Dear Dr. Jory,
I’ve got one question: “Why are relationships so hard?”
Signed, Dazed and Confused
Romantics boil relationships down to one thing: Do you love one another? But relationships have lots of moving parts, like:
- How do you make one another feel?
- Is there honest, respectful communication with lots of listening and understanding?
- How does your partner handle money?
- Are you happy with your sex life?
- Do you share similar interests and energy levels?
- Do you look at the world the same way and share the same spiritual beliefs?
- If you have kids, or intend to, is he or she a good parent?
- Do you get along with each other’s families?
- Do you bring your work home or leave it outside the door?
- Do you have a support network of friends and family that serve as good examples?
- Are either of you carrying heavy childhood baggage that needs to be tossed overboard?
- Do either of you have nasty habits like drinking too much, gambling away your savings, or taking your anger out on one another?
It may not be as complicated as you think, though. Research shows that couples are happy when their relationship is hitting on all cylinders. Meaning, when all of the above are working, you’re going to be happy, but it only takes one creepy, cranky, broken part to drag a relationship to its demise.
Relationships are hard because happiness has a price, Dazed. So bring your “A” game. Don’t be lazy or let your guard down. Keep your eye on everything. That’s hard, but it usually comes with a big payoff.
— Dr. Jory
Do you have a burning question about intimacy, sex, or relationships?
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About Brian Jory, Ph.D.
Brian Jory is the Director of the Family Studies Program at Berry College, near Atlanta, Georgia, USA, and has dedicated his career to counseling couples, teaching about intimacy, researching relationships.
He is the author of “Cupid on Trial – What We Learn About Love When Loving Gets Tough,” and has been featured on numerous television shows, blogs, and podcasts including Bustle, Romper, Elite Daily, NBC, PBS, and Good Sex, Bad Sex.