Problems in a relationship? Perhaps those magical feelings of lust and love are just not as powerful as they once were? Then it’s time for action! You might not realise it, but you could be committing relationship suicide. Luckily match.com’s dating expert Kate Taylor is here to show you how relationship problems can be resolved with some simple advice.
The easiest way to kill a great relationship is by overdose – of love, attention, compliments, gifts or demands for time together. Whilst it’s gratifying to know that your partner dotes on you, it’s sometimes possible to take this attention for granted. Consequently, we tend to put our other halves on the back-burner while we casually keep an eye out for other prospective partners, a huge sign that your relationship has problems.
When we’re young we tend to experience barriers that stop us from jumping feet-first into a relationship, for example, parents who don’t let us go out on dates or a move away from home to university. But as we get older and gain control of our time, it’s easy to immerse ourselves in our partners and this is where problems in a relationship can often start.
Give your relationships time and space to grow; relationship problems often stem from giving too much, too soon. Don’t send 20 texts a day or answer every email within the hour. Never give up things you love in order to spend time with someone new. And never demand your partner spends more time with you. This will create even more problems in your relationship. Instead, develop a full and wonderful life of your own, and then fit your partner into it, gradually.
If, to you, nothing says ‘I love you’ like a blazing row every week, or frequent, short-lived splits, you might often find yourself in a bad relationship. Real, lasting love is often peaceful and quiet, with disputes solved in a calm, mature manner. If you’re searching for drama in your affairs of the heart – thinking about your partner obsessively, and voicing every suspicion or negative thought – it usually means your everyday life is lacking excitement. This is likely to be the root cause of your relationship problems. Think about changing jobs to something more challenging, take up a new sport, join social groups or throw yourself into learning a new skill, language or qualification. Get your adrenaline-fix outside your relationship, and think of love as an oasis, where you can retreat from the stress and problems of every day life.
While love initially flourishes on a low-calorie diet (see Overdose, above), over time it requires a more balanced approach to avoid running into problems in your relationship. Think of it like a healthy-eating plan, ensuring your relationship gets all the essential nutrients – Vitamin A (Attention), E (Entertainment), C (Commitment) and D (Demonstrations). Attention could be as simple as listening to your partner talk about their day, or remembering to send a quick ‘Good luck’ text before they have an important meeting.
Entertainment is just about having fun together – if your social life has waned after having children (for example), invite the neighbours over for a BBQ or simply rent a funny DVD to watch on Friday night. Remember, love is fuelled by Dopamine in the brain, and that in turn is stimulated by novelty. To prevent the loss of this novelty in a relationship, try new things together! Commitment can be shown in many ways – from prioritising your partner’s feelings, right through to marriage. And Demonstrations are just those simple gestures that show you care– picking up their favourite takeaway on your way home, or cleaning their car. At match.com, we consistently find, in our yearly LoveGeist report on what daters want, that simple expressions of love are more important than hearts and flowers. These are the things which are likely to prevent your relationship problems from starting in the first place as they show you appreciate each other.
By treating your relationship with the same respect you owe yourself, you can transform a languishing love life into a potent and passionate partnership and avoid the problems which lead to relationship suicide.