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Uncomfortable truths about love - and what to do about them

Most of us are raised on ideas about love – whether it’s through the influence romantic movies, books and poetry, or the enduring image of the typical happy family and the marriage that can survive anything. In reality, life is never so simple. Divorce rates are climbing the world over and clinging to the idea of finding ‘The One’ can get in the way of seeing that person you can build a rewarding relationship with which allows both partners to grow over time. Here we tackle some of the uncomfortable and inconvenient truths about love – from dating and romance to sexual compatibility – and what you can do about them.

The honeymoon (almost) always ends

Aside from all the beautiful emotions, we experience when falling in love, good chemical shifts are taking place in the brain. Dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin are all released, making it virtually impossible to take your mind off that special someone! Joy, exuberance and a feeling that anything is possible with your partner by your side frequently accompany those chemicals. It’s a fantastic thing to experience, but sadly, it can’t last forever.

What to do about it:

Firstly, realising that those intense emotions are going to fade and that it’s perfectly reasonable- is very important. Things that your partner does that never used to bother you before may start to become real irritations! Now’s the time to start doing the hard work – going out of your way to show your partner you care (even if you don’t really feel like making an effort) and getting to know and appreciate each other on a deeper, more constant level. 

The chances of finding your ‘soul mate’ are slim – but that doesn’t mean you can’t build a rewarding relationship with Mr. or Ms Almost Right

Some people just get along like a house on fire right from the start, sharing similar views and outlooks and wanting similar things from life. Some people, on the other hand, want a partner who challenges them and makes them look at the world differently. Finding someone who ticks all your boxes – despite what movies would have you believe – is unlikely. And that’s okay! Even those who truly believe they’ve found their ‘soul mate’ are likely to run into one significant fact of life – people change. Their interests change, what they want out of life changes, and often those things no longer align perfectly with yours.

What to do about it:

Understand that people aren’t static, if they weren’t, no growth or development would be possible. Try to embrace your differences and use them as motivation and inspiration. Don’t expect your partner to always be the same person you fell in love with.

People don’t always want the same things in the bedroom

Even if you're madly attracted to each other, learning where your partner’s sexual desires and boundaries lie can be awkward, tricky and uncomfortable. Your upbringing may have been more liberal than your partner’s (or vice versa), or you may discover your partner has some tastes or fetishes that make you squirm!  

What to do about it:

If you're more sexually adventurous than your partner and want to inject a little more spice in the bedroom, start at the shallow end of the pool. Experimenting with adult toys, for example, making sure to let your partner take the lead, can be a great way to help them get comfortable about being more open-minded at their own pace.      

You can’t always ‘make it work.’

Whether it’s the pressure of friends around you all being in a relationship or realising you and your current partner aren’t as compatible as you first thought, people seek out or stay in relationships that don’t work for them for countless reasons.

What to do about it:

Never string someone along just because you don’t know what you want yet, especially if they're smitten with you and you just don’t feel the same. Don’t waste time on a relationship you're not willing to do the hard work on – for your sake and that of your partner. You may end up regretting it, but even that is a valuable lesson. 

Other people can make you happy!

It may go against the cliché, but you can actually love others before you learn to love yourself and having someone in your life that lifts you up and inspires you can make you happy – at least in the short term. When you depend exclusively on your partner to give your life meaning is where you run into difficulties.

What to do about it

Recognize when your own happiness has become too entangled with that of your partner – or when they seem to have become too dependent on you. Try to seek out a balance between self-fulfillment, and spending time on the things that bring you joy as a couple… and celebrate them! 

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