Saturday, January 7, 2012

Why Are Relationships So Hard?

Why are relationships so hard? You like someone, they like why doesn't it work. The whole thing should be easy - what with biological imperatives and the like - but instead this is one of the most complicated and prescient questions out there. It crosses gender, social, economic, religious lines and is applicable to pretty much everyone on the planet. Sure there are still arranged marriages and other situations where people are forced to be together, where they have no say in whether they work as a couple or not, but those examples are getting to be few and far between as the Western notion of picking your own partner becomes standard practice all over the world.

If I had an answer for this question - even a semi-plausible one that sounded kinda good - I would share it with you. But I am as in the dark about this as everyone else.

What do you think? It's not an essay question. No one is being graded. I'm just curious.


  1. im still trying to find a relationship where i like a girl and she likes me back

  2. Because nothing in this world that's worth having comes easily.

  3. There's a certain TV series that summed up the two basic things for relationships to work: timing and chemistry. I believe they were very right and that whenever a relationship fails one out of the two is either missing or not working right...

  4. If it weren't something to work for, it wouldn't be worth it.

  5. I think a lot of it is a struggle in deciding how much do we want to compromise, which is supposed to be a good thing, and how much do we stay true to our individual desires/identity, which is also supposed to be a good thing. And since everyone's a little different, even the happy couples, you don't have a really solid "well, this is what seems to work" guide.

  6. Because people overthink and become paranoid and are self destructive.

    Or maybe we're all too cynical for relationships now.

    That might just be me, actually.

  7. agreed with Deira...timing and chemistry. when it was time there was no chemistry, when there was chemistry it just wasn't the right time.

  8. I'm 14, and I've never been in a relationship, an I don't understand how they work. I don't get how out of all the people ever, the person you like could like you. It baffles me. Maybe one day, I'll understand, but for now I just awkwardly skip from boy to boy, praying they'll notice me.

  9. Reality is, every person is unique a one off. Lots of plusses with that but one of the minuses is that the chances of successfully finding the person who truly fits with you is nigh on impossible. Plus I think we have gotten to the point where relationships are seen as happily ever after and no one sees the hard work and toil involved. I got out of it some time ago, as I felt that love simply wasnt worth the pain of constant rejection. As for the answer? I dont know other than look for the best person, not the ideal and maybe, just maybe, people will find a little love and tenderness and all that. As for me, I give up.

  10. I think one of the biggest challenges is that, even if things work at the beginning, we live in an era of unprecedented potential for personal freedom and change, so the ground keeps shifting beneath one's feet. It's all too easy for two once-compatible people to grow in different directions. And I don't think there's a way around that... or if there is, I think it's probably worse than the "problem" it would solve.

    I've been thinking about this a lot, lately.

  11. I think relationships start out easy, then we all bring our own baggage into the mix and this complicates things. I also know in the beginning we are trying so hard to impress that little things like daily stressers (work, etc) don't seem to matter, then sooner or later they edge their way in. If you had an answer to this question you would be rich.

  12. Speaking as a formerly married man who currently despises dating again, yet is too fond of female company to give up entirely ...

    It's because some things about us change over time even while we don't change in the ways we need to. Because we want each other but we want different things. Because we give too much and become pushovers and sometimes take too much and act selfishly. Because we are too private with what's going on inside and also that we overshare, overwhelm the other with our feelings and needs. It's because we manage to make our simple needs in life be overly complicated.

    I think its because we're all a mess, and we're all broken in our own ways. It takes a special combination and a certain amount of dedication to stick with it. I know in my marriage I fell short of what I wanted originally -- the rest of my life -- yet I lasted longer than many people believed I should have. I don't think I failed at anything, since I didn't abuse or betray, but damn does it still suck even over a year later.

    Being with someone hurts almost as much as being alone. Or vice versa, depending on the day.

    - Jamie Chambers

    1. Jamie I am thinking you know a lot about relationships...Fact is, it's easier to start and continue one before you have ever been disallusioned by a lot of hard work followed by disappointment. I am hoping that I can get relationship amnesia sort of like they say women who have children get about childbirth.

  13. I agree with Emily and LaKeeau. If it was easy, it wouldn't be worth it!

  14. Actually, I think we're all sold a crock when we have it beaten into us that we should have to work hard at relationships. It shouldn't be yet another chore on our never-ending "to do" list. When you're with the right person, it shouldn't feel like work.

    Of course, you have to put effort into being considerate but, the big secret is that it's actually quite easy but there's a multi-million (billion?) pound industry who want to make it all much more complicated than it needs to be.


    1. I agree. I spent 31 years working hard at a relationship and what I got was a difficult relationship. I am open to going for another one but if I am working harder than the other person, I am bailing a lot sooner. I know very few that stay in relationships because they are a good fit, most stay for other social or community considerations. It is a rare and lucky couple that are comfortable easily together, and that might not last through all stages of life.

  15. I think sometimes the fact that we can pick is exactly what stops it from working... sometimes, if someone isn't EXACTLY what we want, we throw them back into the pool and wait for the better one to come along. The problem with that is we're all messed up in our own little ways and there's no such thing as relationship perfection.

  16. I think when they are right they aren't `hard`. when it is good, the work doesn't feel like work. My husband and I have been married for 2 years together for 10, and somehow all the things that seem like they should be hard are easy. I think that`s how you know you are with the right person.

  17. I wouldn't know. I'm 24 and have never been in a real relationship. I've never been in love , nor, have I ever been physically attracted to another person. Sometimes that makes me feel like I'm broken. Which is okay because I don't want any relationship if they are going to turn out like the ones I see around me.

  18. Seemingly, in my experience, anyway, even if you find the right person and things are going fantastically well, there will invariably be something to get in the way, be it a change of heart or an inconvenience, or something incomprehensible. Happiness and relationships are awesome, but sadly rarely thrive, so thank goodness for cats.

  19. Relationships need work and life isn't always all puppydogs and moonlight. However if a relationship feels like hard work and there's not that level of comfort where you can be content in each other's company then it's probably not the right relationship.

    I was once told that a true friend is one with whom you can be as content in silence as in conversation. That goes double for relationships.

    I also think that people often make the mistake of thinking that a couple must share all the same interests, views, friends, taste in music etc. Not so! The trick is to retain your individuality and each have their own interests whilst finding some to share.

    Well it's worked for me anyway, coming up to our 27th anniversary!

  20. The tricky part is that sometimes we need someone who is like us....but other times we need some is the opposite of us! And we don't which we need when!

    As much as my ex and I fought...we could always crack funny, especially in a group...we were Burns and Allen! But the other parts...whew!

  21. Because we're monkeys with pants, and monkeys with pants spend way too much time and energy figuring out pants, and not nearly enough time enjoying being monkeys. To make a long, pointless answer short: relationships don't always work because of stuff.

  22. Relationships are hard because you are trying to fuse two separate lives together. Sometimes they fall apart at the first challenge and sometimes they last for quite a while and survive many bumps along the road until something comes along that makes it all fall apart.

    I really have no idea how to make relationships work. Perhaps honest communication is the key plus a good dose of luck.

  23. Honestly its not easy or straightforward and yet it never feels like hard work to me. My husband and I have been together over 6 years and the main thing I would always say is important is communication. When I am feeling crappy instead of taking it out on him, I just tell him that I'm feeling crappy and why and vice versa. If I am angry with him I tell him why I am angry with him and we talk it out and vice versa. Sometimes it is awkward and uncomfortable but it has always been worth the investment. We are very happily married :)

  24. Well, this isn't the best time for me to be writing this I guess. I've been dating this most wonderful women for awhile now. This was my first Christmas with her and her 3yr old daughter. We went down to her moms. It was the best week of my entire life. Then I brought her back home. Hadn't heard from her and was blocked off her social networking sites. My heart has been ripped out and not a word to as why or what happened. I'll admit it that it may not be "cool" for guys to cry but that's all I've done for the last 3 days. Can't eat, can't sleep. Not sure of anything anymore.

  25. Relationships are a bit like dancing - think too much about it and you'll trip, stumble and ruin everything.

    And tear someone's dress if you're as clumsy as me...

  26. Sometimes things are just too perfect, people dont think they deserve it, subconciously, so ruin it without knowing =[ or in my experience anyways

  27. The best thing I ever did in my life was the two years I spent convincing one of my female friends that despite her bad previous choices, she was always going to be beautiful to me, and that she should never forget that....When I she finally did find the right person, I got the sweetest letter I've ever got, one I'll always keep close....

    I knew she and I would not have that relationship...but it was a joy for me to help her get there.

  28. I was in a difficult relationship for 14 years. Thinking well this is how it is supposed to be... The ol' "for better or worse" sinario. When that ended and a few years later I met Amanda, I quickly figured out it doesn't have to be that way. You don't have to work that hard to be happy, you just are. A great relationship is not all hard work, just occasionally. When it is right,as cliche as it sounds, it's right. Over three years into this, I still feel like I am on my honeymoon. Though thanks to New York, as of October 12, we actually can take out honeymoon now.

