Dating & Relationships Tip-Is the Hard Part Ever Over?

I read it in countless e-mails, facebook status updates and suspect that if smoke signals were still in fashion–I’d see it there too–the same question, “When will the hard part be over when it comes to dating and relationships?

The concept was birthed somewhere between the invention of marriage and the creation of the Hallmark Valentine’s Day card; the idea of love being simple and that anyone could do it–like bedazzling. The notion was romanticized to the extreme and we took the bait. “Act now: get married and be set for life.”

And for years we’ve seen it played out on the small screen as the main idea as with Sarah Jessica pioneering the way to love or in the form of a secondary plot on the big screen with flicks like SALT with Angelina Jolie. (The man she was in love with went to the depths of the Earth to find and rescue her–I can’t even get my boyfriend to close the kitchen cabinets when he pulls a glass out to drink water)

For many, the dating scene is rough; it’s competitive, frustrating and nerve-wrecking, but it will never go away–because we each have an idea of what being in a relationship is like–and it’s always sunshine and lollipops, right? I’ve never heard anyone say, “I can’t wait to get married in order to go through a custody battle and bitter divorce.” Or, “I’m so excited to be engaged to Mark–I hope he turns out to be gay and comes out 2 weeks before the wedding so we can cancel it and I can dive into a deep destructive tailspin of despair to get in touch with my inner alcoholic.

“And guess what kids?” The hard part isn’t over when you find someone–it’s just begun because you really get into the psychology of that person–especially after the 3-month love-bubble bursts. So the question remains, “Does it ever get better?” The answer–yes.  But the real question we should be asking is, “Does it get easier?” The answer–no. And that’s not a bad thing. I say no because it’s work. It doesn’t have be to painful but it is work–you have to increase communication and make sure you don’t fall into a pattern of “the same old same old” and that’s hard when you come home tired and just want to rest, but instead you find that the laundry needs to be done, the dishes need washing and on top of that–they want you to listen as they retell the story of how they argued with someone at work. But if for that moment, you can bring the “big picture” into perspective…that it gets better, it can be a great relationship-saving device.

Dating will always be a challenge because we’re not bean pods sprouting on command; instead we’re evolving individuals with shifting ideas, concepts and emotions. “Will relationships ever be smooth?” No, but the ride you have depends on your character and how you choose to formulate your behavior and response to the ever-changing circumstances of a relation because in the end–it was never about them, it was all about you, wasn’t it?

Those of you in the dating trenches, do you ever think that once you get involved in a relationship, the fairytale starts? Leave a comment and let’s get Mexican in here!

 

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10 Comments

  • I think a relationship will take effort every single day forever. A successful relationship is a joy and the effort is rarely hard work. If we remember that we started the relationship trying to make the other feel really good about themselves – keeping that up isn’t tough and makes a world of difference.

    You can’t find someone and then sit around and let them wait on you or expect them to provide you with happiness. Happiness and contentment are a choice.

    Just my opinion :)

    • I agree…that’s when the real work begins because the love-bubble phase is over.
      And it’s a fun ride–if you allow it to be. Mine is.

  • This cracks me up. I’m a 44 year-old woman and have been married for 12 years. Actually, I’ve officially been married for 18 years since my first marriage lasted 6 years. I have 2 beautiful boys with my second husband, and I’m sorry to report that none of it has been anything but hard work.

    If anything, my first marriage was easier. We were so young, and that love bubble went on and on. But as it turns out, it was empty — as bubbles tend to be. It eventually popped.

    The good news is that the long periods of hard work make the smoother times inbetween so much more rewarding.

    • I love your statement and want to make a t-shirt out of it!
      “But as it turns out, it was empty — as bubbles tend to be. It eventually popped.”
      One of the reasons I wrote this post is because I’m getting several e-mails from people who
      follow my own relationship — they actually went on the first date with me– and now, a year later,
      I’m still with the same person–but it’s hard work. And people seem to think that once you’re in a relationship,
      it’s smooth sailing. And I’m not trying to convince people to stay out of relationships–they are great–but they’re not easy.

      I have fun in mine. For me, the first year was hard. It was. It was getting to know him and his likes/dislikes,
      what sets him off–etc. And now, a year later–that we got that out of the way–I get to enjoy him. Fully enjoy our
      time together–so much that I often just wanna stare at him (I was doing that last night as he ate) and just “take him in”.

      He’s a happy guy–so it makes it easy.

      Thanks for sharing!

