Ever wondered what the ‘ship’ in ‘relationship’ means? It refers to the fact that a relationship with a boyfriend or girlfriend can either float or sink, just like a ship. OK, that isn’t entirely true, but it IS a useful way for thinking about the effects of pressure in a relationship. Read on for some tips to keep afloat and what to do if you feel unsafe.
You might find this useful if:
- You want to learn about some of the common pressures in relationships
- You want some tips for dealing with relationship pressures
- You want to understand where the tension in your relationship is coming from
- Your relationship is not going as well as you would like
What are the different kinds of pressure in a relationship?
Whilst having a boyfriend or girlfriend can be great, there are a whole bunch of things that can get in the way of feeling content and happy in your relationship. Generally speaking, there are two kinds of relationship pressures. Internal pressures come from within the relationship and external pressures come from people, or other factors, that are outside of the relationship itself. Some common relationship pressures include:
- Differences in culture and religion
- Difference in age
- A lack of compromise
- Differences in opinion
- Unreasonable or unfulfilled expectations
- Study or work
- Family and friends
- Distance (as in long distance relationships)
How can you manage these pressures?
Recognising the source of conflict is the first step to making it go away. To identify what the source of conflict is in your relationship, write down the pressures from the above lists that are affecting you. If you don’t think it’s any of the things on the lists, have a quiet moment of reflection and try to remember how you feel when you argue with your partner. Once you know what it is that’s creating tension between you and your boyfriend or girlfriend, you can address the problem directly and try to reach a solution. Read on for some tips to help you reduce the pressure:
- Communication – We have smart phones and airplanes and yet there is still no device to help us read minds! So, next best thing - use your words. How is your partner supposed to know what’s wrong if you don’t tell them? Let them know what’s bugging you in a calm and collected manner and then you can try to resolve the issue together. Have a look at some of our tips for communicating.
- Compromise – You can’t always get what you want. Chat to your boyfriend or girlfriend to figure out the stuff that’s really important to each of you, and the stuff that isn’t as much of a big deal. It might be hard to accept that someone you’re close to doesn’t care about all the same things as you but, as with everything, compromise becomes easier with practice.
- Reassurance – Everybody likes to hear about how much they are loved. If you feel assured that the way you feel is mutual, the relationship will tend to flow more smoothly and problems like ‘jealousy’ will be less likely to rear their ugly head.
- A fresh perspective – Sometimes it can be handy to hear about your relationship from a fresh perspective. By talking to someone who is not directly involved in the relationship, like friends or family, you might be able to see the situation in a different way and deal with any pressures accordingly.
- Respect differences – Differences in culture, religion or opinion can be the source of many fundamental issues in relationships. Instead of rejecting the unfamiliar, try to embrace it. Differences between partners can make things more interesting and unpredictable. You might even learn a thing or two.
- Don’t be afraid of spending time apart – Sometimes the best thing for a couple is time away from each other. After all, you can’t miss someone if they never leave.
- Avoid trying to work things out when one or both of you are angry – Anger is one of the most unproductive moods that you can be in. When you’re angry, you’re more likely to say unkind things that you will regret. Try to change the topic of conversation or just walk away and then revisit the issue later on.
If you feel unsafe
Violence in a relationship is never okay and it is against the law. If your relationship has become unhealthy and you feel unsafe, you might consider contacting a support service.
Working through relationship pressures can be really hard. If these tips don’t work for you, you might want to look to professional help so that you can work together to get to the bottom of what’s going on and work with them to try to fix it.