It entails overcoming defenses of denial, withdrawal, control, or placating to avoid a real connection.
You’re less willing to compromise and may want less intimacy. Couples get into problems when they’re afraid to be honest – usually because they think the truth will upset their partner and might jeopardize the relationship.
Even if you don’t actually argue, you may return to the same emotional state you were in before you met – or worse – and wonder where your love went or whether your partner loves you. They don’t express their hurt or to ask for the love or support they want, or they do so in a way that’s critical or blaming.
When attempting to create a loving, healthy intimate relationship, it is important to have an accurate roadmap for the journey.
Most of our culture’s roadmaps have emphasized fantasy, illusion and denial, and those who follow those maps will tend to have unhappy, conflict-ridden relationships.
They’re also common characteristics of codependent relationships, and codependency may be the underlying issue. Inflexibility or repeated unwillingness to compromise on decisions, such as social activities, chores, moving, and having children. Selfishness or self-involvement with your own feelings and needs, without concern and support for those of your partner. One partner can control the other through neediness, demands for attention or validation, or playing the victim, with the expectation that the other person make him or her happy.
Lack of open communication generally, or communication that lacks personal content. This can be caused by numerous things, such as dishonesty, using personal information against your partner, unreliability, broken promises or agreements violating personal boundaries, or infidelity. You need constant attention, validation, or reassurance – whatever’s given is never fulfilling for very long. There are subjects that are off-limits or you’re afraid to talk about. Violating personal boundaries, such as, disrespecting your request to not be called at work, to not have confidential information repeated to others, to not be criticized about something, or to not read your mail.
What follows is a reality-based roadmap which comes from research into couples’ actual experiences of being in long-term relationships.
While theorists disagree on the exact name and number of the stages couples progress through, there is a general consensus that couples go through some version of the following stages.
This is where the “struggle for intimacy” is required in order to maintain that love connection. People learn to communicate and problem-solve with others in their family growing up.
Here are some warning signs that your relationship may be in trouble. Without good role models, some never learned how to be assertive. Other relationship problems are created by an imbalance of power, where one partner attempts to dominate the other through aggression, control, or emotional or verbal abuse.
Shame and low self-esteem thwart love, intimacy, and assertive communication.