When I enter a relationship, I expect it to last. I think of it as practise for marriage. Yes, I said marriage! You thought Garth couldn’t harbour such lofty ambitions? lol
Anyway, the sad truth is that as lifestyles change so do people. After a while, flaws and cracks inevitably start to show and you may find yourself dedicating more and more time to fixing the relationship rather than enjoying it to the fullest. At some point, you may need to acknowledge the fact that your relationship no longer suits your needs. This is usually a very difficult point to explain because to your ‘partner’ you’re gonna look like an asshole. But when the relationship isn’t meeting your individual or collective needs then it’s time for an assessment of the value of the relationship.
My dad recommended thinking of a relationship like a home: both are susceptible to wear and tear and both require a certain amount of upkeep. Sometimes the work put into a relationship feels like a real job (I wish I could have gotten paid). How much work is too much work, though? Sometimes a relationship just needs a little renovation and there are times when the whole thing should be condemned.
Why did I get married?
The most important thing in a house is the foundation. What is the foundation in a relationship? Trust is the foundation of every good relationship, believe it or not. Trust doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m telling her all my secrets. There are lotsa things I would never tell in a relationship, unless directly asked and there’s no option to “plea the 5th”. The important thing is that you’re honest with each other. Whenever I caught a girlfriend telling half-truths or if you don’t give her my honest opinion about anything, it’s a bad sign. It’s also a clear indication that one of us doesn’t trust the other. An absence of trust is cause for SERIOUS concern, it usually means THE END IS NEAR!
Are we there yet?
Sometimes I’m so blinded by lust and physical intimacy that I don’t consider the direction of the relationship until after the novelty has worn off. I figure most people do the same thing. It’s always important to know where the relationship is headed and early too. Whenever my vision of the relationship’s future doesn’t meet with hers then there’s trouble ahead. This is where compromise comes into play and skillful negotiation. If you’re not on the same journey together then in the end you’re gonna end up in different places.
Let’s be real … Let’s be superficial
Looks aren’t everything, but they aren’t nothing either. No easy “renovations” can be done to a human body. That’s why in a relationship, physical appearance is important consideration. To some, it might seem shallow to evaluate your partner based on looks, but let’s be real: our level of attraction to each other is going to impact how physical(intimate) we get with each other. Let’s be real again, intimacy (or the lack thereof) affects every other area of the relationship. I usually ask myself “how will she look in 20 years”. I bet all my exes asked the same question about me. For women they say that a man can tell how his wife will age based on how her mom has aged. That’s usually been a good gauge in my experience. If we’re not finding each other “hot” or appealing anymore that’s when the temptation to ‘outsource’ intimacy may creep in.
Watch dem quarrels
I avoid confrontation and quarrels, but a healthy debate is always a good thing. It’s a good thing to have a difference of opinion that can be managed/handled responsibly. I’ve got friends who always seem to be fighting/quarreling but how much fighting is normal? Periodic arguing, even the occasional blowout, is not unusual. Constant bickering, however, is a sign of serious problems. My experience has taught me that hearing nasty comments from her too often is a sign of built-up resentment or anger.
The grass isn’t necessarily greener
We always hear about the old man leaving his wife for a younger hotter girl. Does his story always have a happy ending? Very rarely does t end happily ever after for him. You shouldn’t jeopardize a relationship just because someone else catches your eye.
It’s human to look around and envy others. I’m always reminded of the Jamaican idiom “See mi and live wid me a 2 different ting‘. Not every couple that appears happy or ideal is really that way. Who you think is your “dream partner” could end up being a nightmare.
I recommend that you try to fix what you have before racing off to find a new relationship, or before racing to be single. Ending a relationship is a big decision. Before you start packing your things, you need to be certain about what else is out there.
Panel of peers aka ‘Relationship Jury’
Whether I may like it or not, once my friends and her friends know of the relationship everybody is gonna have an opinion. Some people will voice their opinion uninvited. Some will only share it if they’re asked and others won’t say a word. Think about how your significant other gets along with your friends, family and colleagues. After-all, you’re both gonna have to interact with all these folks from time to time. If who you’re with can’t win the favour of your closest and most trusted friends/family then that might be a bad sign.
Every relationship is prone to problems; that’s a given. If you notice an increase in your bickering, your first step should be to try to resolve the issues hampering your romantic bliss. When you’re assessing the value of your relationship, remember that it deserves a fair inspection before you demolish it.