9 Reasons Relationships Are Hard But Worth It

Love and Romance | | , Copywriter & Editor
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Reasons to stay in a relationship

Why are relationships so hard? I mean, romantic relationships usually start off nice and simple — you two go to the movies, you laugh at each other’s jokes, and have a good time with each other. But then slowly, things start changing. Complications arise. You have your first fight. Soon, arguments and misunderstandings follow and so many issues inevitably surface. Sometimes you work things out, and sometimes when trouble ensues, you just get hurt.

If this is what it means to have a relationship with someone, why would any sane person want to be in 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 romantic relationships supposed to be hard in the beginning?”

Relationships are a lot of work and can be emotionally taxing. However if you put in the work and work out the underlying dynamics, they are also rewarding. They provide us with a sense of stability, companionship, and emotional fulfillment. So yes, 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 today.

The 9 Hardest Things About Relationships

Why are relationships so stressful? Why are relationship troubles such a menace to cope with?

These are questions that can make you want to give up altogether. Once the era of fabulous first dates ends, people’s emotional needs start surfacing to the top. That’s when you understand how to practice mature love. I 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 first.”

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 hardly 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. It’s possible that because of past relationship, past traumas, and emotional baggage, one might lose faith in the concept itself. But for how long can one really shake off their desire for more intimacy in their life?

All our lives, we are looking for that special someone who will complete us and make us whole. A connection with a person like that is called a 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. In short, all relationships are tough.

But hey, love and romantic relationships aren’t meant to be easy. It takes time to figure out and cater to each other’s emotional needs. 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.

Related Reading: Trust Exercises For Couples To Improve Relationships

Drashti says, “Of course, dating is complex and feels even more difficult when you are not getting what you need in a relationship. That is because life itself is complex and relationships get more challenging after the initial stages. But with some help, both can prove to be 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. Here are a few essential things to keep in mind:

1. Relationships are hard because you have to give up control

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. As you can see, relationships can allow for a lot of self-reflection.

At some point, everyone thinks relationships are hard and it is better to live alone on their terms. But as the great Turtle Master Oogway told us, we need to let go of the illusion of control. Relationships that start off difficult and force us to relinquish control, often end up teaching us the essence of life.

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.” Here’s what you need to do:

  • Voicing your concerns: 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
  • Working through different communication styles: There is no formula to a healthy relationship, it is something couples figure out over time. You need to dig deep and understand each other’s different communication styles to understand the other person better
  • Being forgiving: We know that past traumas, past experiences, and unhealed issues can make you a little less forgiving. But if you want to be happy in a relationship, you need to forgive your partner instead of holding into issues. Sometimes, that means dropping your own ego

You may ask, why are relationships so hard? But isn’t that true for all worthwhile things in life? They take time and loads of extra effort. And who knows, all that effort might bear fruits you couldn’t have imagined.

Related Reading: What Is Forgiveness In Relationships And Why Is It Important

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 lasting 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 unrealistic expectations with your efforts to make them happy, it will only worsen the inevitable disappointment.

4. You need to make compromises

The moments in which you realize that you need to make a big compromise is when relationships get hard. However, in healthy relationships, romantic partners have cracked the code to making space for their other half in their lives, which means making necessary compromises at times.

Making compromises in a marriage or 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.

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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. That is one way to attain a perfect relationship.

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 concern. 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. Try this:

  • The balancing act: You have to balance each other’s needs for emotional intimacy and physical intimacy. People who don’t know how to make that happen simultaneously feel relationships are hard. Also, trying to mimic fictional romance in real life makes matter worse
  • Throw away unrealistic expectations: 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 for a long-term relationship

Related Reading: 10 Tips To Develop Emotional Intimacy In A Marriage

6. You need to get over your deepest hurts

You might have asked yourself in despair, “Am I too difficult to be in a relationship?” Well, you may be causing a bit of conflict and difficulty in your paradise if you are still holding onto certain unresolved issues from your past. Perhaps you were in an abusive relationship earlier, have suffered childhood abuse from your family, and your past experiences are making you so unforgiving in your current bond. In that case, take our relationship advice.

In a relationship, people often hold grudges over past wrongs done by their partner instead of forgiving and forgetting about it. If you think forgiving is easier said than done, especially in matters of love, I agree with you. Especially when you are dealing with your personal unhealed issues.

You might ask us, “But why are relationships so hard, harder than friendships sometimes?” It’s because 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 you need to know for your own personal growth and to have a strong relationship.

7. You need to be patient

Drashti observes, “In the initial stages of a relationship or the honeymoon period, the two people are so 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 when the romance fizzles out and reality sets in. This is the juncture where your bond truly succeeds or fail. These are the realities of relationships which you must accept.”

