According to government statistics, there were 813,862 divorces for 2,140,272 marriages in 2014. This doesn’t look too good for testifying of how good long-term relationships go. However, there is also a multitude of stories from couples that spend decades together and remain happy and in love (Huffington Post). They tell us of understanding and mutual support in the face of any struggle. But what is the truth about long-term relationship problems and why some people can overcome them while others obviously fail?
To answer that one needs to consider the changes that occur in the relationships and the issues that come to the forefront over time. In the end, the ability of a relationship to persevere through struggle is determined by whether you’ve chosen the right partner for you.
3 Long-Term Relationship Problems No One Tells You About
1. Ineffective communication
The lack of or inefficiency of communication between partners is the main ‘relationship killer’. Everyone knows about this problem, yet many people don’t understand how to identify and deal with it.
Aside from the obvious ‘not talking out your problems’ the main problem with ineffective communication is contempt. It’s natural that a relationship where one partner openly expresses contempt towards the other cannot work out. It also might be considered abusive in certain situations.
However, there’s also an issue of ‘indirect contempt’. It’s expressed through scandals and criticism and essentially boils down to a person focusing on the person instead of an issue. When you’re having this relationship problem, your partner will make every conflict personal and criticize you instead of trying to actually find a solution, says Dr. John Gottman. The only solution to this problem is for both partners to recognize the issue and start working on improving their communication skills.
2. Sex becoming dull
When you are just starting a relationship, everything including sex if new and exciting. However, to keep that passion burning long-term, you’ll have to work for it. There are also physiological issues to be considered, such as erectile dysfunction that occurs in 50% of men over 40 and vaginal dysfunction that often occurs in women after menopause.
The good news is that all these problems can be solved. You can keep your sex life exciting by experimenting. Erexa-tropin and various aphrodisiac foods like oysters can help manage erectile dysfunction in men. Estrogen creams and other special foods, like dark chocolate and peaches can help women maintain their libido and sexual health.
However, like it is with all long-term relationship problems, your ability to solve them depends on whether you and your partner are willing to work on them together.
3. ‘Bad’ compromises
There’s a great article posted on CNN that tells a story of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ compromises in a relationship. To put it simply, ‘bad’ compromises are the ones where one of the partners has to sacrifice a part of themselves unequally. Disney offers a great example of a ‘bad’ compromise relationship that has no chance of working out long-term in Little Mermaid. In this story, Ariel basically gives up her entire existence and even biological nature for a guy who can’t decide between her and another girl he’s met a day ago.
Ariel might be happy with her ‘victory’ now. But when twenty years go by, that ‘giving up one’s entire life’ might be a different story. Many abusive relationships start out with restrictions one partner sets the other. For example, ‘don’t go out with your colleagues after work as I feel jealous’ or ‘stop going to that dancing class because I don’t want you to dance with girls other than me’ are all bad compromises that ruin relationships and might herald serious problems in the future.
A long-term relationship can work and bring you happiness. But this will happen only when both of you invest in it equally and aren’t afraid of challenges.