  29. I think you just gotta not take things too seriously or overthink a relationship -- if it starts getting all poetic it opens up a fissure for you to potentially fall down where there used to be none; the greatest risk is, say, falling out your proverbial relationship bed. If it lasts long enough, you build a strong bridge that allows for sentimentality and poetic notions to exist and the chasm can get as deep as it wants to because it would take a real lot for you to fall in.

    Equally, you could both be great in bed.

  30. I assume its a whole stars aligning kinda thing but really its just about loving yourself. do that and love will sneak up on you.

  31. I think a good relationship is *both* hard *and* easy. They're smooth & fluid much of the time, if you've found someone with a good matching chemistry (in all ways, not just sexually), but hard everytime either of you hits something steep in your learning curves, either individual or shared. If you honestly admit it & work through it (the only way out is through) it gets smooth and effortless again - until you hit the next one. I say this after 20 years with a most loving & challenging man. It's so worth it to work through the knots.

  32. I'm in love with my best friend. She's a lesbian and thusly we can never be together. But I cannot get over her. I don't understand why I can't just let it go. If I could do that I could pursue other relationships. Bugger

  33. Amber, I think it all comes down to fear. We fear that we might not be good enough. Or, that we have something wrong with us; might not be lovable.

    These fears are born from our baggage from childhood and other relationships. Many of these fears are learned because of the way others have treated us.

    The sad thing is... There's nothing to fear. Regardless of what we do or say, we are all beacons of light. We are all lovable. But, because of some fear we have, whether real or imagined, we find ourselves being hurt or angry.

    Feel loved, Amber. Everyone, feel loved. You are.

    1. I lovevthis response. Thanks, Steven!

  34. I think about this question every day. I was reading stuff like bell hooks's All About Love and Roland Barthes's A Lover's Discourse for answers, but I haven't been in any "official" relationships so I don't know. Only in hindsight I feel like I know, which sucks.

  35. Relationships are hard work. Too many people don't understand takes two people working very hard to have a successful and fulfilling relationship. I know this to be true...I have been married to a great guy who works as hard as I do at our relationship...for 35 years....

  36. Too much pressure is put onto relationships. Why do friendships work? In part, I believe, because we're allowed to disagree and we don't have to always be with them. If you're in a relationship with someone, you're sharing a life together which means you have to agree or be fine with compromising on way too many issues. Religion, what to eat, what kind of couch to buy, where to live; with friends, these things don't have to be agreed upon. If you differ in religion, you don't talk about it or you each can discuss it without feeling the need to persuade the other to believe what you believe. You can ask there opinion on what to buy but in the end they don't have to live with it in their house or help pay for it.

    I think people are selfish, not in a mean way, just in a normal I-live-my-life-the-way-I-always-have kinda way. Because of this, it makes forming relationships hard because these types of issues always come up and threaten the relationship. You can love someone all you want but are you always willing to change your life for them? The answer shouldn't be yes just because of love. You can love your friends but would you move if they were moving or change your life for them? Probably not. You'd probably just agree to do something another time if you disagreed.

    This leaves us in a tough position because romantic relationships should be more than friendships and you have to find a fine balance between the two but this balance might not exist.

    I'm now shutting up before I continue forever and start sounding more and more jaded.

  37. Great expectations.

    We don't always fall for who a person actually is, we fall for who we want them to be, who they could potentially be. Having great potential just means someone hasn't done it yet. The fantasy of potential takes away from the reality of the relationship.
    And when you wake up from the fantasy and look at the reality of how things are, it brings great disappointment. This goes for any type of relationship.

    A lot of people choose to ignore the reality of a relationship and make themselves miserable living in something they can't stand, they don't give up the hope that it will someday change. Putting aside any care for themselves, they live for the other person.

    There's also the fact that it's highly acceptable, and popular belief to think that alone we are nothing and we must have someone other than ourselves in our lives to make us whole.

  38. I'm going through these thoughts right now. Met someone special we clicked & all was good. The compromise is the distance, she up in Edinburgh (Scotland) & me down in Southern England.

    She has a little boy and I have a good career where I'am. We split but have lately been in touch and she told me she still loves me, do I give up everything and go be with her?

  39. They are. They're difficult. For me it's finding that balance between getting on with someone, where we share common interests and are comfortable around. For me it always tends to be those who are already attached or only see me as a friend. It's getting old.

  40. Anything worth having is worth working for. It can be confusing but the reward is a place in someone's heart who also has a place in yours. B~)

  41. Amber I wish I had an answer... I am deeply in love with my best friend, who does not share feelings. She seems content to be with many other guys, all of whom treat her bad and some even beat her. I always take care of her. I don't know.. I am not sure that falls into the catergory of a relationship. Just thought I would tell somebody. Anybody.

  42. I think... Because making a relationship work is a lot like balancing a tray with two plates full of various foods on the tip two noses (one for each partner, feel free to add noses for open/triangular, etc relationships) while riding a rodeo-spider.

    And that is not as random as it looks, think about it;

    The rodeo spider is life, staying on top of that is hard enough as it is.

    The tray is the relationship: it holds both plates together as one.

    The plates of various foods are the lovers: Different in shape, weight distribution and solidity. (Again: feel free to add plates as needed)

    It all needs to be balanced out or things will fall apart. It's a crazy dance of sharing, compromising, giving and taking. When you look at it that way it is very unlikely to succeed... When it does it is amazingly special though.

    Luckily you get as many tries on the rodeo spider as you want, as long as all parties involved care and play fair :-D (might be wise to take a rest after some falls though).

  43. I'd have to agree with those who posted responses about timing and chemistry.

    Of course, every person is constantly changing, whether we notice this or not. We are molded and re-molded by our day-to-day experiences.

    Often when people are in a relationship over a period of time they'll find that these changes have led them to become very different from when they had originally met. Sometimes this brings people closer, sometimes it draws them apart, sometimes it does neither, though it does change the kind of love/feelings that exist between them.

  44. Relationships are hard because most of us don't know what we want out of them. We come in with a lot of preconceived notions that we learned while we were young. We're TOLD the kind of relationship that we're supposed to have, and so most of us go out and try to have THAT.

    But not everyone is the same. Not everything works the same way for each person.

    Heterosexuality isn't for everyone. Neither is monogamy. Nor, indeed, sexual relationships at all.

    LGBT folks (still) often have a rough time in our society, but they all have to sit down and introspect about the kind of person that they are at some point, and realise that they're different, and what that means for them and their lives.

    Most of us never do that. We head off into our first relationships without ever sitting down and thinking about what we need or what we're even capable of giving to another person (or persons).

    Sure, even if you do, nothing ever quite works out the way we plan, but it's a start. Communication is at the heart of every great relationship, and that includes the relationship that we have with ourselves. Relationships aren't easy because WE'RE not easy. But relationships are easier when you know who you are, what you want, and what you're willing to offer.

  45. My wife and I have been married for 11 years. We have 1 child with 1 more on the way. Arguments happen. Life changes. In the end, I will always be the lucky one. The world will always wonder what's she doing with me. So when I get all bickery or angry, I try to remember that. If I knew how to make it easier than one disagreement at a time, then I would definitely share it with the world.

  46. Looking at my failed relationships and my current seeming successful relationship I think it is all about knowing yourself. If you know who you really are you can be humble, you can be generous, you can spot your foibles and your sins, you can change and, most importantly, you can compromise. 

    If you don't know what you are, and the person you're with doesn't know what they are... you're 2 blind people bumping against each other in the dark,

    A dose of humility couldn't hurt either.

  47. Well, considering the last 48hrs I've just witnessed this seems all rather familiar.

    I think nowadays we have too much freedom, too much choice and sadly appear to have too little empathy and consideration.

    Between the "want it NOW" attitude that the internet has bred and working 24/7 that a modern job requires we're all just doomed. Dooooomed I tell you!

    Of course, should you somehow manage to navigate all lifes little foibles , meet the person of your dreams, get your mother to approve of them (no small task in itself) then whoever it is in charge "up there" will just take a dump on you for a laugh and something will crop up to rip your heart out.

    I'm buying shares in a kitten factory. If you're all going to end up as crazy old cat ladies then at least I can continue being a bitter and lonely old man with the knowledge my stock portfolio will be going up in value!


  48. I don't know. I've managed to live 20 years without ever being in a relationship.
    I think it's highly improbable to to find "the one". There are so many restrictions the first one being being geography, then gender, and sexuality and socio-economic status, and then the more trivial things like eye color or film preferences.
    And even if you find someone who you connect with, you will both change and it's unlikely to evolve at the same rate. And if that were possible wouldn't you lose your personal identity?
    I'm really starting to think that a relationship like the ones that we idealize in films and books, are just ideals, and thusly cannot be attained.
    So rather than look for this ideal, I prefer to live by this quote:
    "People who make us happy are never the people we expect. So when you find someone, you've got to cherish it."

