Jealousy, money, the need for space and excessive use of the Internet are just a few things that can cause relationship strife.
Relationships are changing faster than ever before — and so are the triggers for break-ups , says UK based counsellor Andrew Marshall. New issues not even dreamt about 20 years ago, such as chatroom romances and online pornography, have risen to prominence. Here is the authoritative guide to what’s going up and what’s going down in the argument charts — and how to stop your relationship being derailed:
1. Low expectations
We expect relationships to fail. The “all men are jerks” mind set and “all women are bunny boilers” mentality has spread from being a joke with our mates into a self-fulfilling prophecy. We wait for our new boyfriend or girlfriend to trip up and then zoom in on their mistakes. Today’s couples think they are being realistic, but often this is just cynicism in disguise. Twenty years ago, couples saw marriage as an end in itself and were prepared to compromise to sustain their relationship. Therefore, they were more trusting and ready to give their partner the benefit of the doubt.
When people ask how many of my clients’ relationships are beyond help, my answer always surprises them: less than five percent. I believe that we make fundamentally good choices. So why so much divorce and misery? Everybody’s childhood leaves them with relationship dilemmas inherited from watching their parents’ marriage. It might be ‘not showing feelings’, ‘how to cope with unfaithfulness’ ‘temper tantrums’ or ‘attitudes to loss’ — the list in endless. We are drawn to people not just because of their great sense of humour or looks, as we imagine, but because they have similar problems to our own.
2. Work/life balance
Today we are working longer hours, doing more shift work, commuting further and therefore spending less time together than twenty years ago. When we’re tired, communication is cut down to the bare essentials (‘What time will you be back?’) as you cross paths in the kitchen. Although this shorthand is very efficient, there is no time to explain the complexity of our feelings. Into the gap leap all sorts of assumptions and misunderstandings. For example Rahul, a forty year-old chartered accountant, did not realise the importance of attending his partner’s company social. He did not understand why she was so huffy the next morning and just put the atmosphere down to a hangover but was in too much of a hurry to ask. In the past, couples would stay up half the night fighting, and probably solve the argument; today they are too aware of that early meeting to want to waste precious sleep time. Instead we complain that our partner never listens.
Invest in your relationship by setting aside ‘sacred time’ that belongs to just the two of you. For example: make Thursday night your date night — even if you can’t go out, spend the time talking, listening to music or making love. Many couples in therapy find they benefit most from the concentrated, quality time they spend together, rather than the counselling. Secondly, don’t make assumptions but check out your hunches.
Stories of celebrity infidelity and the divorces of supposedly ideal couples (like Jennifer and Brad) reinforce just how many people stray. Twenty years ago, we had a much clearer idea of right and wrong. But what constitutes being unfaithful today? Is it looking too long at a pretty face in the street? What about a long lunch with an admirer that you don’t tell your partner about? Is it ok if you stop at just a kiss?
article source: timesofindia