7 Things That Can Impact Your Relationship

Asian mid-adult couple dating in Autumn park of Tokyo, Japan
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There are a lot of things that come into play during a relationship. When you argue with your partner, it’s usually because the two of you have completely different backgrounds and ways of living. Combining two lives into one isn’t necessarily a piece of cake. There are so many factors that can impact your romantic relationship, it’s sometimes difficult to pinpoint exactly what’s causing any turmoil. People are individually unique, so it makes perfect sense that no two relationship will be the same. With every different partner you have, you will see a new side of yourself. And, as you grow older and more mature, you will start to see how your past is influencing your present relationship.

My background is in Counseling Psychology, and during therapy sessions, I have seen one too many couples engaged in arguments and unhealthy patterns that they can't seem to control. Whether it's a social media, depression, past ex issues, or cultural differences impacting their relationships — it's hard to figure out what's truly affecting the dynamic, or if it's a combination of things. But the first step to fixing an issue in a partnership is to be aware of what is occurring. So, here are different things that can have a major impact on your romantic relationships:

1. Your Parents' Relationship

It's not always easy to come to terms with how you were raised. Not everyone has had a perfect upbringing. In fact, most people definitely have not. What does perfect mean, anyway? Your parents' relationship can indeed impact the romantic relationships that you enter. For example, if you had to endure your parents going through a nasty divorce, it makes sense that you be a little weary when it comes to love. Or, if you never saw your parents happy or in love together, it's hard to truly know what true love looks like and how to mimic it. We often reenact the relationship of our parents — so, if you don't like what you see in your parents, you're going to have to make a conscious effort to change familial patterns.

2. How You Learned To Argue/Communicate

Growing up, you learn a lot of things, and one of the big ones is how to communicate. It's often hard to realize how crucial communication is until is it ruining your relationship. You usually learn how to argue in the first relationship you have in your life — the one with your family. Therefore, if you come from a family in which nobody brought up real issues and it was normal to sweep things under the rug, you will most likely do the same in a romantic partnership.

3. Past Romantic Relationships

I know the past should usually stay in the past, but in this case, it isn't that simple. What has happened to you in previous relationships will most likely affect you for a long, long time, depending on how serious the relationship was, what it meant to you, what age you were, etc. Sometimes this period of time can bleed into your next relationship. For instance, if you've ever been cheated on before, trusting someone in the future will be a significant uphill battle.

4. Your Self-Esteem

In order to be in a happy and healthy relationship, you need to focus on one important thing — yourself. I'm not saying you have to have Beyoncé-like self-esteem at all times of the day (sometimes it's hard, to say the least), but you should feel pretty good about yourself and who you are prior to beginning a relationship. Your partner should help increase your self-esteem, not create it. Usually, issues tend to occur when one partner has low self-esteem. Arguments can happen out of nowhere, and it can be hard to notice the issues and say, "Oh, that's because of my low self-esteem!" It takes some soul searching and self-awareness to get a good handle on how your self-esteem is truly affecting your relationship. Make sure you have a relationship with yourself (and a good one at that) before you go looking to add on another person.

5. Your Career

Relationships are hard enough, but when you add in two vastly different work schedules, then you have a whole new set of complications. Work is important — obviously for you to be able to make money and survive in life, but also because it's how you are spending most of your day. So, if you are at a 9-to-5 job that you hate and you feel as if it sucking the life out of you, it may impact you more than you know. And, if it's impacting you negatively, imagine what it is doing to your relationship. Furthermore, if you work 24/7 and never get a chance to spend time with your partner, you will see the impact fairly quickly.

6. Sex

Sex is a key ingredient in a relationship. While it's not necessarily the main course, it definitely the dessert (aka important). Every individual is different when it comes to sex — what they like, their fantasies, how often they want to have, etc. All of these factors are ranked differently from person to person. That's why it's crucial to be paired up with someone who is similar in the sack, or at least someone who you can communicate with well. Sure, you can both teach other new tricks, but if one person wants to have sex every day and the other wants sex once a week, issues can start to arise. But, when you and your partner see eye-to-eye when it comes to sex, it will be a match made in heaven, or at least in the bedroom.

7. The Stage Of Life You Are Currently In

Timing is everything. There are going to be times in your life where you want a serious monogamous relationship and times when you just want a friends with benefits kind of deal. Maybe you've only wanted one or the other. Everyone is different. Where you are in life and your specific needs based on your lifestyle will have a major impact on your relationship. Maybe you've met a great match, but he or she wants to settle down, get married, and have children, and you're more interested in settling on a bar for the night. If you're into someone seriously, make sure they are into the same life goals/relationship goals as you, otherwise it might not be so pretty.

Every relationship is different and what works for one couple may not work for another, but being on the same page about issues like sex, self-esteem, family issues, and career is the key to making a relationship smooth sailing rather than nonstop bickering.

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