    Gina Campbell, Skins 3.06

  49. someone British once said, "if it be now, then it be not to come. if it be not now, then yet it will come. the readiness is all." if its meant to be it will but never when and rarely how you think it should. that's where the hard part comes in because we want what we want when we want it... not necessarily when we're ready to have or be had by it.

  50. Relationships are alchemy. You can make gold, but damned if there's a logical, scientific basis for the process.

  51. Human beings are so complex. Considering biological make-up, cultural influence, parental & family experiences, childhood challenges... it's really kind of miraculous that any two people can maintain any sort of relationship for any long period of time.

    I've only been married five years, but I know already that there is a lot of baggage that we each brought into the relationship. We just have both committed to each other that we'll always make it work. No exit strategies. Not giving ourselves the option of a quick getaway when things get tough makes maintenance of the relationship a priority. Because we prefer to be soulmates rather than cellmates :-)


  53. Well, you see, as someone who always falls in love with either the wrong guy or... someone who doesn't love me back... I'm probably not the best one to answer this one.

    Maybe relationships are so complicated because otherwise it would get too boring?

    As someone who is liking a guy who lives in LA while I live in Germany and who is waiting to hear from him... i'd say I'd like an easy relationship for once.

    For me it's always more the question why I always feel like I'm not made for being together with one person forever? I mean I've only met one person who I could imagine being with forever... and that's the LA person sighs.

    So why are relationships so hard? I guess it's because you have two independent persons who need to be willing to make compromises. not always easy. But yes, Im more the type to fall for the wrong one which results and me not being in a relationship at all lol.

    xoxo Nic

  54. If anyone knew the answer to that the world would implode, cause if everyone was happy I'm pretty sure something paradoxical would occur.

    But alas, I feel your pain. I'm sure pretty much everyone reading can say they have the metaphorical t-shirt. But the good can't exist without the bad, roll with the punches and all that jazz. You just have to make your own happiness, my plan is to become a crazy cat lady.


  55. Relationships are difficult mainly because one of the two is always too proud at one moment or the other somewhen in the relationship. We don't admit our mistakes, or we apologize just to make things right, without really being sorry for what we did or didn't do.
    You can have all the chemistry you want, sometimes, just one wrong word can be the begginning of the end.
    It takes a lot of work but, that's what make it worth in the end.
    sad truth.

  56. I think that a lot of it has to do with personal growth and change, and sometimes that conflicts with the other partner's personal growth and change as well. It amazes me that my parents have been together for over 40 years and they love each other immensely and do things together. And I've been with my husband for 15 years and it's just not working because our goals aren't the same anymore. We're not the same people we were when we met.

    Sometimes people are lucky. They grow and change together. Perhaps it was that way years ago because the world was a bit smaller then.

    Just a thought.

  57. This month marks the 20th year of my fantastic relationship with a wonderful lady who's my best friend and my spouse. We love each other to pieces, have great chemistry, love spending time together, and share many interests and friends (though not all - we still have our own independent things, too).

    And you know what? Keeping the relationship up IS STILL LOTS OF WORK!

    (In fact, I think keeping ANY relationship up is lots of work. Or, looked at another way, the relationship IS the work, and if you stop doing the work, the relationship doesn't exist.)

    One thing we went through, that we think has helped our relationship stay strong in the long run, is this: we broke up in the first few years of our relationship, including me moving halfway across the country.

    That breakup didn't really take - and we had the experience of realizing that being apart from each other wasn't the recipe for happiness.

    So when we got back together (our friends would claim that we never really broke up, but we sure thought we had) we knew that when we had problems or frustrations with each other, we'd better put in the effort to work it out, because just walking away wasn't an option.

    And that attitude - knowing that it is OK to be mad/frustrated/unhappy at each other WITHOUT having to worry that the relationship at stake - has helped us actually admit when we ARE mad etc., so we can work it out. Instead of being in a position where we won't admit our feelings and deal with them, and having the bad feelings build up to the point where things are irreparable.

    Anyway, that's our story, and we're sticking to it! Best wishes for all of you starry-eyed romantics out there and I hope you someday find the happiness we have.

  58. I just recently lost my better half. She chose her job over me. It hurts like hell. I don't understand how things can fall apart so easily if the love is truly there. All this pain is ripping me apart. It's never easy. It's hard. It's painful. It can drive you insane. But, that's love. And even though I'm now scorned by love and I say that love is crap. I don't truly believe it. No matter what I say, love really is worth it. It's worth the pain. It's worth the tears. It's worth the sleepless nights. It's worth the anger. It's worth it all. I wish I wasn't hurting right now. But, I would never take back those moments that felt like pure bliss. She was my everything. Now that she's gone, I have nothing. It's up to me to change that. Because I AM worth it.

  59. I could honestly go on for days and weeks on the subject. I like a number of women who will never give me the time of day and usually that makes me sad and if dwelled upon long enough, really just makes me want to sit around and eat rocky road ice cream all day. But I guess, for what it's worth, I have to keep going on dates with all sorts of different women of all different backgrounds and cultures, creeds and mentalities, before I find the one I can stand for more than a month or two. Is she really out there somewhere? Goodness I hope so. Until then I guess I just have to keep that hope alive in my heart and that dream girl in my head until she comes along.

    Speaking of the above, and forgive me if I am out of line here but, I would love to take you out sometime Amber. I think we'd have fun. Who knows? Perhaps we might even have chemistry.

  60. I think this is a very good question, but my answer turned out to be longer then ten other answers combined. Instead of posting it here I sent it to you as a Facebook message. I'm not sure if you check those, but if you're curious and you feel like wading through it, take a look.

  61. Relationships are hard. My god how true. I've had my fair share of disasters. They're hard because we are all flawed. Broken. Hurt. Bruised from life. We're delicate, fragile, hopeful, sensitive and often damaged. Get into the wrong relationship and it causes such pain. Finding the right one will heal our wounds. But the right one? I suspect they are as rare as brilliant gemstones, hens teeth and lotto wins. Even if you have a gemstone - how do you know?

  62. I have just left a relationship of over 10 years... We never argued, we made each other laugh, we had enough similarities & differences to keep from getting bored of each other, but six or so months ago that all-important 'spark' (whatever that may be) just upped and left. We both felt it go, we fought for it to stay all these months, but it was out of reach.

    About three months after the spark's departure, and without even looking for it, I fell in love - like 'BAM'. Not the kind of love that grows over time, like I'm used to - an actual (apologies for the reference) Spike-esque moment of all-encompassing realisation. Now, although there is no reciprocation of those feelings, the fact that I had them at all made me feel alive and ready to move on.

    So, here I am. Simultaneously utterly distraught, yet thoroughly excited by the prospect of the changes ahead.

    I never wanted to do as my parents did, and stay too long in a relationship to the point of hatred, resentment & anger. So we will part as friends, and hopefully find that 'spark' somewhere in our next chapters.

  63. Sometimes its not enough just to have that mutual attraction. In all great relationships I find there must be a connection that's more than that. You need to be connected Biologically, physically, psychologically and technically. You need to be under each others skin, understand the working of each others brains and most of all be able to work out each others reactions. Its hard work and i think maybe sometimes we can be a little lazy.

  64. "timing and chemistry" might be a good recipe for sex, but relationships are maybe a bit different, once you've found a potential partner.

    Compromise, communication, shared values, similar attitude to the big stuff like money (some people are laissez faire, some want to account for every penny, shared/individual bank accounts etc). Agreed deal breakers. Mutual respect and honesty. Having fun and not taking everything too seriously. All things that may or may not help.

    Whatever works, I guess. Welcome to being a grown-up, free to make your own mistakes, for better and worse. Good luck on the journey!

  65. Joe aka AmberAddictJanuary 7, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    Well for a host of reasons which I won’t go into here I’m no expert on relationships and I could be stating the obvious (if so sorry) but here’s my limited take on it.

    It seems to me attraction, similar, interests and passions sometimes aren’t enough. At some point many couples want different things it then becomes a question of which person is prepared to compromise/sacrifice for the other and if they love the person enough to do that.

    I don’t have any answers for you I’m afraid but I hope you figure it out Amber!

    PS Happy Birthday for tomorrow!

  66. There’s so much to work through. Trust has to build again, on both sides…you have to learn if you’re even the same people you were, if you can fit in each other’s lives, it’s a long and important process and can we just skip it? Can you just be kissing me now?

  67. You have to be willing to wait out the tough times. Also, if you're waiting for Mr/Ms perfect, it's going to be a long wait. The key to a good relationship imo is find someone who makes you laugh and supports you when fall down. If he/she does both of those things then they are a keeper. My husband makes me laugh more then anyone else, and hugs me when I need it as well.

