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Common Relationship Busters October 27, 2009

Posted by Damon Taylor in Relationships.
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Photo by Bridal Fitting

We all know that relationships are extremely hard work, and most of us, at some point in time have experienced a relationship breakdown. Experiencing various relationships can provide you with many learning curves for future relationships and with learning come knowledge. Things that may have not previously worked can be re-assessed in present and future relationships, thus giving you an upper hand in managing relationship issues, or better yet – preventing these issues from developing. Relationships are vastly different from on another, and often incorporate various dynamics, however despite this difference; most people identify consistent and similar factors that often contribute in relationship breakdowns.

Different morals/values: Most of us are extremely accommodating during the first few months of a relationship. We go through the honeymoon phase, whereby we perceive our partners to be perfect in every way. Eventually, the little idiosyncrasies emerge, and we slowly begin to see the real picture. Having different morals or values to that of our partner play an integral part in how the relationship is perceived by one another, and how decisions regarding the relationship are made. Our morals and values are derived from our belief systems, and often we will see values and morals emerge to reflect what we believe in. Being with someone who shares vastly different value sets and beliefs, can result in tension and anxiety when making important decisions. For instance, there are some people who do not believe in having a sexual relationship prior to marriage, and if they enter a relationship whereby their partner does not share this view point, then serious issues can develop, and often, this can lead to the relationship breaking down.

Marriage – Marriage is an important milestone in life, and most people see themselves settling down and getting married at some point in their life. Unfortunately, when two people have different perceptions of marriage, or when one partner in the relationship does not wish to get married, this can result in serious issues. It’s important to be honest with what you want in a relationship, and at times, this means re-assessing the relationship you are in. Some people discover that differences exist between themselves and their partner when it comes to marriage, and often, are faced with having to make a decision to either continue with the relationship, or to end it. Whilst marriage is perceived to be a normal part of life, today more people are making the decision not to marry, and at times, this comes as a surprise to the partner who expected to get married. Marriage is an important part of life, and it is equally important for couples to discuss this decision early in the relationship to ensure that both parties share the same value.

Unplanned pregnancy: Having a child unexpectedly enter into couple-dom would significantly impact upon the relationship. This is pretty obvious, and whilst some couples will maintain a positive outlook when faced with an unaccepted pregnancy, others can see pregnancy as a complete disaster. When in a committed and happy relationship, the concept of having children often presents as a difficult decision alone, after all, it is a life changing event and requires various adjustments to routines and life itself. Pregnancy in a relationship that is either relatively new, or packed full of issues, can be the catalyst to the relationship breaking down. Often we see this occurring when one partners, often the mother-to-be, wanting to keep the baby whilst the father-to-be refuses to accept the pregnancy. The mother is pressured to terminate the pregnancy, and in the end, may choose to end the relationship so that she can keep the baby without the father’s input. On the other hand, the father may choose to leave, wanting nothing further to do with the relationship and the responsibilities attached. Stereotypically, this is what we often see; however there are occasions whereby the father embraces the pregnancy whilst the mother refuses to keep the baby. Whether it is the mother or the father that refuses to accept the pregnancy, most often, the relationship will either end abruptly or eventually deteriorate following this experience. Having a child is a decision that needs to be made by both partners, and the decision, whether pro baby or not, need to be agreed upon by both partners for the relationship to continue to flourish.

Lack of trust: We all know that trust is something that is earned, and for some, this takes a considerable amount of work. Trust is one component of a successful relationship, amongst other things. Relationships built on trust result in a sense of security and wellbeing between partners, however when trust fails to exist, we see many issues emerge. Relationships that contain minimal trust are extremely hard to maintain, after all, how can you feel secure and protected when you fail to trust the very person with whom you are meant to feel a partnership with. Couples who don’t trust one another often find themselves having constant arguments about various topics, whether it be about one another’s fidelity, how much money is being spent, or what the other is actually really doing in their spare time, trust is vital to ensuring a successful relationship.

Infidelity: Some would argue that humans are truly not meant to be monogamous and that society has constructed this ideology of human beings finding a partner for life, and remaining with this person for the rest of their life despite our underlying animalistic needs. This is one way to look at human behaviour, however despite this notion of humans being unable to maintain a monogamous relationship, people today still strongly believe in the system of monogamy. This belief is evident within the expectations we hold in relationships, whereby partners are expected to remain faithful to one another, to avoid the temptations of being with other people, and instead, to support and care for one another. Many relationships break down daily due to infidelity between couples. Whether it is one partner, or both, the feeling of betrayal almost always results in the relationship ending. There are the rare occasions whereby couples choose to work through the infidelity in an attempt to make the relationship work, however in most cases, the lack of trust alone results in the relationship breaking down. The old saying, “once a cheater always a cheater” often perpetuates in the mind of the partner who has been betrayed, which ultimately results in the person reliving the feelings associated with the betrayal to begin with. Whilst some people can move on following the deceit, most people often find that with time, the relationship would deteriorate. At the end of the day, the decision to continue with the relationship depends on various factors. Some couples attempt to restore the relationship if they are married and have children, others may have married young, and therefore perceive the infidelity to be no more that curiosity – the need for sexual experience with someone else; and lastly, some people simply choose to end the relationship and start fresh.

