“All relationships go through hell, real relationships get through it.” - Unknown author
Humans have a strong, innate need for connection. We need to feel love, passion, and intimacy almost as much as we need food, water, and shelter for survival. Think about how being isolated from our loved ones impacted our mental health during the pandemic. Relational bonds enhance the quality of our lives by fulfilling our need to belong.
Building a relationship is a long, complicated process that requires equal commitment from both partners. Relationships may bloom from a deep friendship or grow from a strong, intense connection with a stranger.
Dating marks the beginning of the relationship. During this time, you are high on feel-good hormones that constantly make you think about your partner. As the relationship progresses, we notice flaws and shift our focus to other differences. Unfortunately, many relationships dissolve at this stage as most people are not ready to commit to something serious.
As the differences amplify, the relational bond undergoes the test of conflict, which requires communication and compromise. Finally, the couple must overcome the boredom and monotony in their relationship to pave the path to acceptance. Unfortunately, most relationships cannot withstand the instability of conflicts and a lack of passion. Since many people crave the highs at the beginning of a relationship, couples go their separate ways.
Studies have shown that the brain responds to a breakup in the same way it would to the breaking of a bone. Isn’t that baffling?! As connecting with your partner becomes a part of your daily routine, they become a part of your neural pathways. However, after a breakup, these pathways go haywire. When a relationship ends, it is normal to feel vulnerable, devastated, and confused.
During a relationship, your brain experiences a massive influx of dopamine, the “reward” hormone. In the event of a separation, you may impulsively text your ex-partner in an attempt to re-live the feeling of being loved and wanted. But it’s not easy to simply "get over them", as your brain needs time and conscious effort to get accustomed to their absence.
Why Do Relationships Turn Sour?
“The ultimate test of a relationship is to disagree but to hold hands.” - Alexandra Penney
Relationships are difficult to sustain because of their ever-changing nature. Contrary to popular belief, they are not inherently perfect. Many of us tie our happiness and self-worth to our relationships, and we either choose to settle or ignore the problems to save them. Given below are some reasons why relationships do not work out:
Abuse takes place in an insidious cycle and feeds off the insecurities of both partners. As dramatic displays of love are an integral part of an abusive relationship, most people choose to ignore the signs of abuse. One of the most common forms of abuse perpetrated on women in India is physical abuse, which involves harming your partner physically.
Abuse that involves manipulating and controlling your partner is emotional abuse, which is more subtle and debilitating. For example, a partner who constantly invalidates your feelings and perceptions by twisting the story in their favour. The technical term for this type of manipulation is “Gaslighting”.
Another form of abuse that is predominant in online dating is called “Breadcrumbing”. Here, the abuser makes you question their interest in you by switching between an influx of communication and ghosting.
Most problems in a relationship arise due to miscommunication or lack of it. Unfortunately, couples take conflict as a sign to walk away from their partner. But the trick to making a relationship work is to embrace conflict and have uncomfortable conversations.
Listening is a skill that makes your partner feel heard and is an integral part of the communication flow. Unfortunately, when confronting each other about their problems, couples often get defensive and forget to listen or allow their partner to speak. Instead, they enforce the "silent treatment" or engage in pointless bickering.
Think about all the movies and television shows you have watched. What was the nature of the romantic relationships portrayed in them? Mainstream media glamourises heterosexual relationships with an emotionally tainted, aggressive man and a woman whose sole purpose is to change the person they are interested in.
They have normalised the presence of abuse and manipulation in relationships. The idea that a relationship must complete us stems from these media portrayals. The truth about relationships is that they, like us, are flawed, and we must work to improve them. This means we ought to put time and effort into our relationships too!
There is a common notion that jealousy is a sign of passionate love. But when communicated with respect, it signifies a secure relationship. It is human nature to draw comparisons, as it helps us know where we stand.
When insecurity and jealousy stay repressed, they amplify and result in suspicion. This is the point in a relationship when we question their loyalties and invade their privacy in search of the truth that may not exist.
Boundaries are essential in a relationship. Despite the common belief that couples must do everything together, making time for yourself helps strengthen your relationship. The more you water yourself with positivity, you water your partner with the same! Some believe they must put their partner's needs above their own to ensure relational stability. This behaviour stems from their need to be saved. Conversely, others insist on controlling every aspect of their partner's life.
For most couples, infidelity is the last straw in the relationship. It signifies a breach of trust and a violation of boundaries that is difficult to recover from. Infidelity also elicits feelings of worthlessness, anger, disappointment, and confusion.
Most people cheat because they are dissatisfied with their relationship or cannot stay committed for an extended period. Lack of connection, lying about whereabouts, and getting defensive in conversations may be signs of a cheating partner.
Weathering The Storms In Your Relationship
Love is the most obvious driving force in any relationship. But the combination of love and respect makes for a strong foundation. As relationships are all about giving and receiving, showing your partner the love you feel for them is essential. Every person has a different love language. Some prefer to make significant public displays of love and affection, while others opt for a more mysterious way.
Gifting is a wonderful way to show your partner that you care for them and are thinking about them. We at Heart It Out have just the right quirky and fun self-care products you can give your loved one. If your partner has an artistic personality and loves basking in bursts of creativity or random thoughts and ideas, our pocket notebook and doodle book can be the perfect present for them! Moreover, our pamper her kit is a collection of self-care items curated by our therapists to encourage self-reflection and awareness.
Relationships, at different stages of our lives, teach us important lessons. At some point, they have served their purpose, and this leads to couples parting ways despite having had a relationship. What do you think the measure of a successful relationship is for you—quality or length?
If you are at crossroads in your relationship and want to try to salvage the remnants of your precious bond, you may want to consider couples therapy. Whether you are contemplating a divorce or choosing to move in together, our counsellors are trained experts who can provide you with the support you need. Reach out to our highly-qualified relationship experts today!
Written by Aditi Gopal
Reviewed by Alifiya Faizy & Brencia Daphnie for Heart It OutSeek Support Now