  68. the 1 thing that makes relationships so difficult is because being IN love is one of the hardest things ppl will ever have to endure..

    (ps: we're not talking about loving or being loved, but the rollercoaster of emotion you have to go through and all the different stages of being in love)

    at least that's what we think :-)


  69. Why are relationships hard? Because one or both persons in the relationship FORGET. We forget how much we loved at the beginning. We forget how much the other person means and meant. We forget that every moment of everyday we are so blessed. And then one day it is gone. It can fade away or come to a catastrophic crashing down spiral of horror and pain. Either way when it is gone we spend hours and days remembering, too late, too late. To end on a positive note, I guess you just hope the best of the other, and thank God for the years you had.

  70. The world is full of ironies when it comes to relationships. Secretly and not-so-secretly (especially when I'm stupidly frustrated and lash out while storming through the apartment on a cleaning binge), I wonder if the relationship I've been in for the last 4.5 years is the one I am supposed to be in.

    But what does "supposed to be in" even mean? The universe gives you endless possibilities and, logically, there is more than one outcome. God doesn't play dice with the universe... yadda yadda, before I start confusing myself, I'll get back to what I wanted to say.

    The hardest part about relationships for me now is the fact that I have to question myself so much because I am afraid of things out of my control not working. Love in an economic recession is really difficult and things you optimistically refuse to imagine being a threat become real. Throw that in with being a closeted lesbian couple without the opportunity to be open about the struggle, and what the fear of losing the person you sleep next to every night and the cats that curl at your feet does to your stress levels, your rapid weight gain and loss, and the elasticity of the skin on your face.

    Go figure that you find someone perfect for you, who loves you for who you are, appreciates you, and pushes you to be more and want more for yourself and the world challenges you to keep them. But this is the thing, this is what I have had to keep telling myself. The universe is indifferent. No matter what the circumstances are, everyone has a fighting chance to be together if it's right and if it's who you feel like you are supposed to be with. You both have to work to make it work.

    Still, I'll remain optimistic that I can give the universe the bird and take control of what I can.
    If this month ends and I still have no steady source of income, then we've lost our battle and our relationship is over. I'm praying that January be kind so that I don't have to lose what I love most in the world. The universe can be indifferent but I refuse to be. I think that's what love and relationships really need to work.

    Of course, the month isn't over yet and I could likely come back here and rage about how the universe really sucks. Maybe it is all just a toss up.

  71. If we could all get past the idea that the end of a relationship is a failure state, we might be a lot happier. And attraction and shared interests aren't the only components of compatibility; in the long-term, acceptance, forgiveness and compromise count for almost as much.

  72. A relationship is hard when it's broken. Through my 39 years so far, I have had a multitude of relationships. Friendships, family, lovers and ONE fiance. I can say, they were hard when they were SERIOUSLY broken. I have worked VERY hard mantaining SOME of those relationships. But, honestly, I do not have the "anything worth having is worth fighting for" attitude anymore.

    I have seen MANY relationships through my work in hospice. I see relationships at their MOST strained. Estranged children, bitter spouses and the like. A true GOOD relationship is RARE. I have seen them, and they have made me weep. Husbands and wives still in BIG TIME love at 80 and 90. STILL looking at each other like newlyweds. It's crazy.

    Maybe it's just dumb luck.

    Good luck.

  73. I think Disney has a lot to answer for.

    We are told that we can ONLY be happy when we find a partner to settle down with. So we rest the responsibility of our happiness squarely on someone else's shoulders.

    We are told that all of our problems will disappear once we find THE ONE and settle down.

    In a world of instant gratification (the internet age) and Disney-fied fairy tales (Mulan anyone...), our expectations are sometimes beyond ridiculous.

    There's no magic pill/potion for day to day problems. My mortgage isn't going to disappear because I'm in love. My responsibilities don't diminish because I got married.

    The only thing that will keep my relationship going is honesty. Honesty with myself and honesty with my partner.

    I think we all need to learn about ourselves and be honest about what we NEED (not want) in a partner before we try to lump someone else with our neuroses.

  74. Amber -
    Getting together with someone who is right is difficult. Staying together is a hell of a lot harder.... sometimes impossible.
    After 27 years together, I think the real secret that Pat and I have is that we never take each other for granted.
    It's the simple things. I feel like a coffee, I always ask if she'd like one. She brings me coffee in the morning because she has to be up for work about an hour before I do. If I go to bed after she has and she's asleep, I see if she's warm enough... if she isn't, I put my dressing gown on top of her and give her a gentle hug (mustn't wake her!) We always say please and thank you - and mean them. We laugh at each other's jokes... because even though we've heard them hundreds of times, they are still funny! We take it in turns to decide what we'll have for dinner. We happily tolerate each other's self-indulgent interests... and sometimes find that actually, they are good fun! We know neither of us is perfect, or even close, and that's fine.
    None of these things require any real effort... apart from caring.
    Good luck Amber! And Happy 21st Birthday (again, haha)

  75. There's some real wisdom on here. I don't know if I can add much else to it but I used to be very cynical about relationships until the past few years, during which I've been single and started really enjoying it. I can feel the change from before when I used to get into relationships very quickly and then start wishing I hadn't.

    In the last few years I've made a few amazing female friends, ones that I perhaps wouldn't have made if I'd been with someone else all this time. I may have, I can't really say. They perhaps filled that perceived 'gap' that I would have usually filled with a relationship. Now I have such wonderful, intense, close friendships that while I'd like to meet someone 'special' one day, I'm not waiting for someone to fill a gap.

    I may live out my entire life being free and having intense friendships, I may meet someone I can get closer to, and who I let close to me. Thing is, I'm kinda fine with both, but if I do meet someone, I know now how valuable my sense of independence and self is, so although I'm still a little cynical, I'm open to anything love has in store for me.

  76. Amber, sometimes it (love, infatuation, crushes, etc.) aren't enough. And as sad as that is, it's sadly just the truth.

  77. Why are relationships so hard? It's a good question. It's not one that science can answer, like "why is the sky blue?", nor is it one that is answered through faith, like "is there a God?". Instead, it's one that is answered through time and experience.

    Even the best relationship I've been a part of, in my 34 years on the planet, required work. Ultimately, it ended and I lost my girlfriend, who was my best friend and my lover. Circumstances dictate a lot of it, I think. Different circumstances and situations show you if you and your partner are compatible. Sometimes, you might not be compatible in various situations (like long-distance, for example), but sometimes that might never come up. What might be an amazing relationship long-distance might fall to pieces if transplanted locally and vice-versa.

    So I think relationships are so hard because it's always going to be a shifting of variables, ever in motion, never the same. Compatible ideas, values and behaviours will change based on those variables, those circumstances.

    Whenever I think about relationships and such, I always remember Jay Leno's comment about how he's been married for decades: "I really think the key to a long and healthy marriage is that, honestly, there's nothing worth fighting about. If Mavis is so upset and wants something badly enough to fight about it, then she can have it!"

    If you and your partner can agree to disagree, or you can always put your feelings for your partner above the need to be right... then you're probably off to a good start. :)

  78. I think that by the time we have grown up and are technically ready for a relationship, we already are broken and so scrambled it'll take us the rest of our life to make some sense of ourselves, to fix something here and there, to actually come to a halfway easy truce with ourselves - in short, get to the point were we can co-exist with ourselves, that it seems like an impossible proposition to have it function properly or long-term by involving a total unknown into this equation on top of it all. Of course, it could still work out - in movies, in books, in our daydreams... and sometimes, if we're really lucky, in real life.

  79. Relationships are always hard, if it isn't then you're doing something wrong. I know can't speak for everyone just from my expierence. I'll be 34 next month and at that time I will have been married for half of my life. I married my husband when I was 17, still a senior in high school and no I wasn't pregnant. At the time my mom was terminally ill with cancer and with a dad that was non existant I wanted her to see me get married.

    Thinking back I know I missed out on a few things that most folks my age at the time enjoyed. I wouldn't change anything. I hadn't known him long, but seeing the way he helped me care for my mom was enough for me to know that he was the one I wanted be with.

    There have been times that he's been my worst enemy, but for the most part he's always been my best friend. We've both learned from the mistakes we've made and next September will be our 17th anniversary. We have three incredibly wonderful kids who are the best part of both of us. It hasn't always been easy but it's always been worth it.

    I lost my mom 8 months after my wedding. There's a lot she never saw me do, but the main thing I wish was that she could see me be a mom.

    If it's meant to be, it will. But it takes work on both parts. You just have to figure out if the one you're with is worth the work it takes to stay together.

