Oxytocin, also known as the “love hormone,” is released during sexual activity and other forms of physical contact, according to Kuss.
“Therefore, this ought to be encouraged in order to keep the level of closeness between partners.”
6-Agreement to Split the Difference
The age-old advice to learn to compromise with your partner still holds true. According to Quinn, however, it is critically significant and frequently serves as a bone of contention in troubled partnerships.
While she agrees that learning to compromise is crucial to a healthy relationship, she stresses the importance of knowing when to draw the line.
The ability to overlook minor disagreements, foster cohesion, and practise good old-fashioned give and take in a relationship is greatly enhanced by maintaining reasonable expectations of the relationship and accepting that partners do not need to share identical preferences.
“However, it is possible for compromise to go too far, causing you to set aside essential needs and boundaries in order to maintain the status quo.”
Quinn recommends reestablishing harmony by giving some serious consideration to the circumstances under which it is best to go with the flow and those under which it is necessary to express one’s needs explicitly in the event of a disagreement with one’s partner.
Problems, Number Seven
Arguing is a normal part of being in a relationship. As Quinn puts it, the method by which you argue is the crucial part.
The ability to move on constructively after a disagreement is what will matter, she says.
What this could mean, for example, is that after a fight, instead of sleeping on the couch to avoid contact with your partner, you go over and give them a big hug.
As an alternative, you could agree to only discuss the issue at hand and not bring up any other topics on which you and your partner have disagreed in the past.
There’s also the possibility that you’re just trying to accept the annoying things your partner does.
Instead of always trying to one-up your partner and come out on top, keep stressing the value of teamwork by saying things like, “As the maxim goes, ‘you can either be right, or be happy.'”
Originally published in 2020