If you find that you are unhappy with your relationship, this list of helpful tips may be beneficial to you. This is a list of common reasons why relationships struggle and even fail, with some quick advice on how to overcome this.
1. Jealousy about your partner’s personal relationships with others.
Maya Angelou has a great quote regarding jealousy. “Jealousy in romance is like salt in food. A little can enhance the savor, but too much can spoil the pleasure and, under certain circumstances, can be life-threatening.” If you feel jealous, accept it as insecurity and a poison that could destroy your relationship. I recommend that you be open about your struggles with jealousy. Learn to talk about the insecure feelings you have instead of reacting by being passive-aggressive, arguing, threatening, and intimidating. When you think that someone is doing something to you, own the feeling by refusing to use “you” statements and only using “I feel” statements.
2. “He’s been lying to me.”
If you catch your partner in a lie, determine how significant the lie was and know how tolerant you are going to be of a lie. Before you set a zero tolerance policy on lying, keep in mind that lying is much more common than you think. You have to determine how serious you think that the lie is, know what is unacceptable, and make that clear to your partner. If you are not clear on your own boundaries, don’t expect him to be.
3. You do not have enough hobbies or friends outside of the relationship.
Too many relationships begin with the couple spending all of their time, outside of work, exclusively with each other. You have to be able to have your own individual life and interests outside of the relationship. This allows you to bring new ideas and information to the relationship from the outside. It also gives you a chance to spend some time with people other than your partner, so that you get a break.
4. Know what you want and need.
Many times couples end up imploding because they weren’t compatible in the beginning. When you are considering dating, know what you want in a relationship. Know if you prefer to be around introverted or extroverted people. Know sexually what you want and how open you are about this. Understand your future goals and aspirations and find someone who is similar. If your partner is different than you, recognize that these differences can be a source of your conflicts. If you already have differences, be sure to communicate what you want and need and then compromise to make this work.
5. Communicate what you want and need.
Too many times one person in the relationship assumes that the other person will catch on without any verbal communication at all. Heterosexual relationships often struggle with this because men and women tend to have different communication styles. If you feel that something is “missing” in your relationship, make sure that you are communicating what it is that you expect. If your partner does not know, they really can’t help you here. Again be sure to use “I” statements instead of “you”. This can take out the feeling of being attacked for your partner, and allow you to get your point across without hurting feelings.
6. Changes in your routine.
A change in your relationship can be just the thing to destroy it if you are not careful. You or your partner getting a new job, finding a new friend, having a child, or starting a new hobby can disrupt a routine that was once comfortable. Own your discomfort and feelings and refuse to take responsibility for those of your partner’s.
7. You are unsatisfied with your sex life.
Sex will likely become routine and potentially boring if you do not communicate with your partner about it. Again, remember to use “I” statements as to not hurt any feelings here. Communicate what you want and have fun with it. Experiment with different positions, times of the day, days of the week. Catch your partner off-guard. Know your partner’s sexual desires, and make sure your partner knows yours.
8. You or your partner has all of the control.
If one person has all of the control, the other can grow to resent that person. If you are controlling, this is likely related to your own anxious, insecure feelings. Many times abusive relationships are created from such a place. Recognize and accept the anxious and insecure feelings you possess and work to relieve them before your relationship gets to an abusive point. Controlling is only a symptom of the cause here. Avoid all-or-nothing thinking, and realize that reality is likely somewhere in the middle. If you are the one being controlled, monitor for your own emotional and physical safety and communicate what you will not tolerate and following through with this.
Keep in mind that many of the problems listed can be more complex than what is available for the simple advice given here. For example, if you are in a relationship that has a complete control imbalance, you would likely benefit from talking with a professional about these issues. Overall, remember that you can only be responsible for your own feelings and behavior. Instead of blaming how you feel on your partner, remember to own your own feelings by communicating with “I” statements. Most relationships fail because of problems with communication or a lack of it altogether.
Also, be certain of your own boundaries, preferably before you enter into a relationship, but definitely before you end one. If you are not clear on your wants and needs, no one else should be expected to be.
Contact me with any further questions or comments that you have.