  80. My wife and best friend left me 18 months ago, after being together for 20 years, for someone she met on Facebook. It's been very hard. I think relationships get messed as soon as you mmove from unconditional love to trying to change someone. Also when people build resentment, act selfishly, and respect goes out the window. How the hard things in life were handled by all of the characters on Buggy has given me a lot of strength and courage. Your show was important in lots of ways. Ronald F.

  81. That would be Buffy not Buggy. :) Autocorrect sucks. Ronald F.

  82. Ok, so finally got to my comp. This (again) is going to be a know how i Its been a long day... anyways, you know the "love' that everyone talks about in movies/books/tv? I had that. It was like something off a cinema and it was love, not lust. Granted, there was some lust mixed in there, but it was love.
    So I should preface this w/ I was abused in many ways until I was 17. I met her when I was 18. She brought me through a lot of the healing I needed to after my father left. I was also a cutter. I would use cutting as a way to have some control over something in my life. One day, she came to my house unannounced & found my sitting with a razor to my legs - she covered me with her body & even ended up getting cut herself. We both knew that there was something between us from the moment we met. However, I was still pretending to be a dedicated Christian & she had just come out of a bad relationship. For a year we danced around each other - we became best friends. One night almost a year to the day that we met, a bunch of us got drunk & she kissed me. That summer we went through so much together- coming out to our families, getting shunned from our church, losing out families, etc. When I was with her, it was like everything else in the world just fell away. Nothing else mattered but her & me & that moment. We were together for 3 years. We moved in together, we said vows to each others & we were starting to talk about artificial insemination so that we could have a baby. Even after the "new-ness" of everything wore off, we still had so much passion, Chemistry & love. We were like magnets. When I moved, she followed. When she moved, I followed.
    Well, one day her mom asked her to come visit for a weekend, so she did. When she came home, she was conflicted & things between us began to fall apart. Her family is a cult. They brainwashed her. I lost her. She tore my soul into shreds with words & actions during the last spring/summer we were together. I began drinking & doing cocaine...sleeping around. It wasn't a good time in my life.

  83. Part 2

    It's been 4 years. She still contacts me here & there- even though I ask her not to. She is no longer the same person. She seems possessed even. She was my soul-mate. She was my everything. I am in a relationship now w/ a girl that she (this girl) had cheated on me with during that one Spring. Its more or less for comfort. I love her but there is nothing here. I realize that I will never have that back. I was lucky to have it for a few, short years but I will never find it again. So I am destined to walk day to day remembering the power of her kiss, the comfort of her touch and the electricity of her love. I can still feel her each day. Its almost like I can feel that she's trapped & she wants out but she has no way out because she is too far brainwashed.
    I believe for relationships to work, both people must want it more than anything. It can't be half-assed. And my god if you are consumed by someone - never let them go. Do everything you can to hold onto them even if it nearly kills you. I would do anything to have that feeling again - & if I would ever find it, I would do anything to keep it. Love is not only a feeling, but it is a choice. We chose to love. So many people chose other things ahead of love - but without love...what do you have? Nothing. Relationships do not work for many many reasons, but mostly it is because one party allows something to become more important.
    I don't know why finding that person is so hard. I found the thing most people dream about at such a young age & it was stripped from me. I doubt I will ever find it again. But never lose hope because it does exist. That feeling that is in the cinema...that you see in books & between exists. You must keep hope. Hope is what keeps that line flowing.
    Well that is my story. I am proud because I didn't cry like a baby. Only a few small tears. I can still remember her face. The sad part is my gf is lying in bed sleeping next to me - & yet I'm still remembering the girl that was my all. =)
    Keep faith Amber....please....he's out there.

  84. It's just compromise, or in my case, just give in every time. Never get ur own way and all will be fine, works for me, seven years and countin, xx nilesy xx

  85. 84 comments? Good Lord.

    Well, why relationships don't work...probably because we're just not perfect. It's stupid and weird and completely illogical...but that's just it. We're too human to ever make things work. Ever.

  86. ... And it is for this reason that I am 19, and have been single my entire life. It may not sound too crazy, but when so many people around me are dating, it feels like I"m the odd one out.
    But really, I've seen too many relationships go downhill to be very interested in one. I've seen so many girls dangle their hearts on a string, begging anyone to snatch it up, only to completely fall to pieces over this relationship a month later--and not in a good way. I don't know. I can't figure it out.
    But these all these comments on this blog are wonderful :) Entertaining and very lovely to read and puzzle over. Thanks, everyone :)

  87. All relationships are hard. Your mother, your father, siblings, friends, lovers. At one point or another you have yelled at them, loved them, been jealous of them, stopped talking to them, cried with them; list the range of human emotion. I know you were looking specifically at romantic relationships, but I have never seen the difference. You are still one soul trying to connect to another in the midst of chaos. Nothing in this life is easy. If we are given the day, in which we wake up, from then on it is an effort. And no, many things will not go how you planned, how you wished. Sometimes the work and struggle lead to something so small in comparison, you wish you had never tried. Sometimes, it does lead to something wonderful. Happiness, bliss. And even if that bliss is short, even if it only lasts a moment in your life, when things get bad, it is what you think of. That is what you remember. And no, sometimes two people madly in love still cannot make things work. Sometimes, we simply are not supposed to. Sometimes, we are still only human.

    Relationships are hard, because so is everything else.

  88. In arranged marriages (I've heard from Indian friends), the average couple are about as happy as those in non-arranged marriages.

    The feeling of "being in love" is very obsessive, hormone-driven, non-rational, short-term condition, that doesn't necessarily lead to good marriages or long-term happiness.

    I prefer to think of "love" as a verb. You can choose to cherish and love someone who can love you. [It's rather a waste to love someone who can't love you back.]

    Over the years, loving can become deeper and more comfortable. Respect yourself and your partner. Learn how to disagree and argue while continuing to love your partner.

    Breaking up because an arbitrary rule is broken seems like a common tragedy, perhaps happening more in fiction than real life. Some rules are not arbitrary: an abuser is not someone we should live with.

    Most importantly: everyone is "broken" in some way. No one is perfect, no relationship is perfect. Don't waste your life looking for perfect time, perfect situation, perfect partner.

    If you want children, pay attention to your biological clock. My wife postponed having children, looking for a perfect situation (which meant "owning a house"), and is now infertile and the "perfect situation" we waited for became a bad situation.

  89. I comment through this with one of my own poems "copyright Chantal Franken" "I love you"

    You warm my heart with pure delight.
    You make me smile,
    when you are in my sight.
    I am in love with you,
    and that is all that counts.

    You are,
    lovely, funny and intelligent.
    You are,
    mesmerizing, beautiful and kind.
    I dare you to love me,
    that is all I want.

    Your eyes,
    are one of a kind.
    your eyes,
    make me smile.
    Your eyes,
    are a true perfection,
    and reflection of your,
    beauty inside.

    I think about you,
    all the time.
    It doesn't matter,
    where I am or go,
    cause in my mind,
    you are there with me.

    I love the way you walk,
    I adore the way you laugh,
    It's breathtaking for me to see you smile.
    The way you look at me,
    gives me the impression that,
    you might feel alike.

    I hope that I see this clearly,
    cause the thought of losing you,
    never seeing you again,
    makes me cry.

    It feels like I know you,
    all my life,
    and I don't so that's why,
    this feels so right.

    For the first time in my life,
    you make me feel right.
    My whole body and soul tremble,
    and it's you who makes me feel very alive.

    I can honestly say,
    that I need you in my life,
    cause without you,
    I would feel lost.

  90. I believe that relationships are so hard because as individuals, you have needs that you want to be met. When you mix that with another person who has their own needs that want to be met, there will be times where someone may lose out. Compromise is needed, but then who ends up compromising the most?

  91. Commitment and devotion for life, that's marriage. It's not one big date that doesn't end. You have to be prepared to give yourself totally, 100% to the partner you have chosen, and that person needs to give the same to you. Only when both of agree to surrender to each other and put aside the ego and short sighted, petty desires can the relationship be successful.

  92. because when we fall in love, we see in the other person, traits that we would like to be in ourselves. we project feelings of love onto that person based on how we see them, and for a while they are ideal. eventually this projection fades and we begin to see the real person, and this is when things get difficult, as we take issue with who the person really is. sometimes we might even resent the very qualities that first attracted us to this person, but that is only because we are now seeing the real person, not our ideal. if we are smart, we can look at these qualities and see that perhaps this other person is there to help us learn to adopt some of these qualities for ourself. this goes against who we believe we are, and so this is difficult for us, and eventually leads to tension within the relationship. i guess it takes a lot of work to fight against yourself and sometimes you end up fighting against your partner instead.

  93. There's so much involved in keeping a relationship once it's begun. Some relationships we just fall into; there we are, there the other person also is, and so circumstance (and sometimes inertia) keeps us united. Other times, we seek and seek and seek, only to turn and find out what we were seeking was somewhere roughly south and east of our current location the whole time.

