by: E.B. Johnson
Intimate relationships form a key part of happiness for many. Having a close partner can be rewarding. They provide support and can give us that sense of emotional connection that we crave. These types of relationships are hard to build and even harder to balance, though. You have to merge your lives in complex ways, and that doesn’t always work out the way we want. Do you keep failing when it comes to romantic love? Use this quick guide to the whys and the hows.
Why you keep investing in relationships that fail.
If your romantic relationships keep falling apart, there’s probably a good reason for it. While we aren’t always responsible for the acts that lead to a couple’s collapse, we are always responsible for choosing the partners that most closely match our needs. To get to that place, though, we first have to acknowledge the reasons behind our relationship failures.
Alignment is key in any happy relationship. if. you don’t know what you want or what you need, you can’t pick someone who provides those things to you. So you end up settling for subpar partners that don’t have what it takes to build a fulfilling relationship with you. For happy relationships to blossom, we have to be aligned with our partners in all major facets of life.
What kind of beliefs do you have when it comes to relationships? When we don’t take the time to analyze our beliefs, we can find that we adopt toxic and archaic ideas about love and dating that don’t align with the things that really make you happy in a relationship. We have to take a step back and question what our core beliefs are so we can align with love that matters.
Communication is key in any fair relationship. If don’t stand up for yourself or speak up when it comes to your needs, you’ll find yourself being overwhelmed by partners who take over and take advantage. You need to tell your partner what you want, how to feel, and where your boundaries and expectations lie.
Clinging to the past
Do you have a long history of childhood trauma or toxic relationships? Past hurts linger. Issues that you haven’t acknowledged or healed don’t just go away. They keep creeping up in your current relationships and sabotaging your happiness until you confront them and learn how to replace them with healthier patterns of love and connection.
Lacking in effort
Balanced and healthy partnerships require partners who put in an equal amount of effort. If you don’t put in as much as you expect your partner to give, you’re going to deal with resentment and upset. Your partner needs to know you want them and that their contributions are valuable.
So many people walk into relationships expecting fairy tales and magic fixes. Although we have been sold this idea of love at every turn, it’s not accurate. Real romantic love takes work. It takes re-committing to one another every day, and making a conscious choice to love, accept, and honor one another.
What you can do to improve things.
So what can you about all the issues undermining your relationships? Once you’ve found the courage to acknowledge what’s gone wrong, you can take conscious action to correct it. Take some time to figure out who y you are and what you want. Then you can communicate deliberately and re-discover love through a blossoming independence.
Figure out what you want
Most relationships fail because something misaligned the partners involved. More often than not, this misalignment comes on the back of an unquestioned self. When you don’t explore who you are and what you want, you stumble into partnerships that are neither of those things. Take a step back to figure out what you need and what you want. Opt for honesty with self to instantly improve the quality of your relationships.
Become a better communicator
Intentional communication is an absolute necessity in love. You first need to communicate with self, and honestly address the issues you’re having and the needs that you have. Then you have to communicate these things with any potential partners honestly and early. Communication is how we work through conflict, and how we make sure our boundaries and needs are always clear.
Invest in self-love
There can be no happy relationship if you don’t love yourself in the mix of it all. Self-love is how we find partners who can meet our expectations and needs. Fall in love with yourself. Value your weaknesses and your strengths. Be okay in your own company. The more in love you are with yourself, the more you will (rightly) command a more rewarding love from those around you.
Although we don’t think of it, independence is a central part of happy relationships. You need to be comfortable in who you are. You need to be comfortable being alone, and not willing to compromise your solo happiness for a meaningless relationship that wastes your time and energy. Be more fully who you are — on your own — to attract partners worth investing in.
Avoid rushing ahead
There are many people out there who destroy their relationships by forcing them into places they aren’t ready to go. Love is a garden. It takes time to develop and mature into the beauty that it’s supposed to be. Don’t prioritize a relationship over your happiness. Fall in love when you’re ready, not when society tells you to.
Drop your need to settle
Once you move past your need to rush milestones like family or marriage, you can also move past your need to settle. We have plenty of time to find the right partners. We are worth having relationships that are fulfilling. Slow things down and stop settling for partners that don’t have what you want. By being more selective in our relationships, we become more successful at getting what we want.
Putting it all together…
Romantic relationships play a key role in happiness for many of us. But when partnership-after-partnership fails, we can struggle to make sense of it all. If you want to be happy in love, you have to first acknowledge what you’re getting wrong — then take steps to put it right. Explore who you are and get to know what you want in your relationships. Communicate early and with intention. If you really want to learn how to love others, learn how to love yourself first. Re-discover your independence. Avoid rushing the milestones and rid yourself of your need to settle. Then you can get serious about building better connections that make you feel seen, valued, and rewarded.
- Fincham, F. D., Rogge, R., & Beach, S. R. H. (2018). Relationship satisfaction. In A. L. Vangelisti & D. Perlman (Eds.), The Cambridge handbook of personal relationships (p. 422–436). Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781316417867.033