Do Relationships Really Take “Work”?

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Do Relationships Really Take “Work”?

Some people stay in relationships that aren’t very healthy because they’ve heard that relationships take “work,” and therefore they should be difficult. At loveisrespect we know that relationships do take work, but maybe not in the way a lot of people think.

The work that goes into a healthy relationship isn’t necessarily difficult or exhausting. Think about a hobby you’re really into, or a school project you got really psyched about. Those things take work, and sometimes they might even be a little frustrating, but in the end it’s work that you find fun, inspiring or engaging. That’s how a relationship should feel!

This isn’t to say that relationships should never have conflict; sometimes they do, because partners are different people with different needs. But the “work” that goes into resolving conflict should be mutual and respectful, and no one should walk away from conflicts feeling disrespected or unheard. Disagreements in a healthy relationship aren’t about who “wins” or who can say the meanest things. It’s not about tearing each other down, it’s about building each other up! That’s why it’s so important for both partners to listen, try to understand each other and figure out a way to make things better together. That can take a certain kind of work, of course, but ultimately your relationship will be stronger for it. If one partner isn’t willing to put forth the effort of making a relationship grow and thrive, then it might be time to reconsider whether the relationship is worth continuing.

We think Molias at Scarleteen sums it up really well:

What that “work” looks like to me (in a healthy relationship) is doing something like painting a room together – maybe you have to compromise on the color, and neither of you are SUPER into painting near the ceiling up on a ladder, but you switch off and it’s fun to hold a bunch of paint chips up to the walls while you’re deciding on what color paint to buy. At the end of the day you’re tired and the paint fumes have gotten pretty gross, but the room looks fantastic and it feels great to go eat some pizza in celebration. It’s something that took shared effort and maybe some momentary frustration, but ultimately it’s making both your lives better and more colorful. That sort of work doesn’t really feel like work at all; it’s taking time to listen to a partner and take their needs & wants into account, and trusting that they will do the same for you.

Do you feel like your relationship is too much work, or that your partner isn’t considering your needs or feelings? You can always call, chat or text with a peer advocate. We’ll talk it through with you!

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Comment section

4 replies
  1. Hello my gf called one of these lines. I am not an abuser i dont want to be i dont hit her or aynthing like that can someone please help me help us so i can help her.

    1. Hi Tye,

      I am glad she and you felt brave to reach out to us and that you are utilizing our online community. Abuse, no matter if emotional, physical, financial, or sexual, is something that no one should ever experience. Healthy relationships are all about respect, so it is good that you are looking for ways to improve and grow.

      I encourage you to reach out to us directly for help 24/7 by phone 1-866-331-9474, by texting “loveis” to 22522, or by chatting us online through the chat located on the upper right hand corner of the http://www.loveisrespect.org homepage.

      Best Wishes,
      Advocate KB

  2. My girlfriend and I live an hour apart. We used to live together but we broke up, and now we’re sort of in-between. It’s getting to the point that I don’t think it’s worth the effort of driving there every other day. All she does is ask me to do things for her. She does pay all her own bills, and takes care of herself, but I am always having to do stuff around the house, including buying things for her house like light fixtures, doors, fixing things, etc. So in a way I’ve been doing all these things out of guilt. But I feel as if I’m being used. Even though she loves me and cries when I leave, it’s just too much. The neediness, the constant nagging and complaining. I feel like I’m taking care of a child. She feels that me doing things for her all the time is fine because she goes to work and pays her mortgage. However, we are not technically together, much less married. I want to look forward to seeing the person I’m in a relationship with. I want to be excited to be around them. I want them to make my life easier, not harder. I just feel when I go there, I end up taking on her problems when I have plenty of my own to fix. So I spend a weekend there helping her with her stuff, and then I have to go back to work and have all my stuff still sitting there, waiting for me. I don’t know… relationships like these kind of suck.

    1. Hi Alex,

      Thank you for your comment. Breakups can be so complicated, especially when you still care about the person. It sounds like what’s happening right now doesn’t make you feel very happy or fulfilled, and you deserve to have a relationship that lifts you up, rather than gets you down or makes you feel guilty. We’d be happy to talk this through with you more. Just give us a call at 1-866-331-9474, chat here on our website or text loveis to 22522 any time!

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