As you probably know or are about to discover, common relationship problems start shortly after you move in together with your spouse. If in the initial stage of romantic love you've easily overlooked your partner's flaws, when the first stage of infatuation inevitably ends reality sets in and problems begin surfacing.
But what you've never been told is that this is the typical 'power struggle', the second phase of any relationship, a troubled - but necessary (like puberty) - developmental stage.
The illusion that romantic love lasts forever, that true love does not require any work is the main cause of most common relationship problems you - like virtually all couples - are faced with. During this phase your brain stops releasing the 'feel-good' chemicals that were high during the infatuation stage.
Where your partner once used to spend lots of time with you, now she may be unavailable or preoccupied.
If you were once thoughtful and interested in what she had to say, now you may have become impatient or unresponsive.
If you are like most people in the beginning of the power struggle stage, a conflict may explode all of a sudden or you might start feeling restless or dissatisfied gradually. Sometimes your partner says or does something which makes you feel hurt or unfairly treated.
You are probably wondering where have all the boundless tenderness and love, all the fun, laughter, and sexual desire disappeared? Were you actually right in attracting your soulmate?
...sharing finances, ego hassles, household work, friends, in-laws, ex-spouses, stepchildren, annoying personal habits, and more often than not, lack of knowledge about essential relationship principles. These are just a few examples but there can be other factors as well.
In any case, after the conflicts arise you experience a sense of loss and betrayal; things that you once liked about your partner now frustrate you. She makes mountains out of molehills and being right (or accurate) becomes more important for you than collaborative teamwork. Differences that were overlooked in the beginning, now are insurmountable.
Can you still recall experiencing these common relationship problems? Your defenses are up and your dreams and hopes are lost; the closeness, emotional intimacy, and sexual desire that once made you feel so deeply in love are gone.
Instead of partners, you are now adversaries and use criticism, blame, sarcasm, and even hostility on a daily basis. When fights and power struggles break out, yelling begins, desires get sacrificed, and the relationship is often transformed into a battleground.
Agonizing, isn't it?
"There is no pain equal to that which two lovers can inflict on one another." (Cyril Connolly)
You become angry, resentful, and depressed; you may shut down or numb yourself to stop feeling all these negative feelings. You and your partner start neglecting, avoiding, and losing interest in each other; gradually, you drift apart.
You should know that this phase of common relationship problems is the most difficult one. Many couples give up during this stage.
In fact, 50% of married couples divorce during the power struggle.
They feel the despair and hopelessness of not knowing how to deal with their mounting problems.
They may even be encouraged by well-meaning (but uninformed) family and friends to get rid of their partner.
Most of the couples that decide to stay together through the unhappiness and conflicts of their relationship problems for the kids, or because of financial problems, social or religious reasons, are totally alienated from each other and their sexual intimacy is gone.
Clueless about how to make their relationship work, they are not committed any longer and often turn outward to resolve their issues.
But let's talk about you.
If you are going through the power struggle stage and don't want to divorce you are most likely to completely disconnect from your partner even if you end up living under the same roof.
You may become depressed, miserable and numb.
Not knowing how to heal your relationship, feeling flat and empty, you tend to redirect all of your energy into a so-called 'parallel marriage': overwork or an exaggerated amount of time spent with sports, children, hobbies, volunteering, or Internet.
You may open up and even become emotionally involved with another woman without realizing that - in this particularly vulnerable period - the slightest affection from her will turn into a passionate and destructive affair.
Sadly, this damages your primary relationship even further and almost never works, since you will repeat the same pattern and problems in the new relationship's power struggle stage all over again.
If your relationship is not completely compromised, this is where you need to get help!
No, not well-meaning friends or a self-help book - what you need is qualified, impartial third party assistance. Choose one of the Imago relationship counselors in your area, or an experienced relationship coach and make sure you are willing to change and give your relationship one more fair chance.
Are you one of the few people who are looking for a better solution than divorce, a 'parallel marriage', or a temporary affair?
If you are motivated and ready to find out how to make relationships work, you must understand that this stage of common relationship problems is expected, necessary, and meant to be surmounted.
If you're prepared to commit to this work, the information on this site helps you overcome this difficult period.
Here you will get the tools you need to go into the 'transformation stage'- beyond the power struggle...
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^Top^ II. Common Relationship Problems
III. Beyond The Power Struggle >>