Relationships: Why are they so difficult?
1st November, 2010
Everyone longs to relate to others in a meaningful way and yet so often it doesn’t work out.
It is easy to blame the other person and say they just weren’t right, or we grew apart, or they changed.
It is easier to feel disappointed in the other person, and much harder to look at ourselves. It takes courage to acknowledge the personal difficulties that you bring to a relationship.
Relationships fail because of two reasons:
- The unrealistic expectations placed on the other person,
- ecause we bring old baggage to the relationship.
If we expect that the other person is going to meet our needs, make up for old hurts, or deprivations, it will not work out. The other person inevitably turns out to be ordinary with their own hurts, baggage, and unrealistic expectations.
Once we let go of our unrealistic expectations, and acknowledge that our ability to relate is affected by our past, we can begin to deal with that, instead of blaming the other person.
Couple therapy focuses on the relationship between the couple. Individual therapy explores the internal world of the individual in more depth. It can be difficult to know which is most appropriate, but depends largely on whether the difficulties are in the way you relate and communicate with each other, or whether it would be useful to look at self and what you bring to the relationship in individual therapy. A therapist can be helpful in working this out.
Related articles from our experts
- Why relationships need empathy
Susan Hooper MBACP12th July, 2018
- Who do you think you are? 'Connecting the dots' through therapeutic genograms
Cinzia Altobelli (MSc RGN UKCP reg Psychotherapist/Counsellor & Supervisor)12th July, 2018
- Unlocking anxieties through relationship therapy
Couples counselling specialist Christopher MacGovern12th July, 2018
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