image of a couple to conceptualize the notion that relationships are hard

Real talk: relationships are hard. One myth that needs to be debunked about relationships is that if it’s right, it should be easy and smooth all the time. The romanticized idea that relationships are all chocolates, gifts, and roses is outdated, and quite frankly isn’t based in reality. This take on relationships is not setting us up for success. Relationships are hard, painful, and sometimes disappointing. Relationships can be this way because life can be this way. When we are blending two individuals, thoughts, feelings, values, and ways of life into one relationship, of course, it’s going to be difficult at times.

So, yes, relationships are hard. Read on to find out three ways that relationships can be a healthy kind of hard.

Communication. Each of us grows up with a different example of what communication looks like. Our family of origin and/or our caretakers growing up influence the way we receive and provide information. There are too many factors that go into communication styles for you and your partner to automatically be on the same page. Communicating with your partner at times can be hard; maybe you’re an over analyzer, maybe they’re an oversharer, maybe you pull back, maybe they run towards and want to talk about the issues right away. Even just how often you communicate within a relationship can be different from person to person. Some people want texts or phone calls daily and some people are fine just checking in with their partner at the end of the week. Blending different communication styles are one way that relationships are hard.

Quality time. How often and for how long we expect to see our partner can vary dependent on our own personal needs of quality time. Maybe your partner is more introverted and prefers more time on their own to recharge. This doesn’t mean that they don’t want to spend time with you more often, but in their world, spending time by themselves is important for maintaining their sense of self and balance. Maybe your partner wants to see you all the time. Maybe they’re the type of person who wants to share space with their partner as much as they can. It’s important to remember that there’s no “right or wrong” amount of time to want to spend with your partner. Figuring out what quality time looks like for both persons within a relationship is important and can be hard.

Sex. No pun intended, but having a different sexual drive and desire from your partner can be hard. How much time is spent cuddling, kissing, fooling around, and having sex is depending on the individual and their needs. There is no ‘right’ sex drive. It can be difficult when your sexual needs and your partner’s do not match up. This requires extra communication (our first health hard) and patience to really understand your partner’s desires.

Relationships are hard and that’s normal. It’s important to remember that you both lived completely separate lives before meeting. You have different ways of viewing relationships, passions & values. There is bound to be some friction as you start blending lives.

As always, if you’d like some help navigating the more difficult parts of a relationship, a relationship coach might be a great fit. Please don’t hesitate to reach out – you don’t have to do this alone.