This is one of the most common problems I get in my practice. And though each relationship is different, I’ll list the most common issues my clients are faced with and the solutions I usually propose.
If your case is different or you’d simply like a relationship counselor’s full attention in solving it rather than a blog post, schedule a free session with me and let’s talk it out!
#1: We’ve Fallen Into a Routine and He Stopped Doing the Little Things.
Since the teenage age, we’re being taught that after the honeymoon phase (about half a year into the relationship) it’s normal to experience occasional boredom and fall into a routine - especially if you’ve been together for years!
But then you see these people who have been together for decades, who still manage to steal a kiss when no one’s looking and bring one another gifts for no reason. So you ask yourself: how could that be?
Well, dear, there’s no easy way to say this but: we’ve all been lied to.
Sure, in the beginning, everything is new, but the only thing that means is that novelty comes spontaneously. The conclusion? Years of relationship shouldn’t mean that you’ve now fallen into the routine and you should get used to it. You can if you choose to - but you don’t have to!
I’ve faced this problem myself and found that the solution is very simple - say how you feel, but don’t accuse them of anything, lest they end up in a defensive mood and you will have accomplished nothing! Start by saying you still love them and want to be with them, but remind them of the things they used to do and say you miss them. Tell them honestly that you don’t feel happy in a relationship that’s only a relationship on paper. Make sure you tell them exactly what you expect - flowers, a candlelit dinner, anything - so they know that it is you’re missing! A healthy relationship takes a lot of effort, and whoever tells you they manage it all without even trying at all has their pants on fire!
Finally, if they tell you they don’t plan on going through the trouble - it’s on you to decide whether you want to get used to it or find someone who will treat you the way you deserve to be treated.
#2: We Don’t Want the Same Things for the Future.
This is a tough one. My general advice here is to have the whole family-and-kids conversation as early on in the relationship as possible. If they’re not ready to talk about it yet, give them a set amount of time: “I understand you’re not there yet, but I really need to know where we stand. We don’t have to make babies tomorrow, but if in half a year you still don’t know if you want them, I’m not sure I’d want to continue with this relationship.”
Now, the other possibility is that you’ve decided to give it a go and not spoil it with the “serious stuff”, and now, a couple of years later, you’ve realized you’re not sure what to do. Should you look for someone who wants the same things as you, but let go of this amazing love? Or stick with them no matter what, giving up on the role of a mom?
Here's the most important thing:
Find the Why.
Start by having an open conversation - it’s never too late, right? If they don’t want to get married/have kids, ask them why. Disputing anything and reaching a compromise is so much more difficult when you don’t know where the other person is coming from. Maybe they want it, but they’re simply convinced you’ll get bored of them as soon as you’re married! Or they fear that because their father was a bad one, they’ll end up being the same.
The moment you have the “why”, it’s so much easier to find common ground. Now, be ready for the possibility that they simply don’t want that kind of commitment. In that case, ask yourself which role is more important to you: that of their partner, or of a wife and mother? Be honest with yourself, list all pros and cons, and if you come to the solution you should break it up but fear they’re your soulmate and you’re making a huge mistake, ask yourself this: how will you feel in a couple of years when it really hits you that you’ll never be a mom?
Will you still love him the same, or will you end up spending the rest of your life with a person you hate for taking that away from you?
#3: We Fight All the Time, but We Love Each Other!
I always say that no relationship without a single fight is healthy, so if you occasionally have fights that are calm and end up in a compromise, good on you! But if your fights are full of screaming, shutting doors, and remaining angry until you’re too tired to fight, well - that’s not healthy.
Step number one would be to enter every fight with empathy and understanding. Remember that it’s the two of you against the problem, not against each other. As soon as you have this mindset, it all becomes easier. If, however, the other person has anger issues not just with you but in general, and they’re unable to control themselves, I would definitely suggest counseling. Some things simply cannot be solved that easily, as much as we’d want them to.
And if your issue is that you are constantly disagreeing on everything, well - then you might want to think whether that’s the kind of relationship worth staying in. I mean, sure, you may have amazing chemistry, and your make-up sex may be amazing (never, ever solve your fights with sex - it’s only sweeping problems under the rug, and they tend to accumulate!), but are those moments of pleasure worth all the times of stress? And do you really believe there is no one out there who could give you both pleasure and the satisfaction of not fighting all the time?
#4: I'm Unhappy With Sex in My Relationship.
Great news: I've previously written a whole article dedicated to that topic!