We all have our bad habits and annoying quirks. Accepting those and sticking with the person through 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 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. Here’s what we suggest:

  • Tell them verbally: This is why it’s important to tell your partner regularly how much you value them, lest they feel unappreciated. 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
  • Acts of service: How to work on a relationship? Showing appreciation can also be in the little things you do for your partner. Cook them a meal, grab them dessert on the way home, or just restock their fridge sometimes to show them how much you care

9. You need open communication unlike ever before

Nothing kills a relationship faster than a lack of communication and transparency. Communication skills are vital because:

  • They strengthen your relationship and deepen the connection with your partner
  • They help you understand and attune yourself to each other’s unique communication styles
  • They save LDRs. People often struggle to cope in long-distance relationships and feel that they are too hard. But the challenges lie not just in the lack of proximity but also in the lack of adequate communication between the couple

Related Reading: 9 Signs You Have Serious Communication Issues In Your Relationship

Drashti shares the one practical golden rule all her clients are made to follow: “Make honest communication a daily ritual.” She gives more insights:

  • Communication 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 in your current relationship

How To Navigate Relationship Challenges?

Even when you are in the hardest year of a relationship, you have reason to stay on, practice healthy conflict management, and arrive at the same page. In the beginning, when everything appears rosy, your biggest relationship challenge is not being able to make enough time for each other. But now, you have all the time, yet you are always snapping at one another or storming into the other room.

When love is not enough in a relationship and things start to get really rough, here is how you can continue rowing the boat:

1. Develop your unique conflict management style

According to the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument, there are five styles of conflict management. These are accommodating, avoiding, compromising, collaborating, and competing. Among the five, the collaborative style is the most popular and successful. As a couple, you need to identify how you two manage conflict, when dealing with other relationship troubles.

Then based on your personality type, you must try to cultivate the right way you two can manage relationship arguments and cultivate emotional well-being for both of you.

2. Create romantic moments consciously

If on most Friday evenings, you two are just watching TV without talking to each other, something clearly needs to change here. One of the reasons why relationships fall apart is because the couple stops working on keeping the spark alive. And that happens more often than you think. At first, you saw your partner as an attractive person whom you wanted badly. Now, you take them for granted and couldn’t care less about taking them on a dinner date.

It’s time to turn things around completely. Here’s how:

  • Try to pretend like you are in a new relationship again!
  • Stop comparing stuff to things you see in other relationships
  • Create romantic moments with your partner and work on your own relationship by putting in that extra effort
  • Find ways to make your partner happy. Buy them a new outfit, take them to a movie — do these little things to keep the romance going

3. Have clear boundaries

A lot of times relationships get messy when couples lose sight of themselves, and end up being nothing more than the relationship itself. It is easy to let yourself be consumed in a relationship and forget who you are. This happens slowly and leaves a deep scar. So while it is important to put your best foot forward for your partner, have romantic moments, and support them like there is no tomorrow — you must practice the same love toward yourself. You need more self-romance too.

You can absolutely love yourself in a relationship. If you want to have a baggage-free relationship, you need to work on yourself as much as you work on your mutual dynamic. And that starts with boundaries. Say yes to invitations and don’t always take your partner with you. Cook by yourself. Eat by yourself sometimes, and learn to enjoy it. Have your own life outside of your significant other.

4. Focus on what’s important during survival situations

So, too many disagreements have crept in and your relationship is hanging off a cliff. You don’t know what to do from here and your survival instincts are kicking in. You feel the need to run away and can’t think of any healthy ways of resolving these issues. Wanting to flee at the sight of danger is one of the reasons why relationships end so quickly. Your survival instincts lead you to think that there is a better life out there and you need to run.

But while that may be true in some cases, you should take more time to evaluate instead of being rash. Stay calm and ask yourself why you’ve stayed in this relationship for so long. You two have common interests, have cultivated a family culture, and are attuned to each other’s attachment styles. Is it worth leaving all that over an argument you can’t resolve right now?

Key Pointers

  • Relationships are hard work, but they are beautiful too
  • You must learn how to compromise, give up your ego, listen to each other, and forgive if you want a healthy, long-lasting bond
  • Having a strong relationship means practicing constant communication and developing a conflict management style
  • Even when things feel boring and mundane, you need to spice them up by putting extra effort in the relationship in the form of surprise dates and gifts
  • Try to appreciate your partner by thanking them often for all that they do for you

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 relationships serve a lot of needs in your life. 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 so hard?”, remind yourself this: Lasting relationships are hard because they are worthwhile.

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