Unhappy Relationship Surprises.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Couple not talking

Couple’s problems.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Why your relationship won’t turn out the way you thought.

We humans have lots of relationships and no relationship is more important than the primary sexual, love relationship.  So many people enter into this relationship with great, wonderful hopes for how well it will turn out.  The truth is the majority, more than half of all marriages end in divorce.

For those who choose to live together without the benefit of marriage or who produce children even before they’ve gotten into the relationship, the chances of staying together are even lower.  How come everyone thinks their relationship will be different?  There are few reasons why most relationships are full of surprises.

Some things will not “just work out.” Love will not conquer all.

The common premise is that we’re so in love our relationship will be better than other people’s.  The truth is some relationships just will not work out.  A great many of these relationships end in the first five years.  The early ending relationships usually were not good from the beginning.  There was an attraction but not much more.  Often these relationships were conflicted, with verbal and physical fights.  With that much conflict, no amount of love can overcome the difficulties.

What used to be cute will become annoying.

People who decide to work on their relationship, try to fix things, often come to marriage counseling with a long list of things about their partner they find upsetting.  It’s common for those things that are upsetting to be the very things that attracted the two people in the first place.

He was exciting, but after a few months, that exciting becomes irresponsible.  She was stable with a level head on her shoulders, that stability becomes a stick-in-the-mud who never wants to do anything fun or take any chances.

Your partner will not change the way you want.

There is an old saying, men choose women and hope they will never change, women always pick men and hope they will change.  Getting into relationships expecting that once together your partner will change in some particular way is a recipe for failure.  While your partner likely will change, it is likely to be in any direction other than the one you hope for.

They will change in ways you wish they hadn’t.

Lots of the change your partner will undergo will be in directions you didn’t expect.  The partner who used to buy things for you will become the one who doesn’t want to spend any money.

That guy they used to be so much fun and joked with you is likely to turn into the one that flirts with every other girl.

Fifty-Fifty relationships do not work. It will be more like 80-80.

Couples who expect their relationships to be 50/50 are usually in for a shock.  Both partners in a relationship typically think that they’re doing far more than the other partner.  Someone estimated that successful relationships are more like 80 – 80.

There will be a lot more pain, trauma, and grief than you expected.

The one thing you can expect for sure is the unexpected.  Movies and fairy tales always end with a wedding.  What they don’t show are the hard times, the times when things go in the wrong direction.

The real world of relationships involves pain.  There may well be, losses and grief.  That happiness ever after quickly turns to after.

Your partner will do and say things you don’t expect.

The first rush of getting together you thought you knew each other so well.  Once the initial attraction wears off you’ll be surprised at the things your partner does and says that you never would have expected.

Your partner won’t see “obvious” things.

Even when you think both of you come from the same culture, you will find that you are mistaken.  Each of you came from a family and that family had traditions, ways of doing things which may well seem strange to their partner. The things that are obvious to you, things that need to be done, things that shouldn’t be done, may come as a great surprise to your partner.

Your partner will shapeshift. Prince charming is really a troll.

Remember the end of the movie, after what you see on-screen comes real life.  The princess doesn’t look so royal six months pregnant with a cold, runny nose and dirt all over her.  Somehow that man you thought was prince charming, a few months later will begin to look like he was really that troll from under the bridge.

You will have to put more in than you take out.

Lots of people get into relationships expecting to get their needs met.  Relationships are kind of like bank accounts. If all you ever do is take out and never put in, that account gets overdrawn.  You will find that over time you put a lot more work into this relationship than you ever imagined when you began it.

Relationships need maintenance.

After the relationship comes life.  Jobs come.  You have work responsibilities.  One or both of you may try to further your education.  Very often, way before anyone is ready, there are children.  It’s easy to neglect a relationship in the process of all the other things that happen in life.  Couples who fail to maintain the relationship wake up one day, look at each other and wonder why they ever stayed together

It is hard for the “US” to coexist with the “ME.”

In the early days of a relationship, it is all about us, us, us.  Eventually one of you starts to wonder, now that there is an “us” is there still a me?  Where before you used to want to spend every possible minute together, now you begin to wish for time to do the things you used to do before you were part of a couple.

Your finished relationship house won’t look like the blueprints.

The beginning of a relationship is kind of like planning that dream house, it all looks great in your head.  Once you get that dream house built you may well find out that there are lots of features that didn’t work out the way they looked on paper.

You can find more on this topic under Relationships.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.


2 thoughts on “Unhappy Relationship Surprises.

  1. Yes yes yes yes! This is so true.

    My husband and I have been together since we were twenty years old. We’re from the same place, have many of the same childhood memories of our area and yet our families are SO different, and our assumptions about each other once we were past the thrill of first Real Love were also different.

    We were together for about ten years before tying the knot, and have been married for twenty-one years since then. It has *not* been easy. There are things about me he can’t change (and I want to change them, but changing ADHD isn’t possible) and things about him I can’t change. We’ve spent many hours in couples therapy. I can’t speak for him, but I know I’m as in love with him as I was when we first met. I still think he’s about one of the most awesome guys ever. I drive him nuts, he drives me nuts.

    It hasn’t been easy, and we *like* each other. We’ve each thought about divorcing each other many times over the years. We finally found a couples therapist who helped bleed out a lot (tho not all) of our lingering resentments.

    Some relationships/marriages will take much more work than others, and some won’t be worth it. But others are, and those are the ones you want to fight for. But you both have to decide you want to stay married, and work for it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.