You'd think their eighth year together would find them sailing down a glorious road of relationship bliss. But there is something odd about this pair. As they scratch another year off the happily-ever-after calendar, they both began to accept a painful, but undeniable truth--they canít stand each other.
How can you be married to someone you don't like? More importantly, how could you even share a bathroom with someone you don't like?
As odd as it may sound, a harmonious connection can be problematic when couples are not on the same page. It is possible and extremely common to love someone and not be able to get along with them. No relationship is perfect, and when unique personalities and expectations intermingle, battles will ensue. The important thing is not whether you have battles, but how you fight those battles.
Couples may argue because they have not developed a respectful way of communicating and listening. We sometimes want to persuade the other person to change their mind, or modify a specific behavior. We fail to accept the fact that their experiences and perceptions are their realities and probably wonít change much, if at all.
So how does a couple come together and stay together when they apparently have dreams about strangling each other?
Most people donít pursue relationships that lack some type of chemistry. Romances typically begin with a spark like physical attraction, an emotional connection, or a bunch of commonalities. During this introductory stage, everything is new and couples spend most of their time in discovery mode. The irritating things you wish didn't exist often take a backseat to the interesting things you'd rather focus on.
As time goes by, they do what is necessary to keep the peace, even if it means avoiding uncomfortable subjects and overlooking the things they dislike about each other. But at some point, all relationships hit rough patches, and those irritating personality traits that were conveniently ignored during the kissy-face stage may begin to boil to the surface.
Thereís nothing wrong with toughing it out; we all need the strength and tenacity to respect each other's opinions and celebrate our differences. But a relationship that survives in spite of arguments and strife, is a relationship that may not be based on love, but rather an unhealthy, socio-psychological reliance on the other person.
Co-dependency is a learned emotional and behavioral condition that affects an individual's ability to have a healthy, satisfying relationship. Generally, these maladaptive behaviors are destructive because one person's emotional stability is dependent on the actions, words, patterns, choices or behaviors of their partner. And when two co-dependents come together, the dysfunctional arrangement may sustain life's basic living conditions, but the interpersonal relationship dynamic is fractured.
As you might expect, effective communication is the key to sorting out this mess. Couples who constantly argue or disagree can seek couples therapy to help resolve some of their issues. Speaking with a licensed therapist can help gain a new perspective on each individual and how a co-dependent relationship may negatively affect them.
Therapy allows couples to actively engage is self-expression and listening, and help answer questions like: What are your expectations in the relationship? Have you communicated these expectations with your partner? What do you bring to the relationship that contributes to the friction?
Answering these questions and talking honestly about your expectations can help you and your partner build a more loving, communication-friendly relationship.
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