Dealing with a Relationship that’s complicated

a problematic couple

Dealing with a Relationship that’s complicated

Sometimes you meet someone. Things move along smashingly well. Little problems come up and you try to accommodate them. Then more problems come up and you are trying to deal with or accommodate them more and more until you are just overwhelmed. You’re dealing with a relationship that’s complicated but you don’t even realize it, since each problem seemed to creep up slowly, all on its own. Some people are in denial about the complications in their relationship due to how emotionally attached they are to a person. The truth is that dealing with so many complications can leave you exhausted. And are both people getting equal time and energy bestowed upon them?

There are all kinds of things that can complicate a relationship. There are someone’s pet peeves coming to bare one right after another. Working through infidelity can make a relationship very complicated. Sometimes insecurities can creep in. Falling out of love, squabbling, or hurt feelings on both sides can all make a relationship difficult. Manipulation or neediness can also complicate a relationship. Once things get complicated, it can be draining, and a lot of hard work. Relationships are supposed to be fun. But if yours is weighing you down, think about whether you’ll be ending it or trying a new tactic to renew your relationship.

No problems in any relationship are solved merely by dwelling on them. Each relationship is different and brings with it different problems. However, the issues you bring to the relationship are the same. Start to realize what emotional baggage you have from past relationships or from your parents and how they affect this relationship. Does this tie in or exacerbate the complications? Next, approach your partner. Pick a good time to talk about the situation. Put your electronic devices and all other distractions to the side and invest some time into talking about the issues. Get rid of blame. Jettison shame. Talk about how you feel. Ask how your partner feels about that and start a beneficial dialogue going.

If you have too many big problems perhaps tackle a little one, celebrate that success and use the momentum to try and affect a larger problem. If the problems are too difficult, if your partner is hurting you or taking advantage of you in some way, if the patient is dead with no hope of revival, or you feel that you give and give and get nothing in return, then don’t be afraid to break up with the person. Give it your best shot. But when it’s not worth it or doesn’t feel right any more learn to walk away and cut your losses. For more advice read, Women Are Crazy, Men Are Stupid: The Simple Truth to A Complicated Relationship by Howard J. Morris & Jenny Lee.

Are On-Again Off-Again Relationships Unhealthy?

Couple sitting together on park bench

Are On-Again Off-Again Relationships Unhealthy?

We all know the boy-meets-girl plot structure of classic romantic movies. Some of us yearn for such easy, movie plot love lives where everything is all sewn up by the end, and happily ever after means no more problems to wade through. Instead, the path to love is often obstacle filled and rock strewn. And two people who love each other may be kept apart by circumstances. Those who barely tolerate one another may be thrust together. Then there are situations that are even more confusing.  Should you be looking for a relationship or just open to different possibilities? And when you find someone who doesn’t quite fit the bill should you stay with them? There are lots of people who get stuck on the roller coaster ride of on-again, off-again relationships. This is where a couple breaks up, reunites, breaks up again and the cycle continues. They have chemistry and a rapport with the person. Yet, something about the relationship just isn’t right. But are these relationships as unhealthy as many claim? First, understand that this situation is very common. One study found that 60% of the population experiences such a relationship at least once in their romantic life.

The reasons most people initially break up is out of boredom, stagnation, the desire to be with someone else or just general dissatisfaction. Oftentimes, communication is not clear. These couples don’t get a clean break. Instead, things are left open and unresolved. Then they reconcile. This can also be for many different reasons such as thinking your ex is “the one,” missing the comfort and companionship of the relationship and still having feelings for one’s ex. Then the list of annoyances, doubts or disappointments pile up until one or both parties can’t take it anymore. The emotional ups and downs, the uncertainty and more equate to a toxic situation. Not only is it bad for the relationship but also for each person’s own wellbeing. These types of relationships can be exciting for some. But they also increase stress, put you in psychological distress and decrease your overall quality of life.

Each relationship’s story is as unique as the people that inhabit it.  For some, a break can be a time of reflection, self-discovery and even growth. This may have one or both partners come back to the relationship reaffirming their love and carrying with them the tools to make things work this time around. Unfortunately, most of these kinds of relationships are the same story played over and over again. The same problems keep arising and the couple cannot find ways to overcome or negotiate them. For those in this kind of relationship, experts suggest negotiating a slow drawback. Over time extricate yourself from the situation. Sometimes one person cares about the other, but their partner cannot or does not fulfill all of their needs. The partner leaves them wanting. It can be hard to decide what to do. A good cost-benefit analysis might help. For those who are at the end of their rope, research shows that each person should sit down for a serious talk. Each should communicate their needs, and then evaluate if they can meet the other person’s. Then a temporary breakup period should be enforced. During this time, each person can lead their separate lives. Then they can get a better look at the relationship from afar and decide what is really best for them, and whether or not things will actually be different this time around. For more advice read, He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not – The Emotional Dangers of an Off Again/On Again Relationship by M. Osterhoudt.

The Inside Scoop on Marriage

Marriage Heart Health

The Inside Scoop on Marriage

Some of our earliest memories are children’s movies where the princess and the prince finally come together after long odds to live happily ever after. People who are really married may have quite a different take. But we are ensconced in messages about marriage, some close to actual experience and others quite a distance from it. And of course each couple in and of themselves is different. Still, there are many things about marriage that exist no matter who is married. Lots of people will give you advice on marriage and having a happy one. But there are lots of other things they don’t tell you, at least unless it’s a night over a few too many adult beverages.

