Every process or situation in life witnesses both good days and bad days. Happiness and sadness can be called the two sides of a coin, where both contradict each other, yet are bound to stay together. Relationships bear the brunt of the downs more than anything else as they form the core of human existence, impacting a person’s heart and soul in a way no other thing can. Romantic relationships, whose foundation is even stronger on levels of intimacy, understanding and togetherness, face many such challenges with the passage of time.
A few of the commonly experienced problems that romantic relationships go through are listed below –
§ Poor communication or lack of communication - Some people find it very difficult to express their needs, desires and expectations in a romantic relationship. They feel it is okay to neglect one’s own desires for the betterment of the relationship overall, which damages their self-esteem, and leaves them feeling neglected and unloved. Issues start piling up due to lack of clarity or quantity of communication, which leads to distress in a relationship.
§ Trust - Lack of trust between the two partners generally has a history in itself. It might be possible that one of the partner’s has had a bad past, or maybe there have been instances where one partner’s trust has been broken by the other. In these issues, lack of trust increases tension in the relationship, causing even bigger problems like lying, hiding things, not prioritizing the relationship, running away from responsibilities and many more.
§ Differences in sexual drives and desires - Sexual desire is as natural to living beings as is the desire to eat and sleep. But as time passes, other things like family, children, career etc. take a front seat, leaving the sexual desire and its frequency in a relationship in a backseat. This leaves partners feeling disconnected and separated, which leads to further distance in the relationship.
§ Jealousy and insecurity - Jealousy and insecurity cause unnecessary ripples in a relationship. It feels like chasing a thief when no burglary has happened at all. These kind of mere speculations which don’t really have a basis, make the relationship bitter beyond repair.
§ Money - When two partners are not aligned in the ways of managing money, there is an unavoidable drift between them, causing severe damage to the relationship.
§ Home responsibilities/chores - When there is no clear division of labour of the household tasks between the two partners, one of them tends to feel overwhelmed with all the responsibilities, and feels he/she is doing too much and receiving nothing in return. This causes severe damage to the relationship and one partner feels over worked and stressed all the time due to the extreme workload and unfair work division.
§ Change in priorities - With time and added responsibilities, the priorities of individuals tend to change. A person evolves with time and experience, and nothing that was a certain way last year, would be the same this year too. Hence, both partners need to understand each other’s priorities and still take out time to nurture the relationship to make it an everlasting one.
§ Time - Romantic relationships bear the brunt of lack of quality and quantity of time as the relationship ages. This leaves partners craving for each other’s care as there is no more time to ask each other about their daily life, their dreams, aspirations and concerns.
§ Partners drift apart - When partners begin to spend less and less time together, they usually begin to explore interests separately. Some partners may conclude they may not need to be in the relationship anymore as they no longer feel a connection with their partner.
§ Falling out of love - This is the most common problem of a romantic relationship, whose frequency has increased in the present times. Falling in love is easy, but staying in love isn’t. When one or both partners fall out of love, they start doing activities individually where they do not need the other partner. This makes the relationship even sourer, and it becomes one of the most difficult challenges to overcome.
§ Infidelity - Infidelity is increasingly becoming a major cause of distress in romantic relationships. It is an act of violation of trust by one or both the partners in a committed, monogamous relationship, where one member has an inappropriate relationship with a third party. Infidelity leads to anguish, depression and humiliation, which finally leads to break-ups in relationships.
§ Substance abuse - Substance abuse of alcohol or even drugs, causes financial distress and emotional drainage in relationships. One person becomes a burden on the other, and finds substance as an excuse for everything that goes wrong in their lives. This leaves the other partner exhausted and issues start piling up at the back of the closet, instead of them getting resolved.
Quick fixes –
§ To tackle lack of communication, set up rules like letting your partner speak till the end, not using blaming words and giving each other an actual appointment by putting your phones and mails away. Communicate without raising voices and exhibit body language which says you are listening and you care.
§ To handle money matters, it’s important that the partners are honest with each other about their present financial condition. Do not hide income or debt, do not blame each other, construct a joint budget that includes savings and pre-decide on who is going to pay the monthly bills. Acknowledge that one partner can be a spender and the other can be a saver and understand there are benefits to both.
§ The problem of home chores can be dealt with first writing down all the jobs one has in hand. Divide work according to each partner’s preference or liking and switch jobs frequently between the two partners.
§ To handle the problem of not being able to make your relationship your priority, start with doing things you used to do while dating. Show appreciation, compliment each other, plan date nights and keep them as important as any other event of your life.
§ To resolve conflicts in a romantic relationship, both partners need to learn to argue in a more civil manner and realize that you are not a victim. If your comments sound hurtful and blaming, then take a deep breath and change your strategy. Apologize when you are wrong, and forgive when the other person asks for an apology.
§ To resolve conflicts of trust between partners, the parties involved need to respect each other’s boundaries, be sensitive towards each other’s feelings, be realistic about expectations and not overreact when things go wrong. Both partners should be willing to work for the relationship and truly look for what needs to be done to better it.
One minute mantras -
§ Do what you say and say what you mean.
§ Be consistent.
§ Be sensitive to your partners concerns and feelings.
