When two people first get together it can be a very exciting time for both as they look forward to building a relationship and making a new life together. However, things do not always go according to plan and can begin to fall apart despite the best intentions of both parties involved. Staying together for the long haul and learning to accept each other’s differences and faults, and making compromises along the way can be very challenging and not easy to do. This requires commitment, a lot of effort and time so can feel like ‘hard work’ especially with the demands and heightened pressure(s) of present day living. Also, unlike in the past, couples no longer feel forced to stay together because of the many choices available today. For many, the preference is to part ways and perhaps start a new life on their own or with someone new rather than try and salvage a relationship they feel has now come to an end.
It is estimated that one in three marriages ends in divorce with some lasting only a few years before deciding to call it a day. Breaking up is even more common amongst unmarried couples because they do not feel there is anything concrete holding them together. If there are children involved, this can often force a couple who intend to separate to stay together, and in some cases they are eventually able to reconcile their differences and make the relationship work. However, for those who are not able to do so, staying together just ‘for the sake of the children’ places even more strain on the relationship leading to further discontent and frustration for both.
Some common causes of problems within a relationship are:
Having some counselling or psychotherapy (for deep seated difficulties) can help you to deal with problems within your relationship. It can help to process feelings and thoughts, and make sense of the challenging aspects of the relationship. In addition, it can help to gain further insight into your specific choice of partner especially if there appears to be a tendency in always choosing someone incompatible or emotionally unavailable. Sigmund Freud, the Austrian Neurologist and founder of Psychoanalysis, termed this as ‘the compulsion to repeat’ – the need to continue repeating patterns of behaviour we are most comfortable with because this feels less threatening to us. Earlier disappointments in life are ‘unconsciously’ and repetitively played out in the present thereby impacting present relationships and choices. Having a better understanding of your feelings and thoughts can help towards resolving conflicts and difficulties within your relationship, and also help you when it comes to choosing the right partner.
“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” – Carl Jung