3 Uncomfortable Truths about Relationships Nobody Wants to Admit

You’ve probably read a number of well-written articles on the Internet discussing the truths of love and relationships. You may also have noticed that these articles sometimes seem like they’re written by newlyweds or single people who have an “ideal” of what a perfect marriage is like. But where are all the articles that tell it like it is—the articles that spill the truth about what relationships are really like?

Well this is one of those articles! The truth is, no, real marriage—especially the kind that lasts 10, 20, 30 years and on—doesn’t feel anything like these self-help articles. Real relationships are sometimes difficult, oftentimes stressful.

If you talk to a married couple, together for forty years, you’re bound to hear some stories. You’re also sure to make the senior couple laugh if you share with THEM some of the pearls of wisdom you get from 500-word articles at Salon.com.

That’s why I’ve decided to share some wisdom from our elders and discuss three “uncomfortable truths about relationships nobody wants to admit.” Some of these points are actually based on conversations I’ve had with couples who have been married many years and have really created their own wisdom, learning it as they went along. Let’s see how their perspectives provide some more realistic truths about peaceful long-term relationships.

1. You’re going to fight, argue and bicker a lot!

Anyone who suggests marriage is about saying, “Okay dear!” and “Anything you want, babe!” has no concept of what living with another person for years in close proximity is really like. Of course, you’re going to argue. You may even fight about issues you’re passionate about, whether it’s your partner procrastinating, or how you spend too much time on your hobby, or maybe even something absurd—like how that one movie sucked! (And your partner unbelievably liked that terrible movie!)

Hey, it happens. Disagreements are just part of communication. Arguing and sometimes raising your voice is human nature.

But what matters is whether or not you RESPECT your partner at the end of the day. Respect is based on love. You love the man he is and you understand why he gets so argumentative about the things he really cares about. He loves you and the way you think, so he will show respect for your opinions, even if he doesn’t always agree.

Having mutual respect for each other will prevent arguments from getting out of hand, or disagreements turning into a violent rage or abusive speech. In the end, you would never want to intentionally hurt someone you love over a petty argument.

2. Speaking of which…just let it go.

Just imagine if you had to keep a government-ordered log book of every argument you ever had with your partner. What misery that would be!

The point being, keeping track of arguments is tedious. As you grow older you’ll find that winning arguments is really not that important. When you love someone you don’t care about winning an argument or proving something once and for all. Winning doesn’t give you pleasure. Your partner enjoying the evening with you, going on vacation with you, THAT’S what makes you happy.

And if two people are that obsessed with winning arguments at the expense of each other’s feelings, this is probably a match made in hell! Sure, there will be times when you want to prove your point. You may even argue for a full hour over this all-important point that must be made, right now, or else the world will end!

But that said, when it’s all said and done, can you let it go? Are going to keep a logbook of every argument and everything you both said? Or can you love your partner anyway and just change the subject?

You’re not obligated to change his mind and he’s not required to persuade you. You both have to accept that this isn’t about who wears the pants in the family, or who is right and who is wrong. (And I’m sure there will be plenty of arguments where one of you presents the “facts”!) The real issue is, can you both let it go? Can you stop the gloating, stop the resentment, and stop the need to prove something? Prove your argument, if you must, but don’t try so hard to prove that your mate is a fool. Don’t treat the man you love like he’s a talking head on MSNBC.

No argument is worth hurting each other’s feelings. And if it is, you’re really in a relationship that’s based on negative and destructive energy. You get married in the first place because you admire the passion and values of your partner. Accepting their opposing views is just part of accepting who they are.

Letting something go (even if you’re right!) is what love feels like.

3. Expect the minimum. Live happily. Laugh at perfection.

Anyone who expects their partner to be the perfect whatever (lover, housekeeper, romantic hero) is bound to be disappointed. Creating an agenda to “help” your partner become something you want him to be is downright laughable. It’s never going to happen. This is why we always stress to fall in love with him and be happy with what he is in the present. Forget potential, forget the idea of molding him into a great guy. He’s going to be just what he is. Expect the minimum and learn to be happy with the present.

Recreating the past, or a fantasy ideal standard, or marriage (as you pictured it) is doomed to fail. The only couples that really do live happily ever after are the ones that let go of all that baggage and learn to be happy with each other’s company warts and all, so to speak.

You can’t get more than you give. You can’t expect your partner to change for the better or to save the marriage by becoming your ideal man. The end result of your relationship will be exactly what you’re both willing to put into it.

Maybe people don’t like to admit these uncomfortable truths because we live in an age of entitlement where “men should do this” and women “ought to do that”.

But society doesn’t determine your relationship. Your family doesn’t. The you of yesterday and what you wanted back then doesn’t determine your relationship in the present either. It’s all about the now. And if you really love your man, for better or worse as the vows go, you will be happy for the rest of your life!

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Talk soon,

Matthew Coast

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Matthew Coast

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