Relationships are confusing most of the time. You may have grown up thinking that you’d meet your perfect partner in your early to mid-twenties, marry in your late twenties, start a family in your early thirties, and then spend the rest of your life loving each other more than the day before. How romantic! But if we could graph life, it wouldn’t be as easy as a linear or even exponential function. No, life follows its own path and chooses its coordinates without much pattern. And relationships either have to fit parallel to the curves and inclines of life, or they only meet at certain points, but ultimately go their separate ways.
Unfortunately, unlike graphical equations, there is no set law for relationships. There are no textbooks that will lead you step by step to a perfect relationship. There are no right or wrong ways to interact with other people. So if something goes wrong in your relationship, it can be difficult to find a solution. Fortunately, the social sciences study patterns in relationships to guide you, but overall, the combination of interactions between two people varies too much to provide a single answer to the question of how to build a successful and lasting relationship. Through these patterns, however, we can generally determine what helps and what doesn’t.
A common problem people have with certain partners is, so to speak, losing their spark. Because of one thing or another, whether it’s work problems or personal pressure outside of the relationship, some partners can move away from each other until they both wade in a shallow pool of memories and wonder where something went wrong. There are three common conclusions for this type of problem.
They end the relationship and explore other fish in the sea.
They hold on to what is left and make the partnership slowly and sometimes painfully disappear.
They work it out and swim back to each other.
Regardless of which stream you choose, you should start with a conversation between you and your partner. Communication is the key to a strong relationship. What should be included in the conversation depends on the partnership and the main issues, but some good starting points are …
Evaluation of the foundation: Ask questions like “Can I rely on you?”; “Are you really interested in me?”; “Am I worthy of your love?”; “What do I have to do to get your affection?” are all good basic questions. The answers given by each partner can explain why they behave in relationships as they do and determine how strong the relationship is without other problems. It is senseless and dangerous to build on a shaky foundation. So when you talk about possible solutions, you can deal with other problems along the way.
Determine your ideals, but stay grounded and realistic: Talk about what a good, healthy relationship looks like and feels like to you. Then talk about what your current relationship looks and feels like, and then try to find out if you can connect the two. Everyone has their own ideals and often they can be unrealistic. Communicate in which areas you want to improve each other, but keep your expectations rational. Nobody can change overnight. Nobody can become superhuman. Another question is what the future of your relationship looks like. Where do you want to see it? Does one of you foresee an end?
Analyze your own behavior: It is easy to attribute all of your problems to someone else, but in a healthy relationship you have to accept that you may be able to help with some partnership problems. Partnership means teamwork, and teamwork sometimes means sharing the blame. Ask yourself how much you feel committed to the relationship. Do you bet as much as you expect to get out?
Some more difficult topics may arise during your discussion. One possible solution that can be difficult to swallow is that it is better for both of you to go alone. Some people can’t and can’t be in a relationship forever, and at some point you have to wonder if the work you both do is worth it. Relationship researcher Dr. John Gottman discovered a “Golden cut” for lasting relationships. He observed that mating must have a 5: 1 ratio of positive to negative interactions for their relationship to be successful. Try to keep track of your relationship. Positive interactions do not necessarily have to be overwhelming acts of love, but can laugh together during a funny film. Negative interactions don’t have to be extreme either. They could be something like a simple passive-aggressive remark that annoyed the other. If you find that your relationship with the negative side is distorted, try to discuss this, determine whether your negative interactions are patterned, and try to see if they can be avoided or converted to positive interactions. If not, it may be in your interest to end the relationship.
Another important thing to understand is that relationships, even healthy ones, grow and wane similar to the moon. However, if you find that the phases of your relationship last so long that they feel more like mountaineering and hiking than slumps and heights of a roller coaster, or that the declines go much deeper than the climbs, then the underlying values are underlying problems .
A common way to deal with these problems is to “take a break”. Sounds like a perfect solution: you both spend time apart without officially saying goodbye. you find yourself again and come back together stronger than ever. However, it is often only a prelude to separation to take breaks. Sometimes breaks can work. Another time you come back with something like a relationship zombie: a relationship from the dead, but not as lively and healthy as it used to be. This could be because a break is essentially training yourself to become independent again. It could also be because none of the underlying problems were really resolved during the break, just swept under the carpet. For a break to be successful, you may want to discuss things like the purpose, length, and details of the break. Can you see other people? Are you allowed to contact at all?
As a last resort, small changes in your relationship can be beneficial. Include some ancient advice from those who have made it in their relationships go to bed at the same time. Studies show that couples tend to stop going to bed at the same time after around 3.5 years of being together. However, synchronizing your sleep cycles can help you wake up happier and have more time for healthy, positive conversations or other interactions.
Relationships that have lost their spark can be stressful and damage your mental health. So if something goes wrong in your partnership, it’s important to treat the problems as they come instead of letting them linger. Talking to your partner is an excellent way to create a good basis for lighting the fire so that this spark is turned back into fire.
Laura Johnson grew up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago and is passionate about creating and communicating. Whether through words or images, she strives to expand her knowledge and experience in the world of communication, connecting with as many as possible.