Why are relationships hard? I mean, they usually start off nice and simple — you two go to the movies, you laugh at each other’s jokes, and have a good time. But then things start changing. Complications arise. You have your first fight. Soon, arguments and misunderstandings follow. Sometimes you work things out, sometimes you get hurt.
If this is what it means to have a relationship with someone, why would any sane person want one? It is harder to make sense of the relationship rollercoaster than to ride it. No wonder, so many of us get on the ride and when things get wobbly, our first thought is, “Are relationships supposed to be hard in the beginning?”
Relationships are a lot of work and can be emotionally taxing but they are also rewarding. They provide us with a sense of stability, companionship, and emotional fulfillment. Basically, relationships are weird and hard but worth it. With insights from clinical psychologist Drashti Tolia (MA Clinical Psychology), who specializes in suicide prevention, stress, anxiety, and relationship counseling, let’s try to decode the complex beauty of relationships.
The 9 Hardest Things About Relationships And Why They Can Be Rewarding
I’ve recently read a quote that said, “Relationships are hard because we have to deal with our unfinished business. So don’t expect the relationship to be perfect before you deal with your own nonsense.”
I couldn’t agree more. Our generation seems to have become more cynical in matters of the heart. Most of us don’t believe it when someone tells us they really love us. And I doubt if anyone believes in true selfless love anymore. We are constantly looking for agendas behind every expression of love and affection. It’s no wonder we see relationships more as challenges than gifts.
All our life, we are looking for that special someone who will complete us and make us whole. A connection with a person like that is called twin flame. It’s when you meet the mirror opposite of yourself. Being with them makes you feel as if every act of your life was meant to bring you two together. Sounds surreal, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, even twin flame relationships are hard when clouded with doubts and insecurities.
But hey, love and relationships aren’t meant to be easy. And because it takes so much effort to make a relationship work, when it does finally work, you realize why relationships are hard work but worth it.
Drashti says, “Of course, relationships are complex. That is because life is complex. But with some help, both can become extremely rewarding.” So, if you are wondering, “Are relationships supposed to be hard in the beginning? And do they get any better?”, you might find the answers you need below:
1. Relationships are hard because you have to give up control
In order to have a successful relationship, you have to let go of the need to always be in control. If you’re worried about what others think or put your ego ahead of your partner’s happiness, then you’re not ready for an intimate relationship. For that matter, you’re not even ready to experience all that life has to offer.
At some point, everyone thinks relationships are hard and it is better to live alone– on our terms. But as the great Turtle Master Oogway says, “Control is an illusion.” Relationships that start off difficult and force us to relinquish control, often end up teaching us the essence of life.
Related Reading: Trust Exercises For Couples To Improve Relationships
2. You have to work at making the relationship better
Drashti says, “A successful relationship requires work from both people involved. When one person isn’t putting in the effort, the other might feel resentful and start to pull away from the relationship as well.”
If something is bothering you about your partner, you need to voice those concerns in a respectful manner instead of bottling up negative feelings. For they will come out eventually, in uglier ways. Sure relationships are hard, and you need to keep working on them. But isn’t that true for all worthwhile things in life? And who knows, all that effort might bear fruits you couldn’t have imagined.
3. You have to give without expecting anything in return
When you are in love with someone, you want them to love you back. To be precise, you want to see them loving you back. You might even try to change yourself just to get a sense of approval from your partner. But feelings don’t work like that.
Drashti says, “What most couples do wrong is that they forget their individuality and expect the same of their partner. Two people will always be different, even when they’re in a relationship. Maintaining your individuality is key to giving unselfishly in a relationship.”
To love someone is not about you pleasing them but making them happy. If you set expectations with your efforts to make them happy, it will only worsen the inevitable disappointment.
4. You need to make compromises
Making compromises in a relationship is often necessary, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. In fact, it might just be the hardest thing you’ll ever do. A relationship is all about sharing responsibilities and making sacrifices for one another. The key to making compromises work is to look at them as a means of helping your partner achieve their goals while also achieving yours.