§ Carry your fair share of the workload within the relationship and home.
§ Never say mean or malicious things to hurt your partner’s feelings, i.e., never say anything you cannot take back.
§ Don’t overreact when things go wrong.
§ Do not ruminate on things you cannot change.
§ Don’t dig up old wounds.
§ Avoid talking about relationship problems when angry.
§ Do not lie or use misleading information.
§ Respect your partner’s boundaries.
§ Refrain from jealousy.
§ Communicate your feelings and issues appropriately.
§ Be an even better listener.
§ Act fairly, even in an argument.
How to maintain romantic relationships
Relationships can be tricky. As we know, getting into a relationship is easy and the hard part comes when you have to maintain the relationship. In our life we see many people who look perfect together and we wonder how they manage to have a good relationship. The truth is, everyone has their own difficulties in their relationship but they put in effort to maintain their relationship and to move forward effortlessly. Few points to maintain a good relationship are discussed below:
1. Physical Contact:
Holding your hands and feeling the comfort in holding your hands while walking down the beach or park is the best feeling that anyone can ever experience. Who wouldn’t want a little hug from their loved ones. If you are nearby or in the same state then it is good to meet each other once in a while and just to be there for each other. Physical contact like holding hands or leaning on each other or just a hug improves the relationship as it makes people comfortable and their love for each other improves.
2. Open Communication
How comfortable are you talking to your partner about anything? Do you both openly communicate what you feel or what you think about? Being able to communicate freely is important as it helps you and the partner know exactly what you are feeling or thinking. This also develops trust between you and your partner. If you feel that you are uncomfortable with something that your partner is doing, you should be able to talk about it to your partner and your partner should be able to listen to your concerns. This will make you and your partner more comfortable around each other.
What is a relationship without a pinch of fun and humor? Keeping things light in a relationship is important. Some people tend to take many small things seriously which may turn into small arguments. It is okay to laugh a few things out and cherish the moments that you have together.
4. Emotional Bonding
Having an emotional bonding will help you develop trust and you feel more connected emotionally. This brings you closer together. When you look at them you start feeling what they are feeling.
5. Making up after an argument
Fights are common in most relationships. But the important thing is do you make up after an argument? Do you try and talk it out between each other rather than burying it inside yourselves? It is important to talk about the arguments and try to understand what led to the argument and how each of them were feeling during the argument. It is important to resolve it and not keep the negative feelings for another day. This will bring you closer than ever.
6. Do not take your partner for granted
Sometimes do you feel so comfortable around your partner that you forget how special they are and how much they have done for you? It is essential for you to acknowledge your partner and let them know how special they are to you. Small gestures like making a small gift or giving them a small leg massage or just being there for them will make them feel more loved. Don’t let them do everything for you. Help them and be with them whenever they need you.
Long distance relationship
Many people feel that long distance relationships might never work. It might definitely be difficult for people to maintain the long distance relationship compared to the relationships where they are close by. People in a long distance relationship may have to put in more effort to maintain the relationship.
1. Give a personal gift to hold on to
Before you depart it is good to give a personal gift to your partner to hold on to. The gift could be something that means a lot to you like jewelry, stuffed animals, hoodies or a t-shirt and mugs. This will help them remember you and make them feel closer to you. The things that you give need not be expensive or big, it just needs to be meaningful.
2. Set a routine
Being far away can make communication more difficult. Sometimes time zones will also play a role and so it is important to have a schedule to get in touch with your partner. You both must be able to work out a time frame where you both will be available for each other. Sometimes one of you might not be available during the fixed schedule which is fine as you can still get in touch later. This will also teach you the value of patience.
3. Build Trust
Life is unpredictable and sometimes some emergencies may come up like family emergencies or some work related problem which can disrupt your usual schedule. Rather than immediately thinking about how your partner is cheating on you, you need to understand what they are going through or what situation they might be in at the moment. Build trust by asking how both of you are feeling and understand the changes surrounding them. Having trust is important in a long distance relationship.
4. Quality of the time spent
It is not about how long you are able to spend time with your partner but rather it is about the quality of the time spent with them. However short your conversation could be, enjoy those short conversations rather than thinking about how short the time is. Too much time spent together over text and calls can also be exhausting for the both. Find balance between the time and send quality messages that have more meaning to it compared to texting every minute of the day.
5. Making time to visit
You can plan on visiting each other when it is possible and sometimes it might not be possible which is okay. Sometimes you may have a lot of things planned for each other but it may not go according to the plan as the travel may have exhausted you or because you just want to be in the company of each other. What matters the most is if you are able to spend time with each other rather than what you both do together.
6. Embrace the challenges together
World is full of challenges and it may get the best of you. Don’t let it tear you apart instead face them together. Staying together through any challenges makes your relationship stronger. You may have a lot of insecurities and may feel that it might not work. But take a step back and ask yourself what made you both stay together for so long and also remember that the long distance is only temporary.
No matter what type of relationship you are in, remember to trust each other and be there for each other. You must know when you both will need some personal space and respect the choices of your partner. It is believed that one person has to make all the sacrifices in a relationship which need not be true. You and your partner can work something out together to make the relationship more comfortable for the both of you.
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