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Bad Match or Just a Rough Patch?

by Eharmony Editorial Team - September 21, 2007

When arguments get more frequent, one question will inevitably surface: are we wrong for each other? Learn simple ways to differentiate between a bad match and a rough patch.

Maybe the only thing the two of you can agree on lately is that you argue all the time. Or perhaps you’re just not feeling as connected as you once did. Maybe underlying trust/intimacy/fill-in-the-blank issues are creating more and more tension.

When a new relationship is struggling, it’s not always easy to figure out what to do. Is this just a rough patch you need to get through together? Or is it time to cut your losses and move on in separate directions? When you’re in a spot like this, you basically need to confront two main possibilities. One is that you’re simply in the wrong relationship: your issues are insurmountable and will never allow you to have the fulfilling relationship you deserve. The other possibility is that you’re in the right relationship but it’s going to take real maturity, compromise and good old hard work to move past the issues that have surfaced. Let’s look more closely at each option.

Time to Move On – Separately
A good relationship is one in which both partners feel cared for, supported and respected. Consideration and appreciation are also vital. A healthy partnership is made up of mature individuals who make every effort to show their love and not take each other for granted. If you’re not experiencing these positive emotions consistently, then that’s a strong sign that you’re in the wrong relationship.

The problem may be that your partner simply isn’t the right person for you. Maybe he or she has issues that need to be dealt with irrespective of you. He or she may need to get healthy as an individual before an intimate relationship is even a possibility. But regardless of the reason, if your partner isn’t able or willing to offer the care, support, respect and happiness you deserve, then that means it’s time for you to move on. Here are some questions you need to ask yourself:
1. Have you become aware of substantial character flaws or red flags that signal that your significant other isn’t capable of being relied on as a true partner?
2. Are you not being treated like you know you should be?
3. Do you feel like your needs aren’t being met, even when you explicitly express them?

Do your best to be completely honest with yourself as you think about these questions. You may determine that your partner is actually the kind of companion you want to continue to share your life with but you might determine just the opposite. The point is that there are times when you should be willing to call a spade a spade. And if you know that the person you’re seeing can’t (or won’t) help you create the kind of relationship you want then it’s time to find someone else who can and will.

Time to Move On -Together

You two may just be going through some growing pains as your relationship matures and you get to know each other and discover new ways of relating together. Or maybe certain life circumstances are impacting you; after all, stress can shake up even the best of relationships. It’s important to keep in mind that there are going to be struggles in any partnership.

And if you both still believe in your relationship, you can use these difficult times as opportunities to deepen and strengthen your connection, so that you each improve the ways you communicate and deal with conflict. One problem couples often face is that they believe that being in a relationship is ultimately about the thrill and excitement of being in love.

So when the tough times come, they assume that their relationship is over. But as anyone who’s been in a successful long-term relationship will tell you, those feelings of excitement come and go. What creates a deeper, more fulfilling relationship is a willingness to work hard to create a strong foundation, and then to build on it so that you experience a loving connection that’s much deeper than those early feelings of excitement. And the way you create and build upon that foundation is to develop fundamental relationship skills.

Your ability to communicate, trust, compromise, establish intimacy, and support each other form the foundation for any intimate relationship. If you haven’t developed these skills, then not only will it be tough to make your current relationship successful, but you’ll have a hard time making future ones work as well.

So the issue is whether your relationship has the potential to become what you want it to be. Ask yourself these questions:

1. Are there enough positives about the relationship to justify the effort required to maintain and strengthen it?

2. Are both you and your partner willing to put in the work necessary to develop and improve your relationship?

3. Will you both be patient and giving with each other as you work through the issues?

What will it take to get your relationship from where it is, to where you want it to be?

If you determine that either you or your partner is unwilling or unable to make the changes necessary to create a fulfilling and healthy partnership, then it’s going to be hard to maintain the relationship’s strength and vitality, much less help it improve in any truly significant way. However, if the problems you two are experiencing can be solved by communication, dedication, sacrifice, understanding, and patience, then this is no time to give up.