You don’t want to sacrifice things that are important to you, but if your partner is asking for something reasonable, consider going along with it — even if it’s not exactly what you want — with a smile on your face. Life never gives you all that you want. By learning to compromise for your loved ones you are also learning to be at peace with your life.
Related Reading: 12 Things You Should Never Compromise On In A Relationship
5. You need to figure out the balance of romance
When they’re swept by the first wave of disagreements and differences, a lot of couples wonder, “Are relationships supposed to be hard in the beginning?” It’s an understandable doubt. A new person has come into your life and become so important. On top of that, you are supposed to make them feel loved. But different individuals have different romantic needs.
You have to balance each other’s needs for emotional closeness and physical intimacy. People who don’t know how to make that happen simultaneously feel relationships are hard. Trying to mimic fictional romance in real life only makes the matter worse.
Relationships are harder now that we have so much content available on romance. It creates unrealistic expectations and can throw your unique romantic dynamic off balance. You need to understand what works for you and your partner. Only then will you be able to achieve romantic harmony in the relationship.
Related Reading: 10 Tips To Develop Emotional Intimacy In A Marriage
6. You need to get over your deepest hurts
In a relationship, people often hold grudges over past wrongs done by their partner instead of forgiving them and moving on. If you think forgiving is easier said than done, especially in matters of love, I agree with you.
The closer you are to someone, the more their actions can hurt you. It’s probably why twin flame relationships are hard. It’s not easy to get over the pain suffered in a relationship. But get over it, you must. Not just because it is necessary for a relationship to progress but also because it is necessary for you to move ahead in life. Of all the things you will learn in a relationship, letting go of grudges is perhaps the most important lesson.
7. You need to be patient
Drashti observes, “In the initial stages of a relationship, the two people are so much into each other that they overlook all personal flaws. But as time passes, they start noticing each other’s faults more and more. Relationships are harder now when the novelty of romance has worn off. This is the juncture where relationships truly succeed or fail.”
We all have our faults. Our bad habits and annoying quirks. Accepting those and sticking with the person through the thick and thin is what love and patience are all about. No one is perfect and we all make mistakes. Focus on your partner’s positive qualities instead of dwelling on the negative ones. If you can see past their imperfections and love them for who they truly are, you have found the love of your life.
8. You need to appreciate each other
Time has a strange way of making things seem less special than they really are. After you’ve been together for a while, you start to take each other for granted. Relationships that start off difficult get to this stage pretty early. Sometimes you forget how important your partner is to you. Then, perhaps, something happens that reminds you how much you need them in your life. Or, perhaps, the reminder comes a little too late.
This is why it’s important to tell your partner how much you appreciate them every once in a while. It’s easy to get caught up in our routine. It’s difficult to see beyond the ordinariness of that routine and appreciate the extraordinary. Like relationships. Like Life.
9. You need communication unlike ever before
Nothing kills a relationship faster than a lack of communication and transparency. Communication skills are vital in strengthening your relationship and deepening the connection with your partner.
Take the example of long-distance relationships. Often people struggle to cope with them and feel that long-distance relationships are hard. But if you look closely, the challenges lie not just in the lack of proximity but also the lack of adequate communication. Drashti shares the one practical golden rule all her clients are made to follow: “Make honest communication a daily ritual.
“It is the only way to explain how you’re feeling, what you want or what is the problem. Many times people want their partners to just intuitively know how they’re feeling but that’s not always possible. You would be surprised at how many problems can be avoided in relationships, or any social interaction for that matter, through simple communication.”
There are few areas of our lives where we have a greater capacity to grow and learn than in our relationships. This can be exciting and occasionally daunting, but it’s always an opportunity to become a better person. Relationships are hard work but worth it. Because the more you put into them, the more you get out of them.
You might not find the solution right away, but as long as you don’t throw in the towel, you’re sure to make progress. So, next time you find yourself thinking, “Why are relationships hard?”, remind yourself, relationships are hard because they are worthwhile.