What Makes Relationships Fail?
The answer continues to send me reeling
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One of the most impressive things to me personally is when a relationship withstands the test of time. Two different people managing to work through the problems presented by their individual wills, discrete backgrounds, disparate interests, and the like, and face all the sundry problems of life together as a team, sounds like a minor miracle to me. I think we underestimate how endlessly mystifying successful relationships are, maybe because we fear sounding corny for the sentiment, or maybe we’re afraid we won’t have it ourselves. I’ve always wondered exactly how it works.
I’ve tried to set my intuition to work to find an answer, though intuition may not seem like the best tool for picking apart relationship dynamics since relationships can be miles different internally relative to how they outwardly appear. But everyone is more or less the same in the problems they face, both in and outside of relationships. So the first step is understanding that there are only a limited set of difficulties that any couple can experience in a lifetime, which is in a way comforting to know. The second step is figuring out what makes someone likely to overcome those difficulties, which is the real trick.
So there are two places to begin. Sorting the problems most likely to cause separation, and the behavioral traits most likely to help circumvent them.
I figured the most likely causes of separation were: problems with money, problems with time, problems with fidelity, problems with communication, and misaligned interests. And it would seem easy enough to build a mental model of the points of relationship failure from here, right?
Wrong. If only things were that easy.
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