Why Are Relationships So Difficult?

relationships difficultWhy do so many people find relationships challenging? I regularly hear people describing relationships as stressful, draining, or exhausting. Most people seem to feel that relationships are worth maintaining. But wouldn’t it be nice if relationships were a little easier?

We expect more from relationships these days than our parents and grandparents expected. Our family and friends are more than just a source of company and practical support. We want deep, meaningful connections. We want emotional safety. We want to be loved and accepted for who we really are.

And yet, all too often, we find ourselves dealing with excess emotional drama, or tolerating shallow, unsatisfying interactions. Friends require us to suppress our genuine wants and needs to “fit in”. Our families expect certain things from us, and make our lives miserable if we don’t deliver. Our lovers try to control us. 

And what happens when we find a beautiful, empowering person as a friend or lover, who is actually willing and able to accept us just the way we are? Suddenly we are gripped by internal resistance – fear, shame, or inhibitions. Given the opportunity to experience what we most want, we hesitate. We doubt. We hedge.

Relationship Mistakes

I see people making two major mistakes in dealing with relationships. First, they blame other people. And second, they blame themselves. 

The truth is, nobody is to blame. We all grew up in a culture which punishes us for being ourselves. We learn at an early age that it is dangerous to just act spontaneously. Take any two people, block them from being themselves and acting spontaneously, and the relationship is going to be difficult. 

We will find relationships difficult until we reconnect with our authentic self, and our authentic needs and wants. Relationships can be clean, simple, and empowering when we are actually in them as our authentic selves.