As great as relationships can be, they also take a lot of work. Even couples who are "meant to be" have to put in the time and effort to make it last. But there is a such thing as putting in too much work. If you and your partner are really meant to be together, experts say, there are some things in your relationship that
you should never have to force.
"Forcing a relationship means three things," Rachel Perlstein, LCSW, relationship coach and co-founder of
A Good First Date, tells Bustle. It means that one or both partners feel like the relationship is taking a lot of effort, that either you or your partner's needs aren't being met, and that the relationship feels stuck. "When one person or the couple is forcing the relationship, things may feel like a constant struggle with competing needs and perspectives coupled with a lack of compromise." More often than not, these are the type of relationships that may not last.
It's no secret that it takes work to maintain a long-term relationship. But there are a few things that shouldn't have to take that much effort. So here are some things you should never have to force in a relationship if it's really meant to be, according to experts.
The Desire To Be In The Relationship
This may seem obvious, but no one should have to force themselves to want to be in a relationship. Everyone fights and goes through hard times, but that shouldn't completely take love or desire away. "If you are constantly feeling a 'should' about continuing your relationship with your significant other (i.e. 'I should stick it out because we've already lasted this long), it's time to re-evaluate," Perlstein says. Relationships are meant to bring out the best in you and your partner. If you're only in it because you feel like you have to be in it, she says, it's probably not the right fit for you.
You can't really compare your sex life with any other couple because every relationship is different. But regardless of how often you have sex or what you do together, Perlstein says, you should never have to force your attraction to your partner. "When one partner in particular is not feeling attractive or attraction to the other, different issues can arise based upon this need like
physical or emotional cheating," she says.
Studies have found that
laughter can benefit your relationship in amazing ways. Basically, couples who laugh together, stay together. As Jane Reardon, licensed therapist and co-founder of RxBreakup, tells Bustle, when you and your partner can spontaneously laugh together, this shows that you're both present and together in the moment. But if this often feels forced, take note of why that might be.
Consideration And Respect
Respect and consideration for each other's needs should never be forced. "Mutual respect [should be] at the heart of every relationship," Dr. Venessa Marie Perry, Founder and Chief Relationship Strategist at
The Love Write, tells Bustle. "Couples with a genuine respect for each other treat and act in a manner that shows kindness, gentleness and understanding in all situations." If it doesn't feel like this comes naturally, your partner may not be the right one for you.
"Often times when people enter into a relationship, they feel like the other person should do all the things they enjoy doing," Perlstein says. "But in fact, a healthy relationship involves separation and both individuals maintaining their own unique sense of self." So while it's nice to have things you both like in common, you don't need to force yourself to like every single thing your partner does and vice versa. Healthy couples that are meant to be know that it's OK to do your own thing every now and then. It makes their relationship a lot stronger.
Emotional Intimacy And Affection
You shouldn’t have to force love, affection, and intimacy in your relationship,
Maria Lianos-Carbone, relationship expert and author, tells Bustle. Emotional intimacy and affection are what sets a romantic relationship apart from a more platonic one. Intimacy isn't something you can force, but rather something that you build over time through meaningful experiences and deep conversations. If you feel like your partner always has a wall up, you may have to work extra hard to have more intimacy in your relationship.
When you're meant to be, relationship expert,
Miranda N Dennis, LCSW, tells Bustle, you and your partner will have no problem following through with the basic things that make a relationship work. "We want to me make sure that our partners' needs are taken care of because we want to contribute to their well-being and happiness," she says. That means, no matter what, you will find time to spend together because you genuinely like spending time together. If that's your or your partner's love language, Dennis says that makes it even more important. But if things keep getting in the way of spending time together, your partner may not be prioritizing the relationship.
Relationships do take work, even for couples who are seemingly "destined" to be together. While communication can clear up a lot of relationship issues, you need to remember that you can't force anyone to change. You deserve to be in a relationship where you're getting just as much as you give. If you have to force the basics like shared laughter or your partner's desire to be in a relationship, you may need to reconsider whether or not this is the right relationship for you.