    My own personal experience with this is that people have cycled in and out of my life as though they were circus acrobats riding unicycles: showing up when it suited them, and leaving when they'd gotten what they wanted from me.

    And I allowed that to happen, due to fear: fear of unworthiness, fear of loneliness, of being alone, and eventually dying unloved, uncared-for, childless, surrounded by dozens of cats and nothing and no-one else.

    I'm not alone; I'm just not "in a relationship". I'm sometimes lonely, but I have friends, wonderful children, and other family close by who all love and care for me. And of course, there are cats. =) Just not 'crazy cat lady' quantities of them!

    But to cut to the crux of the question...relationships are hard because we are the generation raised on romance novels. Boy meets girl (or boy), boy and girl (or boy, or girl and girl) fall in love, rent a U-Haul, move in together, get married (or not), and live happily ever after. And it almost never works like that in real life, and we spend a lot of wasted time wondering why not.

  94. I read a bunch of these responses but not all so I apologize if I repeat some things that others have said but I do agree with the previous replies that said people are too self-centered and we have way to many choices. "There are other fish in the sea." Well back before modern day transportation, the "sea" was limited to the local town you lived in. Waaaay smaller than the "sea" we have today ie the entire world. I think that on top of the facts that people nowadays are so concerned about themselves, what they want and how to things "should" be, makes it extremely difficult. I don't believe should be hard or extremely difficult if the other person is a good match (notice I didn't say perfect). Yes there are compromises and yes there are hard times but if there are more of those than good times then you have to either decide that you can live with it or move on. If you can live with it, sure it may change but you have to be ready to accept that it won't and live with that. I think that in the past when there were less choices people had higher tolerances for each other's differences and less expectations of what a relationship should be. I also wonder if people who lived in the same local area way back when had better chemistry because they all lived in the same area and had close bloodlines. Now that so many people move to so many different parts of the world maybe it's harder to find that right chemical match. I think it takes a few different key things to make a relationship work in this day age. They don't all have to be present but most of them have to be there... Chemistry, timing, selflessness and empathy. I think I'm really starting to ramble so I'm gonna stop but before I do, I'm gonna invalidate everything I just said because I'm going to mention that I have given up on finding anyone. Due to health related issues, money issues, general (self inflicted) feeling of alienation from anybody that I don't already know and a belief that this is real life which means that no one is guaranteed to find someone, I just want to try and enjoy the friendships that I have built and call it a life. Sorry if this is somewhat incoherent but I'm doing this on my phone and it's a huge PITA to go back and edit. That and one of my flaws is I ramble on and on at times. Good luck to you in you search. Hope you find someone that is so good for you that you never think of this question again.

  95. People are inherently dynamic. Every day, we have experiences that make us grow and change. If people were static, we would be boring. But the fact that we change makes relationships a lot harder.

    One thing that happens in a relationship is that two people change together because of common experiences. You grow closer. Living together, too, makes it easier for those changes to be the kind that keeps your life goals similar, and your values compatible. Easier, yes. Certain, no.

    A complication in all this is that nowadays both partners in a relationship have or want careers of their own. It's important for self-fulfillment, but can be stressful for a relationship. I'm not saying that careered individuals shouldn't couple, or that one person should give up a career to keep house. Certainly not. But jobs pull you in different directions. They cause you to change in different ways. And that's hard on a relationship.

    Of course, if I worked with my fiance, I think we'd drive each other crazy.

    Relationships are this crazy alchemy of friendship, emotional and sexual attraction, goals, values, timing, and compatibility as roommates. When people change, it throws off the balance. Even when two people like each other, even when two people love each other, they can change enough that the relationship becomes a source of strife instead of a source of comfort.

    That's why they're hard. At least, I think.

  96. When I was young I had no trouble being in some amazing relationships, many of which lasted for years. But then I got hurt, and I was much more cautious about being trusting and completely open, which I think you need to be if a relationship is going to work. I think we expect too much of others. We expect them to meet to many of our needs, when it is up to ourselves to meet those needs. I also think modern society makes it more difficult to stay connected. I have seen many, many times women hitting on married men and men hitting on married women. There seems to be no respect for boundaries.

    I was sitting in the airport last summer, chatting with my son and my foreign exchange student. We were about ready to leave for the East Coast to show my student Boston, NYC and Washington D.C. We were so excited, we couldn't stop talking about it. Seated across from us were a group of college kids ready to board the same plane as us. They were not talking to each other; instead they were texting or on their laptop. There was no connection amongst the group. We have let technology intrude to our social detriment. I see couples at restaurants not talking to each other, but texting others. We watch TV at dinner. Younger generations spend hours playing video games while the parents are on their laptops. Can we not see why we are finding it so hard to connect with others? I sometimes long for the days before computers and cell phones.

  97. Personally, I'd like to say that relationships always go off without a hitch, that it always goes according to the Hollywood romcom script, that nothing ever goes wrong - and when it does, it always turns out right.

    But then I'd be lying. ;P

    But in all seriousness, I think that the reason relationships are so hard, so painful, so heart-wrenchingly agonising, is that without the bad parts, the good parts wouldn't be worth nearly as much.

    Gah, I don't know. Something as headspinningly crazy as love and relationships can't really have just one answer.

    But there you go. Hope that helped :)

  98. Relationships don't have to be hard, in fact good relationships aren't hard at all.

    Choose a partner who has a similar education level (for some reason this is important), the same values and treat each other considerately.

    My partner and I have been together for 17 years, since we were 18 and 22 years old. In our experience it's not important to have the same interests, only the same values. We care for each other and the rest takes care of itself.

  99. The post mortem period just bites with infectious cat teeth. I hope you can gather up the useful bits and leave the rest. Sorry you have to go through it; I always think I am never going to do that again but given the chance I bet I would take the chance, again. Definition of insanity? Pathological hope? Fairytale complex? Whatever, I recommend cats... not cat bites though. To a better year.

  100. there are many parts to this, the first part being that we are an egocentric species or individuals...The world revolves around us, no matter what we may argue. Every action we take, every decision, is made to benefit us.

    the second part is that, too often we are thinking not with our brains but with our hormones

    thirdly, we think based off of social conditioning. Humans I do not think we ever meant to be in long term relationships, yes there are benefits to them, but after a while we grate on one another. Things we loved become things we cannot stand.

    Never mind the smells, the tastes, the behavioral moods.

    But we try.

    Well most of us try.

    Some people have a knack for putting up with other.

    Some have a knack for sleeping around.

    Some of us are just better off left alone.

    Then again, the thing is with relationships, like with anything else...if they come easy, if there is no struggle are they worth it?

    Through the fights, and arguments come learning for next time.

  101. My husband and I have been together since we were 16. We were each others' first real relationship... honestly, the first 3-4 months were difficult, and then that was that. We're 24 and married now, and it's honestly never difficult. That's not to say we don't argue on occasion... I guess we're just lucky. I might sound naive, but we've been together for 8 years, so I don't think that it's. I sure hope not.

  102. A relationship requires two things to make it work: One, for Person A to be willing to make it work; and two, for Person B to be willing to make it work. It's not easy, but it is simple. No matter what problems exist in a relationship, the relationship itself can survive if both parties are willing to work things out. Cheating? Couples can either decide to move past it or not. Finances? They can decide whether love is more important than money or not. Incompatibility? They can choose to love each other in spite of their differences or not. It all comes down to how willing both are to make things work.

    Unfortunately, people are so stuck up, arrogant, and "entitled" today that hardly anyone thinks they need to do anyone work. A problem crops up in the relationship, neither wants to admit they might be the source of the problem, and it destroys both of them. People today need to be more humble, more considerate, more introspective. We all need to be more willing to examine our own selves, recognize our own faults, and fix them. If we can't, then how can we expect anyone, even those who love us, to tolerate us at all?

  103. My Dearest Amber,

    I am not really sure where to begin, but I am starting to realize just how tentative and fragile relationships can be. One of my favorite books in the world is "The Little Prince" by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. In the book, the narrator encounters a small boy in the middle of the Sahara desert. Eventually, we find out that this little boy - this Little Prince - is visiting from a distant planet in the solar system.

    The planet that the Little Prince came from was no bigger than a house. Life was very monotonous for him until one day, a rose grew out of the soil. This rose completely captivated the Little Prince. He had never seen anything like her before. As a result, he watered her, protected her from caterpillars, and placed a glass dome over her at night. Eventually, he fell in love with her, but the rose was very vain and she ended up hurting him deeply. In a state of turmoil, the Little Prince decided to leave his planet in search of answers. He was confused by the rose and he felt he needed to learn how to love her.

