If there is one major reason relationships go wrong both in the short and long term? It is contrasting values.
Personal values are the things we hold as most important in life. If your value is family and your partner’s freedom, or you value honesty and he or she discretion, then you’ll have constant conflict.
Note that many of us never take the time to identify our real values. We can spend half our life trying to live out the values of our parents or peer group, or dating those who have values we think we ‘should’ have and then wondering why the relationship isn’t working.
When it comes to meeting someone, rushing in based on physical attraction and ‘chemistry’ is a game of Russian roulette. Will you or won’t you share personal values once the buzz wears off? When we get to know our own values then learn to look for the other person’s values first and foremost, we avoid a lot of false starts.
3. You don’t actually know what love is.
Are you sure you don’t love your partner, because it’s not like the movies you have seen or the books you have read? Newsflash – real love is nothing at all to do with what the media portrays. For starters, it doesn’t fall out of the sky perfectly formed.
And real love requires work to maintain. We have to communicate, troubleshoot, and grow. Read our ‘Guide to Healthy Relationships‘ for a reality check.
4. You have intimacy issues that are nothing to do with your partner.
Is it not that you can’t love your partner but that really you struggle to love, well… anyone?
If we don’t take the time to figure out our values, we can get to middle age before they are hard to avoid. Suddenly one partner realises his or her values, and wants to make big changes like go volunteer in another country or take on a big job. The other is at a loss with this ‘new’ person.
Of course for love to last you also need to grow mostly in the same direction, and at relatively the same speed. If one person becomes obsessed with self development and the other person just wants to come home and watch TV? There is only so long that is going to work.
6. You are blinded by ‘your pattern’.
Sometimes we can’t love our partner as we are stuck in a bad pattern of relating. The pattern is so strong we are not even seeing the other person clearly. This can look like, ‘they want to control me, I am a victim’, or ‘they don’t listen to me, I am bored’.
These patterns, or whatschema therapy also calls ‘themes’, connect to the ways we learned to relate to others when growing up.
If our core beliefs are negative, they can sabotage all our attempts at love. An example of this is a core belief that ‘I don’t deserve love’. This can arise from parenting where love was not given freely, or a sibling was preferred. Or it can come from trauma like sexual abuse. It will see you push away anyone trying to love you.
8. You are scared to love your partner.
Another common core believe is ‘love is dangerous’. This would come from a childhood experience like a parent passing away or leaving. If you have this core belief, the more a part of you wants to love someone, the more you might shut down and feel nothing.
9. Your sense of self is weak and it sabotages love.
Do you have a pattern of meeting someone, thinking he or she is the one, throwing yourself into the relationship, then feeling totally lost?
Many of us suffer form what is called ‘anxious attachment’. Translation – relationships make us super anxious. And the anxiety becomes so big we aren’t sure we are in love anymore.
Why does this happen? Again, it’s a parenting thing. Attachment theory states that we need a stable caregiver we can rely on or we grow up into adults with attachment issues.
How do I know if I am or I am not in love anymore?
It can be hard, if it’s been a long relationship and you still trust and respect each other, to understand if there is still enough love to continue.
It can be very useful, if you both agree to it, to see acouples counsellor. They will not tell you what to do or what to think, but will help you communicate with each other in an open and safe way. Together you can get to the root of the issue and decide on the best way forward for both of you.