Bitterness imprisons life, love releases it – Harry Emerson Fosdick
Love is supposed to make us happy, make us heal and give meaning to our lives but what happens when bitterness creeps into love? Undoubtedly, you have been in a happy relationship for a long time. The early spark that served to make your initial years hot and spicy together, has died down, but isn’t that what happens in all relationships?
Yes, it can be obvious in most of the scenarios. Your partner might have some annoying habits that they do not seem to even realize that it irritates you.
But hey! It is just a part of being a couple.
6 Ways Bitterness Creeps Into Your Loving Relationship
While all relationships are a balance of good and less-than-perfect moments, let us examine six reasons that may bring bitterness into a lovely relationship. With the help of these six key relationship points that can bring down an otherwise happy relationship, you should make sure that you identify and manage them before things become worse and you cannot turn the relationship around.
In this article, we will also highlight a few points that need to be kept in mind to establish a healthy relationship with your better half. Moreover, we will also discuss a few interesting facts to know about relationships.
1. Lack of emotional intimacy
Sometimes in the exciting, sex-filled days of an early relationship, you rarely realize that emotional intimacy is lacking between you and your new partner. This is normal, because emotional intimacy takes time to build, much like a deep friendship.
Emotional intimacy does not happen overnight; it is the result of sharing your true selves. Your relationship may last a while before you notice the lack of emotional intimacy because, in the first year, you are distracted by all the great discoveries you are making about your beloved.
Everything looks rosy when you are having great sex, right?
But as time goes on, you start to become aware that you do not communicate that well. Maybe he is not open to the kind of growth you would like to see in the relationship. Perhaps he is incapable of emotional intimacy. You continue to try and have in-depth conversations, but he isn’t interested. You start to resent this one-way situation, and bitterness takes hold.
This means it is time to evaluate the relationship and make the decision to stay and accept things as they are, or leave and find someone who can build the kind of emotional intimacy you need to feel in a long-term relationship.
Read here about the different types of intimacy that are essential for a relationship.
2. Lack of sex, or lack of sexual chemistry
Most relationships begin with a healthy dose of playful, eagerly-anticipated sex. According to an adage for your first year of marriage, place a penny in a jar each time you have sex. After the first year, take out a penny each time you have sex. You will never empty the jar.
Yes, that is a bit of a harsh view of how sex can drop off with time, but if you are in a relationship that is suffering due to lack of sex, it is obvious that bitterness can ensue. Sex is the glue that keeps couples close and bonded. If there is an unequal desire for physical intimacy, resentment will build.
Many formerly married people, when asked what led to the divorce, came up with the fact that they never had sex anymore. If this is something that is happening to your relationship, you must communicate with your partner to find out what is behind their non-interest in the sexual part of your relationship. From there, you can take action.
3. Communication difficulties
Without proper communication, bitterness can even creep into the most lovely relationships. Do your attempts to have a productive conversation in a relationship escalate to all-out fights? Does your partner shut down when you try to resolve some issues you are facing? Does he walk out of the room, refusing to enter into an adult discussion?
If this is the case, you might wish to work with a marriage counsellor on best practices for couples’ communication.
4. Compatibility issues
Sometimes in long-term relationships, it becomes apparent that the two people have taken divergent paths. Maybe one is more career-driven than the other. Perhaps they have completely different attitudes towards money; one is a spender and the other may be a saver. Possibly their religious differences, that didn’t matter when they married are causing friction now that they are raising children together.
Whatever the reasons, things have changed. Incompatibility breeds bitterness, which can be a reason to end the relationship.
Check out what Bonobology counsellor and renowned Psychologist Deepak Kashyap have to say about compatibility in relationships.
5. Harmful relationship-impacting addictions
Over the life cycle of a relationship, a person might develop an addiction that impacts not only themselves but their partner too. Habits such as online shopping, alcohol or substance abuse, pornography addiction, gambling, compulsive overeating can also provoke a feeling of bitterness by the partner having to witness this toxic behaviour.
At the root of these addictions, there is something that needs to be addressed. If the addicted person is willing to work on the problem, it means there is hope for the relationship to continue.
6. Growing apart, routine and boredom
If a couple isn’t making their relationship a priority, it is too easy to grow apart over time. Happy couples know that a relationship is not a static entity. It is a living being that needs tending and nurturing.
They check in with each other and take the temperature of the relationship before things like bitterness set in to undermine their partnership. They are mindful not to let boredom routine take over. They change things, whether it is how they spend their leisure time together, or how they connect intimately. They set goals and work towards them together.
At the same time, couples allow breathing space into the relationship because they know that to experience personal growth for each person, they need their own space.
If you feel that your relationship is getting bitter by the day, try to see whether these factors are affecting your love life. If things are serious then, by all means, get help but don’t let go easily.