Here is the inside scoop on marriage that no one, or few people will talk about but are aspects that will pop up, that you’ll have to deal with. First, realize that their family is going to become your family. It isn’t just the person you’re marrying. So get to know your in-laws really well before tying the knot. Lots of couples have been driven to divorce court by problems caused by those outside but close to the marriage. Set a positive tone with your spouse-to-be’s family. But set boundaries and have a discussion with your romantic partner about what those should be.

When you are married you aren’t polite company anymore. You are a person’s life partner. You share every aspect of your life together, whether you like to or not. Social taboos then begin to erode after so many years. The idea of rude and crude goes out the window. Rashes, injuries, investigations of one’s earwax and more are all par for the course. You get really comfortable with your spouse and these things don’t bother you anymore. When dating, you would never even think of letting someone into your comfort zone like that. But when you are comfortably married, you soon forget those boundaries. Some people feel that this newly found comfort level is a sign of the couple’s togetherness and closeness. That is true. But others worry that things may be getting too close. It’s really natural so instead of fighting it go with it.

Some people are annoyed by the little things. Nail biting, cracking gum, putting the toilet paper roll on flap side down and many other little annoyances add up. You will have to deal with the little flaws and shortcomings of your spouse, and the positive little things they do to. But if you let these get on your nerves and your spouse can’t change, you may be your own worst enemy. Learn to come to terms with the little things your spouse does. They should offer you the same courtesy. For more advice read, Things I Wish I’d Known before We Got Married by Gary D. Chapman.

How to Tell if You’re Ready for Fatherhood

A man and a baby

How to Tell if You’re Ready for Fatherhood

Ask others when the right time to have kids is and you’ll often be met with the logic that there never really is a right time. Having children will change every facet of your life. But parents always say they wouldn’t take it back for the world. Still, there are indicators as to whether you’re in a position to raise a well-adjusted, healthy child or perhaps you should wait a little longer and prepare. Here’s how to tell if you’re ready for fatherhood. First, what is your relationship with your wife or partner like? Are you guys rock solid or on shaky ground? If the relationship is weak the extra stress that children put on it will break it apart. Family policy expert at the University of British Columbia Edward Kruk, Ph.D. says, “If there were problems before children came along, those problems typically only get worse—usually much worse.” A San Diego State University study found a 50% plunge in relationship satisfaction in couples who just had kids versus childless couples. Sleep deprivation, a lack of space or free time, and lots more responsibilities pertaining to the child can put lots of stress on relationships. Next, think about how you feel about other people’s children. Are you the type of guy who gets out there and plays with the kids at social functions? Or do other people’s kids annoy you to no end? Most people think that it will be different with their own child. But this only proves true to a point. If you don’t want to hang out with kids you may not be ready.

Financial considerations are enormous. Children need an awful lot of care and that can be expensive. You don’t have to be wealthy to raise children but you may have to cut out lots of frills like the movie night, that cheese of the month club, going out to dinner once a week and more. Your meals will probably be eaten at home and instead of a sports car you have to drive around in the family mini-van. How does that sit with you? The U.S. Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion says that it costs between $12,600 and $14,700 a year on average to raise a child. But as the child grows older that cost increases. You have to make sure your income and you and your partner’s income is sufficient. Are you old enough to have kids? According to research out of Ohio State University having a child when you’re younger than 23 can increases your susceptibility to depression due to poor employment options, while other research has shown that those who have children around age 30 are much more psychologically well-adjusted. Lastly, if you are still very much attached to your social life, going out with friends and partying, having children right now isn’t a good idea. One’s social life tends to plummet once kids come around. You will be busy with parenting and perhaps making a living to support your family.  For more advice on this topic, read Baby Debate: Everything you need to Consider BEFORE becoming a Parent by Diane Polnow.

How to Tell If Love is Real

True Love

Have you had a series of bad relationships before? Now you are in a healthy one but your love sensors may need to be recalibrated. Or perhaps you are in a relationship but you’re so mixed up you don’t know how to tell if your love is real. Not to worry. There are some very clear telltale signs to tell where a relationship is at. First, are you two comfortable speaking your minds? Do you occasionally raise your voice or tell him or her when something isn’t right? The fact that you are comfortable enough to get angry, annoyed, and raise your voice is a sign that you are comfortable with this person. A relationship where you are walking on egg shells just to make sure your partner doesn’t get upset isn’t real love. The next sign is if you’re not constantly focusing on the relationship. You can go about your day feeling secure that your relationship is okay. If you are constantly worrying about the other person, for good reason, not that you are just worrisome or insecure, then the relationship is not solid and therefore cannot be a robust, healthy, loving relationship. But if you can get through your work, classes, or whatever it is that you are doing, focusing on what you need to do, and feel healthy and secure enough in your relationship that you don’t need to worry, this is a sign of a strong, loving relationship.

Have you ever had an emotional breakdown in front of your significant other? If you’ve cried in front of them, whether it was for an important or silly reason, and they supported you, comforted you, and took care of you, this is a sign of love. If they moved away from you, acted as if they didn’t know what to do, or asked for some space afterward, this may not be love. If your relationship surrounds physical encounters, this may not be true love. But if you’re not physical every time you get together, but the relationship revolves around being together and how you feel about one another, this is a sign of real love. How do you two deal with silence or a gap in the conversation? If they are uncomfortable and you two rush to fill these silences, the relationship is still too new. If you’ve been together a while though, beware. If you two endure silence comfortably, that it isn’t a threat to your relationship but simply a pause, this is a sign of a strong, loving bond. Do you find yourself not sweating the small stuff in life, such as not getting a particular assignment at work, having to park at the back of the lot, or getting caught in the rain? If things that normally irk you are shrugged off, you are in love. For more advice concerning the topic of real love, try reading the book, Real Love in Dating – The Truth about Finding the Perfect Partner by Greg Baer.