Wed Apr 23 18:57:47 SAST 2014
Wed Apr 23 18:57:47 SAST 2014

Half-way happy in a relationship is sometimes as good as it gets

Jan 26, 2012 | Sapa-dpa |   152 comments

"It happens again and again that good relationships break up because one of the partners has exaggerated demands"

 Partners should accept that permanent happiness all the time is unrealistic 

People who get married usually believe they have found the ideal  partner for life, but sometimes after a while they discover that there are some flaws with Mr or Mrs Right.

High expectations often lead to unhappiness in a marriage, but before heading for a divorce court both parties should understand that there is no such thing as a perfect marriage.

There are marriages in which happiness, harmony, respect and affection are the dominant forces and there are some that are ruled by arguments and negative emotions.

Others lie somewhere in between — the so-called semi-happy marriages.

“Included in this definition are marriages that are neither unhappy nor happy,” said Friedhelm Schwiderski of a counselling service for couples in Germany. This status quo is a chronic emotional split and occurs more commonly in long-term relationships.

The couple’s demeanour toward each other is often very businesslike. There’s hardly any room for personal matters and the two partners don’t talk about themselves or allow each other into their lives. Tenderness and sexuality are pushed aside or were perhaps already on the margins from the beginning. The result is a hollow, dissatisfied feeling.

In addition to the absence of passion in a relationship or at least the feeling of butterflies in the stomach, unmet expectations often trigger a feeling of semi-happiness.

“Many people expect much too much from their first infatuation,” said Peter Gross of the German association of psychologists. They expect to be held in their partner’s palm forever or they are sure they are always on the same wavelength as their partner.

“Expectations such as these are of course utopian. After all what you have in a marriage is two individuals coming together, two complex systems with different genes and impressions. These can be completely different,” Gross said.

Different, however, doesn’t mean strictly incompatible.

What’s crucial is where the differences lie.

“You should think about what is really important to you in a relationship. What is utterly indispensable and what is negotiable and what is an absolute no-go,” Gross explained.

When there are grave differences between the two, it’s sometimes better to draw a line and end the relationship.

However, couples are advised not to act rashly.

To be able to judge the relationship, the degree of togetherness the couple has shared should be put into the mix.

The partners should also realize that permanent happiness all the time is unrealistic, said couples counsellor Dariush Barsfeld.

It’s an important step to accept these things because it impedes the pursuit of a dream vision of a perfect partnership and perhaps then making a wrong decision about someone.

“It happens again and again that good relationships break up because one of the partners had exaggerated demands and thought they were able to find someone who fit in every way,” said Beate Landgraf of an association of psychologists and holistic medicine practitioners in psychotherapy.

There is no universal solution to the problem. It isn’t independent from the cause of the semi-happiness. Boredom that sets in when the daily routine is always the same has to be changed.

People who feel they will not be able to have their dreams fulfilled because their partner doesn’t share them should perhaps go their own way rather than give up on them.

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