  • This is so very true, I’m on my 2nd marriage and 10 years his senior. He’s just getting to the top of his career and has other projects he’s involved with as well. Luckily for both of us, I have seen my relationships in the past fall due to “career goals taking priority” while the advertising world has left me with a smile on my face over pulling an all nighter and saving the day. My personal life has always suffered because of it. I encourage his career but i also remind him that’s important to make time for us. After all, this garden ain’t gonna water itself.

    After many talks (communication another big thing) we agreed on date nights and at least 30 min every night to sit without phones, tv’s and computers to talk about our days. We also keep a shared calendar to schedule appointments and time spent together. I’m not saying this is a perfect solution, but so far it’s working.

    xo,
    Aliki

  • I think relationships are actually much more work than being single – but of course, you get many rewards from being in a relationship as well. Sometimes I think people are just never happy where they are – single or coupled. When they’re single they just want a relationship and when they’re in a relationship they get so frustrated at the “work” they want to be single. Perhaps we need to accept that there is always going to be work involved and just embrace it and appreciate the good times.

    This was such a great way to sum it up:

    “Does it ever get better?” The answer–yes. But the real question we should be asking is, “Does it get easier?” The answer–no.

    Great post!
    singlegirlie´s last blog post ..London Calling

  • I’ve gone through so many phases in my life…when I was younger (20s) I was committed to the idea of long lasting relationships. You know those fairytale fantasies that you see in hollywood productions. Then, in my 30s, I got into super singlehood. If I had been paid I could’ve been considered a “professional dater” – for YEARS I was very content just being a date, friends, FWB, a good time, one-night-stand, etc… I saw it as an uncomplicated lifestyle and the only comittment I had to maintain was to myself. As long as I was honest with myself and my partners, there was no wrong being done. And that lifestyle worked for me, for a very long time. I just kept my emotions out of it. But now, in my 40s, I am seeing that I want something different. I see that I want companionship, and that the “dating” scene isn’t where I want to be. I’ve been in a relationship for about 5 years now, and it’s definitely been a lot of hard work…but when you love someone it doesn’t feel like work. I like that I’ve not always been “one-way” about dating and relationships, and that I’ve allowed myself room for growth, adventure, and mistakes. But I’m even more elated that I’ve allowed myself to make room for someone else in my life. Who knows how it will be a few years from now…but at the time being, it works beautifully…as it always has in every stage and mind set I’ve been in.

  • NOt sure what this article is about. Took one look at dreamboat in a tub and went pantpantpantpant!!!

  • I feel bad because I’m the dissenting opinion here, but I also feel compelled to share. My relationship with my husband is 100millionx easier than it was when we first started dating. We were a couple at age 15. It got rough as my self-esteem rode that typical not quite a teen but too dumb to be an adult roller coaster. We broke up. We got back together. We broke up. Finally one day I came to my senses and realized he was the one who loved me and knew me when I had braces and the world’s ugliest glasses and refused to wear my hair in a ponytail during cross country meets. He loved me for who I was. And he still does! We’ve been married 11 years, and we’ve been a couple for 20 years. I know what he thinks, how he’s feeling, and what he’ll say. He knows the same about me. I also trust him completely, and I know he trusts me. I don’t doubt his love for me, so he gets the benefit of the doubt when there’s a misunderstanding, which honestly isn’t rare. I’m not afraid to tell him if he’s messed up because our whole relationship is built on trust. If I screw up, which happens rarely haha – he also doesn’t come down hard, he just lets me know it wasn’t the best decision I’ve ever made, and we move on. We’re in it for the long haul and I never take it for granted. But he’s awesome. I love him. and my life is more splendid with him in it.

    • I love a healthy debate on Nandoism–so no worries.
      And I think you should teach a class on how to have a perfect union.
      For me, and even for my parents who were together for 46 years (he passed away june 2011)–there are hard moments in relationships.
      And it’s those moments that require work. It’s not an easy flow–from what I’ve seen and experienced.
      We were short on money for a while growing up and my dad couldn’t afford to send me to college as planned
      so that took a toll on him which took toll on the relationship. And they worked through it–but it was never perfect.
      I mean even on the shows like I love Lucy, Bewtiched and I Dream of Jeannie, they struggled understanding one another,
      sure it worked out–but it took work.

      That’s what this post was about….the work it takes. I didn’t mean for it to sound like it was a miserable time after the dating/romance phase was
      over–but it takes work. Again, I think you are super lucky that your relationship is perfect! Rock on!

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