Photo Credit: Noel Hendrickson/Getty Images
Two to Tango
Scuka, who’s seen dozens of couples come through his office, says sometimes couples need to work on a relationship individually and together. Telltale signs that the issues are shared ones? “If both of you don’t feel satisfied and understood by the other person, you both feel that your emotions aren’t being taken seriously,” he says.
So when should you pull the plug? It turns out when the Beatles sang, “All You Need is Love” they weren’t talking about thriving, healthy, mutually satisfying relationships.
Dr. Aronoff says the first step is to look at the glue—trust, shared values, and attraction—that holds intimate relationships together. “If those aren’t there, it’s to think about making big changes or moving on,” he says.
Palumbo says he hears the death knell in a relationship when one half of a couple has grown in a new direction and the other isn’t ready to accept those changes. “I tell people to ask themselves: ‘Is my partner interested in me growing and changing?’ If you’ve found a new passion, does your husband not want you to change careers?” Relationships have to grow and change, he says, or they become hollow.
Even if you didn’t “start” the problem, there’s good incentive to try and fix it (if the relationship is worth fixing). Studies show that people in satisfying, mutually respectful relationships are healthier, live longer, and are more economically secure. True connection is also one of life’s great pleasures. It’s not easy to get there and the path is not always clear. Be honest about yourself. Be honest about him. Go with your gut. And be ready and willing to get professional help when the going gets rough. “It’s you, the person in the relationship, who has to determine (where a relationship will go),” says Palumbo, “You have to have regard for your own feelings. That’s the only way you’ll be able to determine if it’s time to stay and work it out or move on.”