A defining statement about romantic relationships has become popular in our culture. That statement is: “A good relationship requires a lot of hard work.”
What kind of hard work is required? Is it changing or compromising our desires and goals so they fit what our partner wants? Is it changing or adjusting our personality and approach so that they align with our partner? Is it changing or revising our beliefs and principles so they match our partner? I don’t think so.
A “bad” relationship requires a lot of hard work. But psychologists have taught us to think otherwise. They believe through “therapy” that a problematic relationship can be fixed. If there are no children involved, there is no reason to waste your time trying to “fix” a relationship.
I hate to say this but psychologists remind me of how auto mechanics operate. They work hard to find (diagnose/safety check) even the most insignificant of problems. Then they scare you into buying into them by pointing out all the potential dangers if you don’t take care of it. What is their solution? Let them fix whatever they find… for a fee, of course.
I’ve dated countless women in my life and I have discovered a very consistent pattern. If there is a hint of difficulty in getting along with a person at the start of a relationship it usually only gets worse. Why? It’s so simple we disregard it. Why do we disregard it? Because psychology has taught us that relationships are hard work and problems with them can be fixed!
If things are “not” going well at the start of a relationship, it’s very likely that whatever problems you’re having will only grow! Staying in a troublesome relationship thinking that it will get better or you’ll eventually fix it is crazy. I know this because I’ve done it many times in my early years of dating. I’ve come to trust my intuition and just move on when things aren’t working.
The problem in most cases is simply that a couple is a bad or weak match. Find a good match, someone who aligns with many key aspects of who you are, and no hard work is required to have a harmonious relationship.
I’ve been amazed many times after ending a relationship that was a bad match, and starting a new one that was a good match, how refreshingly easy it was to get along. I would think, “Why did I waste so much time fighting to make the relationship work with my ex?”
Somewhere along the line, we have come to believe that love means that our partner “must” fulfill all our needs and dreams. They are responsible for this. Often this means that they have to change or compromise some significant part of who they are to satisfy us. Or it’s the other way around and we must change or compromise to satisfy their criteria of love. None of this is love. It’s selfishness and low self-esteem.
I’m not talking about the ways we learn how to improve ourselves through feedback from our romantic partners and other close relationships. But there is a fine line between providing feedback and making self-serving demands.
The other part is how we evaluate and respond to this feedback. We must first consider whether it’s for our benefit or solely for the other person. Then we must decide whether the feedback is accurate and whether we should act upon it. All of this requires courage, objectivity, and honesty – with ourselves.
There will be people who will vehemently argue against the concept that good relationships do “not” require hard work. If you run into such a person, ask yourself this question: “Are they defending their ignorance, poor choices, and/or selfishness? If the answer is yes, don’t waste your time trying to convince them. Just remove yourself from the conversation.
Relationships that require hard work can be boiled down to two problems. (1.) Bad match. (2.) Self-absorption.
Relationships that do NOT require hard work can be boiled down to two qualities. (1.) Excellent match. (2.) Self-confidence.
Good relationships are not difficult. They are delightfully easy.