5 Common Barriers to Maintaining Passionate Long-Term Relationships
I am a big believer in the power of people to fall in love and stay in love. Yet so few seem to really be able to maintain the passion in their relationships, and many more simply give up altogether. The vast majority of us dream of the ‘happily ever after’ fantasy, but achieving it remains elusive. Why is this? Why is something we want so badly so difficult to achieve? The fact is, intimate relationships are multi-faceted creatures comprising two individuals with generally similar needs, wants and desires, but often completely different ways of achieving these outcomes. Learning how to satisfy these can be tricky, but it is absolutely possible if you understand what your partner responds to, and are willing to put the effort in to continually grow together. This will be a lot easier if you can avoid the following 5 common pitfalls that infect most relationships:
1. Unrealistic Expectations.
Usually when we enter a relationship there is a feeling that our new partner is going to be the answer to all of our problems. We feel that there is something missing in our lives, and this new partner will make us happy. And initially, due to an increase in hormonal activity, we are seduced into believing that to be the case. However, once the initial infatuation wears off, often that same empty feeling returns, and we begin to blame our partner for our unhappiness. Feeling that you are responsible for someone else’s happiness is a burden far too big for anyone to bear, and as soon as someone feels that expectation on them it is likely to lead to either anger and controlling behaviour, or emotional withdrawal from the relationship.
2. Fear of Revealing Ourselves.
Too often we hide parts of ourselves – those parts we are ashamed or embarrassed about – for fear of being rejected or ostracised. But your relationship is a gift that enables you both to grow and develop together. Your partner is the perfect person to share your secrets with, and to work together with to remove or refine those parts that we don’t like. The truth is we all have flaws, and being prepared to be vulnerable when you need to be is one of the key factors of successful relationships. If you are hiding behind a facade it makes it impossible to give yourself fully to the relationship, and your partner will instinctively feel they don’t truly know you. The end result is a feeling of distrust that will fracture your relationship.
3. Assuming That Your Reality Should Also be Your Partner’s.
So often in our relationships we don’t really understand what it is that our partner needs to be fulfilled, and we don’t make the effort to try to meet those needs on a regular basis. We tend to assume that our model of the world should be the same for everyone else, and as a result we end up leaving our partner feeling disrespected and unloved. We all see the world in a different way, and we all have our own unique love language and love style, and in order to foster a loving and lasting relationship it’s essential to accept and respect our partner’s views, even if they differ from our own.
4. Disrespecting Your Partner’s Values.
Many people don’t really even know what their own highest values are, let alone what their partner’s are. Differing values are ok in a relationship, as seeing the world from someone else’s point of view can help us to learn and grow, but continually rejecting your partner’s values will inevitably lead to resentment. It’s vital to sit down with your partner and discuss what your highest values are, whether or not they are being met, and how you can meet each other’s in a way that works for both of you.
5. Resistance to Change.
‘You knew what I was like before you married me!’ This is an all-too common refrain, and whilst we all wish to retain our individuality, the stubbornness to remain rooted to a version of yourself that is outdated can be hugely destructive. An intimate relationship is a dynamic, ever-changing beast, and if you are not prepared to grow with it then you are likely to end up very unhappy, and the relationship doomed to failure. One person growing and one staying stuck is poisonous to a relationship, and two people staying stuck is often not much better. It’s not about changing who you are, it’s about evolving to the best version of you. And when you get two people doing that, and helping each other along the way, that’s when the magic happens!
So, aim to start working together as a team, and watch as your relationship goes to a whole new level!
Matt Glover is the founder of Happy and Healthy Relationships. He is a fully qualified Master Life Coach, Master NLP practitioner, and Master Ericksonian Hypnotherapist with a passion for helping people to achieve the relationships they have always dreamed of. Inspired by the demise of his 14 year marriage, Matt has developed step-by-step programs for both couples and singles that will re-ignite the love and passion in any relationship.