The thrill of falling in love is only half the battle; maintaining that passion takes work.
Relationships are hard work despite what Richard Curtis movies might have you believe. The road to a lasting, meaningful connection with another person isn’t always paved with wit and charm. Bill Nighy is also rarely involved.
There are a few consistent challenges that most couples face at some point during their time together, including difficulties in communicating and finding time to spend alone together.
The Independent consulted dating experts to identify these obstacles and provide advice for navigating them.
1. a shared regard
Of course there will be times in the ups and downs of a relationship when your level of respect for one another fluctuates; this is to be expected. For the better and the worse.
Relationship problems can arise if one partner does not respect the other’s boundaries, interests, and family, according to chartered psychologist Daria Kuss.
She advises, “Recognize that they might be different, like different things, and have different opinions and relationship needs.”
To expect that you will be able to influence them is not a viable strategy and will likely fail in the long run. In spite of the fact that you may not see eye to eye all the time, be thankful for the people in your life.
2. Relationship definition
The emergence of dating apps has provided us with unprecedented flexibility in selecting romantic partners. Swiping right could lead to a brand new date.
However, this can be problematic once you decide to move forward with a relationship with this person, as it may take some time for both of you to accept that you are no longer just dating on the side.
Dating expert Hayley Quinn says that determining when “seeing someone” has become a committed relationship is “one of the biggest problems in modern relationships.”
“Right now, we need to check in and make sure everyone is on the same page.”
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 aren’t ready for a serious relationship. Second, try to form alliances with people who believe as you do in the importance of loyalty. Just because you’ve found someone you like doesn’t mean you have to settle for less than you originally desired.
3. there is a breakdown in communication.
The frustration of feeling ignored is a major contributor to the difficulty of communicating with a partner, which is a common source of conflict.
Kuss suggests setting aside time for communicating, learning to actively listen, and restating the other person’s words in your own words to avoid misunderstandings.
The situation will only get worse if you start pointing fingers and making accusations, she warns. “Share your feelings and needs with the other person without hiding anything.”
4. Establishing regular one-on-one contact
When our social calendars get a little too full, it’s easy to let a relationship, especially a long-term one, fall by the wayside.
It’s common knowledge by now that no one person can fulfil all of your emotional needs, and relationships thrive when each partner has enough autonomy and safety to pursue their own interests and maintain their own social circle, as Quinn puts it.
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; go for a walk (this often makes it easier to have emotionally intimate conversations), build a puzzle, or even have brunch together with your phones safely switched off or put on aeroplane mode,” suggests Quinn.
5. close physical contact
Experiencing a dry spell in your physical intimacy with your partner is normal, but it can lead to other issues in your relationship.
Oxytocin, also known as the “love hormone,” is released during sexual activity and other forms of physical contact, according to Kuss.
In order to keep the romance alive, this “should be encouraged”
6. Agreeable terms
This piece of advice is as old as the hills, but it bears repeating: learn to compromise with your partner. 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.
Yet, “sometimes compromise goes too far and overflows into you neglecting important needs and boundaries that you have in order to maintain the status quo.”
To restore harmony, Quinn recommends giving some serious thought to knowing when to go with the flow and when to express your needs directly to your partner in the event of a disagreement.
7. Divergences of Opinions
Conflict is normal in any close relationship. What matters, according to Quinn, is how you argue.
The ability to move on constructively after a disagreement is what will matter, she says.
One possible interpretation of this is to hug one’s partner after an argument rather than sleep on the couch in a sulky manner.
If you and your partner haven’t always seen eye to eye, “it could also mean that you make a promise to keep disagreements about the problem at hand,” rather than bringing up old grievances.
Sometimes, the key to a happy relationship is learning to live with your partner’s annoying quirks.
Instead of trying to compete and win against your partner all the time, it’s better to constantly remind yourself (and them) of the importance of pulling together as a team, as the saying goes, “you can either be right, or be happy.”
[This piece was first published in the year 2020]