There’s extensive research to prove that happy and stable relationships have positive mental and physical benefits. So it goes without saying that unhappy, unstable relationships can be destructive to your mental and physical well-being.
Not only is the relationship you have with your significant other important, but it has also likely been under a pressure cooker thanks to the unpredictable world we found ourselves thrown into a year ago, where a pandemic-induced lockdown forced us to exist in close quarters with the one we love (or at least, thought we loved), with little to no means of escape. The last thing most people want to consider is whether their relationship is a problem. But let’s not think about it as a problem to solve, in as much as it’s a situation to understand.
In the modern world, we aren’t taught how relationships work, how to interpret what we need or want from a partnership, or how to get the most out of them. There is no mandatory training, guidebooks or schools. We don’t get “L” stickers to warn that we’re just learning and might need some patience and guidance. Instead, we go along for the ride and hope for the best – that we’ll find someone more appealing than ourselves who will agree to go out with us on more than five dates and then someone leaves their toothbrush overnight and boom… you’re in a relationship.
“Assumptions are the termites of relationships.” — Henry Winkler
The problem we have with relationships is that most of us learned about them from two sources, neither of whom were necessarily experts in the field: our family unit and pop culture:
“…young men’s love then lies Not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes.” William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
Relationships aren’t about finding the perfect person, conforming to meet someone else’s needs, or being on your best behaviour all the time. Relationships exist on a spectrum (not a binary of good or bad) with the understanding that both parties involved want to work together to improve the quality of their relationship and are actively willing to do so without sacrificing their individuality. What this looks like:
“We’ve got this gift of love, but love is like a precious plant. You can’t just accept it and leave it in the cupboard or just think it’s going to get on by itself. You’ve got to keep watering it. You’ve got to really look after it and nurture it.” — John Lennon
We’re constantly told that peak relationships are something you fall into, that just magically appears before us as a reward for our hard work, manliness, charm, or skill. In reality, the best relationships are purposeful, take time, and require work, planning, and a lot of thought. No relationship is ever perfect. It’s not one where no-one ever disagrees, but it is one where both people can discuss, trust, and come to solutions together.
“It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
Instead of falling into relationships of convenience, being perpetually unhappy or lacking excitement, or just delaying the inevitable, professional help can demystify what you need in a relationship and how to be a better partner. What’s exciting is that when you approach relationships thoughtfully, you can have happier, more fulfilling relationships with far more longevity.
Learn practical tools to improve your wellbeing and get more out of life.
Feelings and emotions are complicated. Let us help you untangle them so you can feel better.