A psychologist says failed relationships come down to one basic problem

The trouble with relationships is that most of us think our partners should just know what we want.

After all, hasn’t years of dating taught us anything? Apparently not.

Psychologists have been working to solve the problem of failed relationships for what seems like eons, but sometimes it feels like they are no closer to solving the mysteries of love than scientists are to solving the mysteries of the universe.

However, in a brilliant article published on Business Insider, psychologist Katherine Schafler believes that all failed relationships come down to one thing: the language of love.

The language of love is not the same as the language we speak every day with our partners, families, friends, and coworkers.

The language of love is something that helps us express how we feel intimately and it helps us show those we love that we love them.

However, as humans, we often take others and their feelings for granted, and this leads to many problems for people.

For example, if you wanted your husband to bring you flowers once in a while, but you’ve never told him that, how is he supposed to know to do that?

Obviously, the answer is “he should just know that I like flowers.” Right? Wrong.

The truth is that while many relationships crumble under the pressures of society, money, expectation, and obligation, many more relationships crumble because one partner thinks the other partner doesn’t care.

This is the breakdown of the language of love.

Be explicit with what you want

If Suzie wanted Michael to know that flowers make her happy, she should tell him. She should not expect him to pick up social cues from other men who bring their partners flowers.

That is not fair of Suzie to put that expectation on Michael. If Suzie wants flowers, she should say she wants flowers.

The problem with this scenario is that Suzie thinks that telling Michael she wants flowers to take the romance out of it all.

But what’s wrong with saying what you want in a relationship?

Suzie thinks this way because that’s what society says Michael should do. Society puts pressures on guys like Michael to do and say the right thing all the time. But that’s unrealistic and exhausting.

People show they care in different ways

These ways include gifts, words, actions, physical actions, and time.

When something is wrong in a relationship, it almost always revolves around one or more of these five aspects of the language of love. Relationships start to fall apart when one partner is not speaking the same language.

If you gift expensive gifts to your partner, but they don’t reciprocate the feeling of unbalance takes over.

If you say you love someone, but they don’t say it back, you start to wonder what’s the point? If you do something nice for your partner like take them out to lunch and they don’t do the same for you, you start to resent those actions.

If you want to show your love with physical intimacy and your partner doesn’t require physical touch to feel loved, you’ll start to feel rejected.

If you want to spend more time with your partner but they are always working, you’ll start to feel alone and resentful of the time he or she spends with others or at work.

So why does all this matter?

For one thing, we often give love the way we would hope to receive it. For example, if you wanted your partner to give you expensive gifts, you would give them expensive gifts.

If you wanted your partner to stop looking at their phone during dinner, you would stop looking at your phone during dinner.

But, when your partner is doing things that you don’t approve of or like very much, you might start to adopt those bad habits too, which continues to hurt the relationship.

The language of love has a powerful hold on relationships, and it is important to remember that while you are trying to serve your own needs with the relationship, you are also required to love your partner the way they want to be loved.

So if they don’t like expensive gifts, don’t buy them expensive gifts. But then don’t expect them to know that you want expensive gifts on their own: you need to express those wants and needs so that there is no miscommunication about how you want to be loved.

(Buddhism has an incredible amount to teach us about relationships. In our new eBook, we use iconic Buddhist teachings to provide no-nonsense suggestions for living a better life. Check it out here).

Lachlan Brown

Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the editor of Ideapod and founder of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 6 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. If you to want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter or Facebook.

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