Domestic violence: We see many advertisements pertaining to domestic violence, and there are enough facts and information available for most people to understand that it’s not on. Typically, we see women as being the victims of domestic violence; however, men too experience domestic violence. Whether someone is being abused physically, psychologically or emotionally, domestic violence is definitely a relationship buster. Unfortunately, we often see the victim falling into the cycle of abuse, and failing to recognize their situation for some time before the relationship ends. Relationships that include violence, fear, apprehension, and insecurity to name a few are definitely not regarded as healthy, and should be scrutinized completely to ascertain what aspects of the relationship need to be worked on, or whether the relationship can work at all. Counseling is always recommended, for both victim and offender as both parties need to understand how the relationship has come to include violence and inappropriate behaviours, and to also understand the causes behind the behaviours of both parties.

In-Law issues: We all know that getting along with the in-laws can be difficult at times. There are the moments whereby we cringe following certain comments made, or roll our eyes at certain behaviours. Despite our differences however, many couples learn to accept their in-laws for who they are and put up with the little idiosyncrasies. In TV shows like Everybody Loves Raymond, we see couples experience difficulties in accepting the in-laws and how this impacts on the relationship as a whole. We also see the real life experiences amongst friends and families who despise their in-laws and cannot accept them enough to accommodate them for their partners. Issues involving in-laws often result in arguments and disagreements occurring between couples. We often see one person or both in the relationship taking offence to comments or opinions made by their partner in regards to their family, often leading to disputes and further put downs by both partners, most often, each attempting to find fault with the other’s family. Whether we have an annoying mother in law who just doesn’t know when to stop or a father in law that knows everything, from being a mechanic to a rocket scientist, disliking your partner’s family will most definitely result in arguments and disagreements.

Distance: Does it make the heart grow fonder? So we have all heard the saying that distance makes your heart grow fonder, but does it really? Being apart from your partner for a considerable amount of time can significantly impact on the relationship. Whilst it is noted that there are many couples, married or not, who maintain long distance relationships, and do it successfully, often long durations of time apart will not make the heart grow fonder. Being in a relationship entails spending time with one another, growing together and learning to accommodate the behaviours, values and beliefs of one another. When couples maintain long distance relationships, they fail to experience these small but important aspects of a relationship. People change over time, whether we meet new people, develop new friends or get a new job, all of the roles we play in life assist us to shape and re-model who we are. We as individuals are not stagnant creatures, for we are forever evolving and changing. This concept appears to be relatively simple to comprehend, but in situations whereby couples live apart or maintain distance relationships, it can become extremely difficult to accommodate these changes. For instance, if you were to see your partner every couple of months, or every six months, you may encounter someone different every time. For all you know, your partner may have developed a new friendship group and joined a band, next thing you know, he’s is literally rocking up to your place in heavy metal gear whilst brandishing a guitar. People change, and when you are sharing your life with someone, you too become part of that change, and often, fail to even notice that is occurring. Despite the difficulties in maintaining a long distance relationship, it needs to be acknowledged that there are couples who do maintain great relationships despite the distance.

Substance abuse/addictions: Relationships whereby one partner, or sometimes both engage in substance abuse can lead to a number of issues, some of which can be significant. Substance abuse, whether it is drugs or alcohol, often alters our state of mind and our ability to rationalize and understand what is going on around us. We often see people become erratic in their behaviours, and unable to gage what is going on around them, then to become frustrated and at times aggressive and violent. Substance abuse and misuse is definitely a relationship buster, especially when one partner is engaging in the misuse, and inflicting pain and hardship on the other. In some situations, substance abuse can also lead to domestic violence, which can almost always result in a relationship bust up. People who engage in substance abuse often will need counseling and rehabilitation to assist them in recognizing the addiction, and the impacts that the addiction has on their behaviour. In addition, therapeutic intervention can also assist the person to understand how their behaviours impacts on the life of their partner. Without effective intervention or treatments, substance abuse or misuse in relationships almost always results in the relationship breaking down.

Lack of communication: So we know that men are from Mars and women are from Venus, and we know that women naturally talk more than men, and at times, getting a man to talk is equivalent to drawing blood from stone. So we know all of this, yet many relationships break down as a result of a lack of communication. Why? Communicating with your partner is vital to understanding one another. Being in a safe and committed relationship means being able to express yourself frequently without fear of judgment from your partner. Relationships whereby partners fail to talk to one another, or share their feelings, ambitions and desires often become boring, stale and to a point sterile. After all, if you can’t tell the person you love your deepest and darkest thoughts, you can you tell? Being able to talk to one another is vital to ensuring one another’s wellbeing. Sometimes it’s simply about venting or getting things off our chest, and other times, it’s about getting the opinion or advice from someone you trust and value. Whilst talking is important, listening is also equally important. Listening to your partner means taking the time to stop what you are doing, and actually listen and understand what they are saying, even if you think it’s not very important. Communicating effectively with your partner enables you to understand where they are going, what they are thinking and to share advice and stories. Couples who fail to communicate, and who attempt to live together physically, but fail to cross into the life of their partner, will often find that the relationship will become boring, stale and sterile, the very ingredients needed for a relationship bust up.

Yes, relationships are extremely hard work, and sometimes, no amount of effort or work will maintain a relationship. Most of us will at some point in time experience heart break from a relationship breakdown, even if we have made all attempts to make it work, and whilst the experience is difficult, we can safely say that we gave it a go, and it simply wasn’t meant to be.

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