What Happens When Your Partner Starts Acting Like a Normal Human, and Your Relationship Has Issues
When we’re young our views of relationships are shaped by what we observe from family, friends and media. As we grow older and develop our own romantic bonds, we realise that some things we thought were unusual were actually pretty normal, and it’s important to work out what serves us and what we simply repeat because we think that’s expected.
Recently, relationship therapist Dr Fedrick took to Instagram to share some tips to help us improve our connections, and they’re relevant if you’re single, dating, in a committed relationship or married. They can improve communication, intimacy, honesty, and boost self-esteem.
Connecting with your partner
To start with, Dr Fedrick emphasises the importance of asking for time, attention and reassurance. A relationship requires continuous investment, so you need to ensure that you’re meeting your partner’s emotional needs, and that they’re meeting yours. This can involve quality time or words of affirmation, depending on their love language, and many couples will naturally develop little ways of checking in even if they wouldn’t explicitly label it this way.
You’re not going to agree with your partner on everything. That’s fine, and to be honest, it would be weird if you did. So take some time to find out what you and your partner have different opinions on, and then consider how much this affects you. For example, disagreeing on your favourite types of food isn’t an issue. But huge differences in things like religion, politics or ethics could indicate a fundamental incompatibility. So find out how things differ and work to resolve these issues or understand why your partner thinks the way they do.
Respect your partner’s changes and observe your own
Similarly, you need to be able to grow and see that in your partner. If you and your significant other start your relationship in, say, your mid-20s, you know that they’ll evolve over time. The world changes and our attitudes change too. Discuss these things, take an interest, and don’t assume that everything will stay the same. It can be intimidating, but it’s also incredibly rewarding to see how far you’ve come.
Sex and intimacy
Another of Dr Fedrick’s points is that differences in libido are very common. Sexual desire and performance change throughout our lives, and having partners with whom we can communicate this is important. Don’t be afraid to be open if you’re starting to feel differently, or want to try something new. Conversely, stress can absolutely kill a sex life, so if your bedroom is feeling a little dusty, reach out to your partner and check in with them. The act of doing so reaffirms a caring bond, improves communication and perhaps might even get them in the mood. They may well be worried about work, tired from looking after a family member or concerned about their health, and discussing this – and making changes where necessary – can be really helpful for emotional and sexual intimacy.
How to resolve arguments
Disagreements happen. For every fairy princess who lives happily ever after in a castle, there are millions of us who feel absolutely furious at socks left next to the laundry basket, again, for the tenth time. The important thing is to reduce the number of disagreements and find a way to resolve disputes. Firstly, if there’s something which annoys your partner that you can easily fix, maybe just do it?
Secondly, if you do end up arguing over a matter, find a way to de-escalate and then come to a calm conclusion where the issue is resolved. This is easier to say than to do, but working out how to handle a disagreement is crucial for the success of a long-term relationship.
We often grow up with ideas about relationships which don’t end up being accurate. Turns out we probably won’t be swept up on a white horse, and sometimes our partners act like, well, messy, normal humans. Practice forgiveness, focus on communication and realise that it’s actually very normal to have problems and misunderstandings occasionally.