    The Little Prince ends up traveling from planet to planet in search of answers, but he doesn't find any until he lands on earth. There, he encounters an entire row of rosebushes. At first, he's angry and upset because his rose told him that there was no other plant in the world like her. However, near the end of the book, he approaches the roses again and realizes that his rose is truly unique - because he loves her. It is then that he realizes his mistake - he left his rose behind to fend for herself. As a result, the Little Prince makes the decision to go back to his planet. I am not going to spoil the ending for you, but needless to say, it makes me cry every single time!

    I have no idea why I felt compelled to share this, but I truly hope that some part of it will resonate with you. The story really has touched me on so many different levels. Just remember that you are loved, Amber. You truly are - in so many different ways. Please hold on to that.

  104. Many ((((((((hugs)))))))) for you Amber. Breathe, in and out. Sleep, eat. Hang out with friends.

    And bask in the Happy Birthday! wishes from all your many fans... ;-)


  105. ...and also, of all the people currently on the planet, AAP 'This Day in History' chooses to highlight ~you~ on your birthday -

    That's pretty awesome in my book! :-)

  106. I was talking to my very cynical womanizing father about this in the car yesterday, and found myself saying that for a relationship to work you need so much patience and forgiveness and just plain hard work. I think a lot of the problem is that we're taught to expect it to be a case of falling in love and then everything being lovely and rainbows and whatnot, and the 'in love' thing carrying it all. But that's just not enough; of course being in love is handy, loving eachother is also pretty useful, but these things are nothing without a really strong friendship, of the sort which bends and heals around both people's pain and mistakes. I think at the root of it, the problem is that everyone's sad or not okay sometimes, and when we're sad we hurt people, we do self-destructive things which can sometimes be very difficult for the people who love us most to forgive. If you can be kind and understanding and forgiving enough to work your butt off healing over someone's unhappiness because you have faith in them, I think that's when your relationship works. I hope haha. Happy birthday, and enjoy your own company while you have it :)

  107. I think relationships are hard because it's a meshing of two people. Regardless of how similar the two individuals are, there will be differences that they have to accept, embrace, and work through.

    Diana and I have been working on this for like five years, and sometimes it's really challenging! There is a ton of patience involved, for sure.

  108. Not that I've had a relationship that's lasted for more than a few years, but here's my philosophy on the topic...

    I think that both people in the relationship must be willing to make sacrifices for their partner's happiness. Overcoming selfishness is difficult to do. Another piece to to puzzle is to for both people to naturally satisfy most (talking 60 to 70%) of each other's needs so that fewer sacrifices are needed from either party. Finally both people need to be open and honest about where they feel the relationship is at and where it's going. If there's not reasoble agreement on the state of the relationship, then both parties should be willing to call it off in a respectful way without placing blame.

    All of these things are tough to achieve, hence a great deal of the world's drama is due to at least one of those things not being right. This applies to love relationships, work relationships, friendships, etc. If that's worth two cents then I'll be surprised. ;-)

  109. Happy Birthday wishes.

    Your blog reads like a discussion with my oldest son. He a few years younger than you, but, in Arkansas, it appears that the ladies he meets (regardless of what they say) do not really want a self-supported, hardworking. nice guy. He can't figure it out either.

  110. People should come equipped with neon signs. When you meet someone your respective signs automatically flash up 'Yes, please', 'No thanks' or 'I have severe emotional problems, please come back in 3 months'.

  111. I think one aspect may be that we've been conditioned to believe that one person is supposed to be everything to us. The pressures and expectations that that idea creates lead to anger and disappointment when someone can't live up to that impossible standard.

    One of the many reasons I'm poly :)

  112. All relationships (romantic, friendship, family) NEED to be difficult or else we wouldn't realize how important they are. The trials we have in our relationships excersize them to be stronger. They teach us what true committment is. I truly believe that if two people are absolutely committed to each other and encourage eachother to be the greatest person they can, and keep good communication skills, then the relationship can withstand anything.

  113. Every relationship requires work but I think a strong foundation is key. Friends first is always good I think. There's no awkward beginnings and you can be more comfortable and more yourself around that person.

  114. > Raye said...
    > I'm 14, and I've never been in a relationship,
    > an I don't understand how they work.

    I am 49, have been in a few relationships, and STILL don't understand how they work. I'm not giving up on the idea, though, even if I have a less-than-zero chance of finding Miss Right (or even Miss Close-Enough).

  115. Side note: I remember seeing somewhere that arraigned marriages have a significantly lower rate of failure. Don't know why or even if it's accurate, but I think there might be something said in looking into it.

  116. I think all the game-playing can bugger things up, sometimes. I swore off the relationships where I was just supposed to 'know' things, on the basis that I'm not a mind-reader, so if my other half wants me to know things, she'll have to tell me - and if I'm not told, I can't be held responsible for not knowing! Luckily I met someone who had also done that, and we've been married for three years now. Only two rows in the 5 years we've been together, both very early on and both about washing-up. Our solution is that she does that and I do the vacuuming! We talk about everything else, as it comes up, so stuff never gets big enough to hurt us.

  117. I'll leave a simple response. Because it makes it all worth it when you finally find the one that lasts. Without the hardness of it all, without the failure and disappointment, how do you know that what you have is anything special when it finally does work out?

  118. I think the reason relationships are so hard (believe me, even the perfect ones are hard), is because if you're willing to work through the hard parts, it shows the commitment and dedication levels of both parties. It also makes the easy parts of the relationship so (SO) much better.

    There are points in life where money is the problem, where renovating a home is hell (such hell), where living situations cause tension, and when family problems or beliefs get in the way of you and your partner. But when you get through those tough moments, not only are the two of you stronger as individuals, but you've had someone who has gone through the same difficulty with you, that you can look back on together and say "wow. we got through that, and are still together".

    It's worth the wait. And it's worth the relationships that didn't make it through, because you have the experience when you go through it with the right person, and know how to get through it this time.

    Sorry that I babbled. :/

  119. Courtney_grady@twitterJanuary 8, 2012 at 8:51 PM

    I believe it is the same with most things in life, if things come to easily (without challenge) they often times are not appreciated. To quote a great movie "the hard is what makes it great"

  120. I believe it is simply is loving more and one is trying harder, which causes division.

    Sometimes that division is loud and crashing, and sometimes it is quiet and cordial!

    However, in the end there is always division. One sided we fail. Divided we fall! :-(

  121. Sometimes you think u know a person when you really have no idea.

  122. I don't know why relationships are so hard.
    I've been with the same woman for over 18 years and
    it never seems easier. We have been living
    apart for over 1 1/2 years due the chronic illness of her homophobic mother. (she's living with her now)
    Even same sex relationships are hard. But, as hard as it is...I love her...

  123. There's also a [perception gap; if the other person is really totally not whom they seemed, to you, to be, no amount of working will change that. Likewise, if two people just cna't grasp each toehr's thinking in anyway.

    not that i plan on trying again- once burned 8 times as shy, for me. -DaddyCatALSO

  124. I completely understand your frustration. I'm doing a long-distance thing, and none of the things I thought would be a problem are, but things I never thought about are cropping up. I thought if I could finally get a guy who understood all of the quirky, weird things that pass through my mind and not only accepted it, but liked it, then the hardest part would be over. Not so...

    Still, no matter how hard it's been or how hard it gets, I see so many friends of mine who are living a fairy tale that I can't help but believe that when it's right, it's easy even when everything else is hard. Cause nothing else matters as much as being with the other person.

    Case in point: two of my best buddies from college who were in my little crew suddenly realized they loved each other right before they graduated. And since then, they've had all kinds of drama, with her going to law school and being pregnant during the bar exam and him having to be Mr. Mom so that she could go work like a dog at a big law firm to pay off her student loans... But through it all, they loved and supported one another. Because being together and being there for each other was so much more important to them than all the rest of the nonsense.

    It seems like that's rare, but to be honest, I think it just takes the patience to keep trying to ferret out the real thing instead of settling for a cheap imitation.

  125. I think it's a question of maturity and realism. There are sexual and emotional components. Sex fades and partners are usually together because they need different things, emotionally. The main thing is recognizing that, by putting the other person first (and them, you), you actually increase the amount your needs are met... assuming that they are mature enough to reciprocate.

    Infinite f u ck i n g patience is required. Once you achieve that, you can move forward. Don't talk back, hold your anger, make jokes at the right time, be very affectionate, be understanding, listen...

    In my experience, most people with relationship problems are either, themselves, consciously or unconsciously trying to hold out for something better, or are involved with someone doing that... or both. Recognizing your dark side... and, more importantly, recognizing that you really aren't going to get anything better, makes it all go so much better.

  126. So many's interesting how the same stories repeat themselves. Good and bad. I feel like I have a little more insight into the question...and maybe the beginnings of some answers, too.

  127. nice idea, thanks for sharing...

  128. Relationships are stupidly hard. Every relationship in my life has been more painful than happy, except for flings and one person who killed himself, so I don't even have the chance to be with him anymore. When I think about our love, it reminds me of a dream because it was too good to be real.

