In a good relationship both partners are at ease. You can talk or you can be silent yet you still feel relaxed and connected. If this is you then you are lucky; you have probably found The One. But far more people find such happiness eludes them and it leaves them struggling to understand the ways relationships can go wrong.
Sometimes the problems are trivial: your relationship has become dull and monotonous, you no longer look forward to seeing each other and you’re beginning to get seriously on each other’s nerves. But sometimes it’s more serious; you’re unhappy a lot of the time and you’re beginning to doubt that your relationship has a future.
You need a solution. You need to understand the ways relationships can go wrong so that you can try to put things right.
The first rule of relationships is that things can’t always be perfect. But sometimes that can take time to sink in. Too many of us have been fed the Hollywood version of happy ever after and become disillusioned when we find that real life is not quite that wonderful and in fact can often be routine and rather dull.
Relax, and take a deep breath
All couples get to this stage eventually; and this is the time when the smart ones begin to understand what people meant when they said that relationships need work.
Romantic love really doesn’t last for ever, and no-one lives happily ever after. People aren’t perfect; and a lot of the routine of daily life is mundane, repetitive and boring. But remember you have a relationship with someone who once put butterflies in your stomach and made you dream all day of seeing him tonight.
And that relationship is still precious
Just because it’s got a bit ragged around the edges isn’t a reason to decide that it was all an illusion, and he’s not Mr Right after all. There are a lot of ways you can pep up your life together and recreate the sexual tension between you and they can be effective at any time in your relationship. So try shaking things up a bit rather than just chucking in the towel.
Get out of the Rut
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut, but when it comes to relationships; habit = boredom.
If you are doing the same things on the same day every week, week after week, it’s no wonder life is beginning to seem a little dull. It’s only too easy to get into a routine that gets the essential things done; but is bad for your relationship.
Everyone needs stimulation if life isn’t to get intolerably dreary, and stimulation means variety. If you keep eating the same food, meeting the same people and going to the same places, then you are in a rut; and you need to get out of it.
Think of the law of diminishing returns. The first time is always unique, the second great, the third good, the fourth OK…so build some more first times into your life and you will soon feel the benefit.
Try doing something new. You might find you’ve discovered a great new interest or hobby, but even if you don’t enjoy it you will at least have had the stimulation of variety. And once you start doing new things you will find it is as habit-forming as your old routine and you will soon find something that really grabs you and adds a whole new dimension to your life.
Want some ideas? Try something adrenalin inducing…
Many men love action and adventure and sharing these experiences will not only spice up your life but will also build a stronger bond between you. Anything with an element of danger or risk offers a challenge and taking up challenges builds strong connections.
Spend a weekend rock climbing, paragliding, white water rafting, bungee jumping or doing anything else that sends a shiver down your spine. You’ll be creating powerful bonds and vivid memories together.
If you’re just not the active type, then try exploring a new culture that involves taking part in new and different things. When you are in an unfamiliar environment, you are more aware and receptive to what is going on around you.
This will make you feel that you are living your life, rather than just existing day by day.
Is it just boredom making you question your relationship or is there a more fundamental problem? There are several things that can make you feel insecure and they are all common ways relationships can go wrong.
Lack of appreciation
You are still trying but no-one seems to notice any more, least all him. It’s making you feel neglected and unappreciated and you have started to feel insecure. Does he even care about you or your relationship? If not, why, and if he does then why has he stopped showing it?
Men often don’t understand how important communication is to women. Because your presence is enough for him to feel happy and secure, he assumes it’s the same for you. And this situation can easily lead to a response that makes the situation worse.
You start to overcompensate
When men pull back women have a terrible tendency to move into the space and fill it. They do for their men all the things they want those men to do for them because that is their instinctive response. But it is one of the most common ways relationships can go wrong.
Instead of responding with an equal effort most men simply withdraw even more. The women redouble their efforts to compensate and the relationship is set on a downward spiral.
Give yourself the attention you deserve
The result is often a loss of confidence and self-esteem for the woman. So what you should do is give yourself the attention you are not getting from your partner. It’s essential for a healthy relationship for both partners to be happy in themselves. Stop looking for authentication from him and give it to yourself. Nurture your health, your career and your hobbies and create a satisfying life outside your relationship.
This will have the added benefit of leaving you less time to pay attention to him. Eventually he will notice and if he values your relationship he will start making an effort himself to sustain it.
You don’t want to give your best years to a relationship that will never be happy or give you the life you want. If you are genuinely incompatible then it is nobody’s fault but it is an insuperable barrier to a successful relationship.
How well do you deal with conflict?
All relationships have problems and the number of fights you have are not necessarily a sign of a failing relationship. What matters is how you resolve them.
If you are constantly fighting about the same issues then that is a big problem. Unresolved problems make people angry and critical, and this causes simmering tensions that erode the warmth and passion in a relationship. If you can’t solve your problems it will build resentment which festers and poisons everything. You start to walk on eggshells, always afraid of triggering the next blow-up.
Neither of you feels supported or that you are a team. You both feel misunderstood and that your well-meaning attempts to make things better are being trampled on and rejected. And unless you can change this your relationship will be destroyed.
If you or your partner have problems with anger management then you should seek professional help. No-one should be expected to stay in a relationship which is too volatile and may even feel abusive to them. But you need to develop a strategy together for resolving your problems (the easy bit) and stick to it (much harder). An inability to handle conflict is one of the many ways relationships can go wrong.
Your dreams for the future are not shared
This is something you should discuss as soon as you decide your future lies together, because unless you share the same hopes for that future, it probably doesn’t. And it’s no good hoping that your partner will change their mind about something as fundamental as where you will live and whether or not you want children. Of course they might, but they more likely won’t; and you are simply storing up avoidable problems for the future.
And if a few years down the line you start putting pressure on your partner to do something that they have always made clear was not on their agenda, then the destruction of your relationship will be your fault. Have the respect for your partner to believe what they tell you and gracefully agree to treasure the memory of the happiness you have shared and to part in friendship.
Remember You’re a Team
When things go wrong, remember that you’re on the same side. That means that you’re looking for solutions, not victories.
Disagreeing about something means that you have different points of view
It doesn’t mean that you’re right and he’s wrong, or vice versa. You don’t have to convert your partner to your point of view, or you to his. It means that you have to find a solution that both of you can live with.
The quickest way to kill a relationship is to turn yourselves into winners and losers. In time an imbalance of power emerges in which the victory always goes to the same partner. The winner starts to feel contemptuous of the loser; the loser resentful of the winner. The more someone wins, the harder it becomes to back down.
In the end you are both losers
A strong and secure person doesn’t need to assert herself by putting other people down. Try to understand your partner’s viewpoint and expect him to do the same for you. At these times ‘we’ is more important than ‘me’.
Dealing With the Ways Relationships Can Go Wrong
People communicate and receive love in different ways. Many women like to communicate in words, whereas men are more likely to express themselves through actions. Whatever a man says, if his actions contradict it then his actions are what you should believe. Sometimes men say things because they feel it is expected of them, but if they are not sincere then their actions won’t back those words up.
In a good relationship both partners’ words and actions are in harmony. When they get out of sync you have problems, but the problems themselves are not why relationships go wrong, it’s the inability or failure to solve them.
Remember that the best things take time and effort, and a great relationship is well worth making that effort. When you give to someone, they will want to give back to you. When you understand the ways relationships can go wrong you can often find a solution, so use these tips to reinvigorate your love life and bring you and your boyfriend closer together again.