12 hard truths about relationships no one wants to believe
- It’s easy to believe that your relationship is different from everyone else’s. It’s probably not.
- Relationships take effort to maintain, and you won’t always be happy with your partner.
- Even if you love each other, if you have fundamentally different values, a breakup may be the best option.
Below, we’ve listed some of the truest but hardest-to-accept insights about modern romance. If you can get past these somewhat unsettling ideas, you’ll be more likely to have a happy and fulfilling partnership.
We’re often attracted to people who will later drive us crazy
While researching habits and personality for her book „The Four Tendencies,“ Gretchen Rubin noticed a curious phenomenon. People she’d labeled „rebels“ often paired up romantically with people she’d labeled „obligers.“
Rebels resist both inner and outer expectations; if you ask a rebel to do something, they’ll likely resist. Obligers meet outer expectations but don’t always meet inner ones; they usually need some form of external accountability.
„If you’re an upholder, you live life according to a schedule. [For example] you never miss your daily run, and you always eat fewer than 30 grams of carbs a day, and you always go to bed by 11. It could be exciting be swept off your feet by somebody who feels very free and not confined.“
But over time, the novelty may wear off and these two different approaches can come into conflict. To be sure, rebels and obligers – and any two types of people – can be happy together. But it’s worth keeping this pattern in mind.
There’s probably no such thing as ‚the one‘
Out of the thousands of eligible singles just waiting for a swipe right, how do you know who’s the right one for you?
That’s according to Esther Perel, who is a couples therapist as well as the author of „Mating in Captivity“ and „The State of Affairs.“ Perel previously told Business Insider: „There is a one that you choose and with whom you decide that you want to build something. But in my opinion, there could also have been others – you just chose this one.“
Psychologists call them „material constraints“: Think a house you co-own, a joint bank account, or a pet you both take care of.
Research suggests that material constraints make a breakup a lot less likely. In fact, according to a 2011 study of unmarried men and women in heterosexual relationships, adding just one additional material constraint is linked to a 10% increase in a couple’s chances of staying together.
Presumably, that’s because it’s harder to disentangle yourself from the relationship when it’s not just the two of you. So it’s wise – if slightly uncomfortable – to think in advance about what you’d do if the relationship dissolved.
Poor timing can be a reason to break up – even if you love each other
Specifically, Birch argues that many men and women may be on different timelines: While men want to feel established professionally and financially before settling down, women can work on love and their career at the same time.
Birch urges women to take men seriously when they say they’re „not ready“ for a serious relationship right now. That may mean moving on to someone else who does feel ready, instead of wasting your time hanging around.
People probably aren’t as open to interracial dating as they say they are
Data from OKCupid, described in a 2014 blog post, suggests that people’s attitudes and behavior around interracial dating can differ, drastically.