    Relationships are hard because in North America marraige was invented by men to own women, just so they could keep track of their sons. When men started earning more money, they wanted somebody to pass it down to. Women felt it was their job to make a man happy, so realtionships worked...for men. Now, women have more rights and freedom and I think most of the problems come from this change. Men can't handle it. Men still want a certain kind of girl, but women aren't those girls anymore. Women are more individual, whereas before, just men had "valuable" thoughts. So, now there are two, indivdual people trying to be one person--it isn't going to work. It won't work until men realize that women are people first, not girlfriends or wives.

    All of the meanings of life have already been sucked out by past generations or we have examined the crap out of those meanings to the point that they are not meaningful anymore, and we can't decide on unified meanings to replace the ones we shattered--- we are all ourselves.

  129. I have not had much experiences in relationships, but I have been reading a lot about this topic and I find it very interesting.

    I believe the love in general is something that should be freely offered and expressed, not conditioned and suppressed, like it so often is in society. Almost like we're afraid to show our love for others (never say "I love you" too soon!), but we want to so badly....and it can be so exciting when we meet someone whom we can finally share our love and feelings and joy with, because, especially at the beginning of "Falling in love" with someone else, all the barriers and customs are knocked down and now our soul is free!

    Of course, what happens afterwards can make this love turn into fear, jelousy, obsession, etc., very quickly....My guess is that the fear that we initially had to love another comes back, but now there is also the fear of loss, not just the fear of rejection. The idea that if we lose our partner, or we don't make our partner happy, or we don't feel lik we're treating them good enough, then they might leave us, and if they leave us, then how will we share love anymore?

    And finally, the compulsion to blame each other or attach one's self to the other is very common, I would think. The feeling of need for the other; the pain that comes with being away from (or breaking up with) your partner. And this, I think, has to do more with expectation and ideas about each other. If only we can see each other as they really are, then we will have so much more to love about them, and so much more love to share with them.

    So, in short, the kind of relationship I would want with somebody is one free of judgement or fear (I know, it is difficult, which is precisely what this blog seems to address!). One where it is okay to feel how you feel and be how you are. Imagine when two people who are totally happy without anyone come together and this not the love that we all seek?:)

    Just some thoughts; I hope it helps!

  130. Relationship won't be hard if you would understand each other. Give and take relationship. Listen's to his opinion.

  131. Wow. I guess I have been lucky. My husband and I have been married for 36 years and we are more in love today than we were on the day we married! We have no secrets. We tell each other everything. Yes, the good, the bad and the ugly. Selfishness tries to creep in and we have our bad moments, but in the end, we choose to love each other more than ourselves. We choose to put each other first over anything else. Love is a choice and both people in the relationship must choose to put the other first.

  132. Well since this has gotten so much attention and I happened to stumble upon it, I though I mine as well put my two-cents worth in.

    Relationships suck, the are hard and heartbreak happens. I'm a lesbian, and you would think being a lesbian would actually make a relationship easier. Truth is it's no easier. I was in a relationship for four years and ended up with a broken heart. She cheated on me and it was for the best in the end. But I still love her.

    Relationships are never easy. And in all reality it's tough work. Plus I'm young, I'm only 21. So I don't have a ton of relationship experience. But a four year relationship is something, unless you add long distance relationships, but those really aren't real.

    They are hard work it's that simple. I've quit looking and decided to let love find me. Truth of the matter is sometimes you have to sit back and let love find you.

  133. In my humble opinion, relationships are hard because the individuals in the relationship have expectations of what should be, rather than what (just) is.

  134. I started writing a response to this at the time it was published, but then I got distracted ... but saved the notes as I often do.

    Then I wrote them into a ramble I read at my wedding. Since you inspired it, I thought you might like to read it:

    This is taken from the book The Unpublished Blog-Related Ramblings of Trevel, Volume 8. Available in all ficticious bookstores that have long given up the idea of actually making money.

    "Why can't relationships just be easy?"

    Our hero, sitting quietly alone in his room, read this and realized that he - he was in a relationship, and had personally led previous ones into greatness, like shining Titanics sailing ever into the iceberg of glory. And more, he was that wisest of things: a young white male anonymized by the internet. Surely this seemingly rhetorical question had actually been meant for him.

    So, pausing the Simpsons episode where Homer becomes a pie-themed superhero, he typed:

    Because people are complicated. Because we have emotions and don't always realize that they change how we think. Because we're trying to be with someone with whom we're completely unsuited to live with. Because one person got successful, and another didn't. Because letting things go is the hardest thing anyone can do. Because life isn't fair. Because you never got over your high school crush. Because it only worked on paper. Because you don't love yourself. Because your life is chaotic and you wanted stability, and theirs was just as chaotic. Because you were both so busy trying to be who you thought the other wanted you to be that you didn't leave yourselves room to be yourselves. Because it's impossible for two people to prefer the same temperature. Because we're optimistic. Because we're pessimistic. Because life sucks sometimes and close people make good targets.

    Relationships are hard because we cling to them as if they're the only thing that can hold us afloat. Relationships are hard because you're two different people, and you'll never really be one. You'll never really know what the other one is thinking. You'll never want exactly the same things.

    Relationships are hard because we try to use them to define ourselves.

    Relationships are hard because partners know our flaws, and won't always let us lie to ourselves about not having any. And sometimes they're completely wrong but think they know, anyways. And not a one of us knows for certain which times are which.

    Relationships are hard because we share our souls with another, and even when they're over some of each soul remains in the other. The fingerprints will remain forever.

    Relationships are hard because friends take sides.

    Relationships are hard because you win arguments.

    Relationships are hard because people don't cuddle enough.

    ... at this point Our Hero was tragically distracted by an incoming instant message inviting him to play the latest online multiplayer video game, and this important nugget of wisdom remained unfinished and, alas, unpublished.

  135. I fugure relationships are hard because we have too many options and we are all about ourselves, and our needs. This coupled with poor choice (because I believe there are some people who are right for you and plenty more who aren't, and often times we are with people who are not right for us, be it because they are not really into us or because our personalities just cannot work together), poor communication and a lack of commitment.

    If you find someone whose personality works with yours, who wants to be with you as much as you want to be with them, and who is willing to communicate towards making the relationship a happy and successful one, you will weather the hard times and have a loving relationships.

  136. Hmnmm....I think using the following rules as a guide has helped me:

    1. Always have each other's back - especially against members of each partner's original nuclear family.

    2. Realize that becoming a couple changes everything. Avoid or distance yourselves from people who do not acknowledge and support that change. (Example: Friends who want one of the partners to go out every night just like he/she did before). Flee from people who want to undercut the relationship (there are more of these than one realizes).

    3. Enjoy one another. For some reason people find that tough to do.

  137. 'Cause people are stupid.

  138. women are the ones making it very hard for us straight guys looking for love again, especially after a divorce. women today seem to want to date as many guys as they can, instead of just having one.

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  161. I have done it, cracked the code, i have figured out why exactly relationships do or do not work and i have proof, a year and a half relationship with a woman which is better now then its ever been and that is the on going trend i and she keeps seeing!
    How does it work?
    These concepts make it happen, but of course this is after the couple is a couple, involved and interested... mostly anyways!
    Appreciation, its liquid love, its where love come from actually, when people practice appreciation falling in love can be a daily thing, take daily time, real time to think about all the things you appreciate about your partner, this is VITAL, you do it automatically in ways and thought when you meet them and fall in love at first.. but most people are not self trained to continue on with this.
    Communication... vital for obvious reasons!
    Understanding, this concept is married to communication or neither works correctly.
    Respect and honor.
    Instead of counting the flaws in your partner, count what you like about them, challenge yourself and make it a habit.
    Be partners romantically AND be there friend.
    last but not least... learn to make yourself happy, your partner may make you happy by being who they are, but its really up to you to create your own happiness, they just come along for the ride.
    These things have been invaluable in our relationship and is standing the test of time and guess what, as we do all of this, it is easy, if you think about each of these concepts you can easily see how two people following these steps can live a long healthy loving life together... and i have and am living this as proof!

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  165. I havent had a girlfriend in years. And all the girls I liked eventually turned out to have a boyfriend, so they were more on the straight side. I cant even imagine now how it can happen that two people are in love with each other, AT THE SAME TIME, that is truly a miracle in my opinion. I think it's even harder when you're gay and many girls are straight.
    I wonder if I will have a long-term relationship after all at some point. When I grew up it was so clear to me. Mommy and daddy were married and supposed to stay together forever. I thought that's how relationships work, but it seems it is not guaranteed that everyone finds their 'soulmate' or whatever, so I try to focus on the positive sides of being single, in case I'll never find a love (that's forever).
    And I watch all the Willows and Taras-stories to compensate for my inner longing that is not being fullfilled.

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