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How to Discover What's Missing in Your Relationship

It’s helpful to apply self-awareness to improve emotional response to relationships. Glenn Stok studies this and discusses his research.


Are you in a committed relationship or already married, and you love your partner, but you feel that something might be missing? I’ll ask you to think about some revealing questions, and I’ll include my thoughts to give you some clues.

Notice Similarities Between Both of You

Do you share the same values about life?

You both should be on the same page as far as your values are concerned. Do you know what your partner thinks about being kind to others, preserving the environment, treating animals well, and appreciating friends? Do you find this is how you feel about these things?

Do you feel you work together as a team?

How do you both manage stress? Are you there for each other during hectic situations?

How about the way you both handle complicated matters? Do you shy away and let things go without resolving the issue, or do you work on it until you solve the problem? Do you find that you both work as a team in these situations?

Are you both compatible with everyday life situations?

Do you both share the same ideas of where to live—a small town or a big city?

Do you have similar social desires, such as getting together with friends or having parties? How about the need for alone time? Are you compatible with that too?

Compatibility also includes things such as eating habits, music interests, and travel choices. Do you share the same desires? Maybe it doesn’t matter, and that’s a valid choice too.

Do you both have similar plans for the future?

Where do you both see yourself in 5 years, ten years, or 20 years? That is important to know, or else you may drift apart. It's better to know this now so you can decide what’s essential and what’s not. Be honest about deal breakers. Sometimes they can be worked out with a compromise.

Are you intellectually compatible?

Some men seek beauty before brains. Some women consider security before appearance. If one desires intelligence, then nothing is going to compensate for the lack of it, in my opinion. It will become an issue over time, in the way you both think, in the way you relate, and in the way you see the world.

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The good news is that it doesn’t necessarily have to stand in the way. If all other aspects of the relationship are healthy, and compatibility is confirmed, as you will determine from the questions in this article, then differences such as this might be unimportant.

Do You Feel Comfortable With Your Partner?

Do you find it challenging to communicate with one another about personal issues?

When things don’t go the way we would want, some people back off rather than confront the situation by talking about it. That stifles a relationship. It’s vital to keep the intimacy alive by sharing feelings, discussing what’s bothering you, and asking for input from your partner about their thoughts and feelings.

If you find that difficult, consider the following two questions.

Have you learned that you can depend on your partner to respect your feelings?

If you haven’t gotten to the point where you can expect your partner to respect your feelings, this can stand in the way of emotional intimacy. Try to get past that. Work on it by talking about it. It’s important. If you don’t get that respect and give it too, then the relationship may be doomed to failure.

Mutual respect is an essential factor in feeling wanted and desired. I like to think of it as a team. The two of you are mutually beneficial partners.

Do you feel relaxed? Can you be yourself?

If the answer is “no,” then you need to understand why this is the case. Is it coming from how you were treated when you were growing up? Or from the way your partner is treating you now?

If you can’t be yourself because your partner doesn’t accept your behavior or the nuances of your lifestyle, then an in-depth heart-to-heart talk is necessary. Don’t let this go without discussing it. It will only eat at your self-esteem and get worse over time.

Think About What You Want

What do you want with your relationship?

If you find it easier to select a career or the location where they wish to live than you do with deciding what you want in a relationship, then you may need to change your focus.

We tend to ignore many things when it comes to selecting friends or working with business acquaintances. We never consider some of the critical issues that can make or break a relationship. Maybe it’s time to think about it.

What do you admire most about your partner?

If you find yourself losing the desire to continue your relationship, try giving some thought to what you might be overlooking about what your partner already offers.

Think about what you admire. Give your partner some recognition for it. Show that you’re aware of it. The act of communication might have a powerful effect on how you feel.

What have you found that you both enjoy doing together?

Try not to lose sight of the incredible times you share. Bring it up for discussion and make a mutual decision to repeat those events you both cherish doing together. Don’t let the few good things go unnoticed. Identify. Acknowledge. Repeat.

Do you both have a special place where you feel comfortable?

Some people call it a Man Cave. Women have one too; they call it their Lady Cave. It’s a room set aside just for their personal use and enjoyment. As long as it’s accepted and appreciated by both, then it’s okay.

What does the future hold?

What does the future hold?

Think About the Future With Your Partner

Did your life change for the better after you got involved?

Are you focusing more on what you feel is missing than on how your life changed?

It’s normal to remember the bad times more than the good times. It’s the same as how people complain about bad customer relations with a company, but rarely show appreciation for excellent service.

That seems to be the way humans behave, but try to overcome that with your relationship. Try to recall the changes your partner brought into your life that had a positive effect. Then acknowledge it and show appreciation for it.

Can you see definite reasons for a great future together?

Taking into account what you now realize, how do you visualize your relationship going forward?

Do you have a stronger feeling for the companionship you share?

Repeating a question I asked you earlier in this article, where do you see yourself with this relationship in 5 years, ten years, or 20 years? Is the answer any different now after doing the exercise of answering the questions I posed for you? Do you see a great future together?

Final Thoughts

We all have boundaries and needs. If a partner doesn't honor those needs, it can be a deal-breaker. But no relationship is perfect. It would be a shame to overlook the good qualities you have in a partner just because of not having everything perfect.

You may not always agree on everything. Communication and understanding allow a couple to build a future together and not worry about random disagreements.

Some things may be missing, but whatever your dream of the perfect mate is, you need to be realistic about the type of person with whom you are compatible.

Did This Help?

© 2018 Glenn Stok


Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on July 02, 2018:

You made an important point Audrey. I don’t think any of us can fix what we don’t acknowledge, so you’re not alone. Speaking from my own experience, it takes several repeated mistakes before we realize what we’re overlooking.

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on July 02, 2018:

In your final thoughts you have said, "Whatever your dream is of the perfect mate, you need to be realistic about the type of person with whom you are compatible."

It took 3 divorces before I realized this wise truth. I'm embarrassed to admit this Glenn, but I can't fix what I don't acknowledge. Whether the opportunity comes along for me to test this, remains to be seen.

Excellent article and very informative. Sharing with others.

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on June 30, 2018:

Thank you Natalie for your comments about my article. Being that you are a Clinical Psychologist, your positive review means a lot to me.

Natalie Frank from Chicago, IL on June 29, 2018:

Always an important topic. I especially like the way you approach the subject through the use of questions. It seems to make it more immediate and personal. It's hard not to consider something when it is posed in the form of a question. I appreciate your insight and the way you explained the different points. It was very clear and I am sure many will find what you have discussed here as applicable to their lives and their relationships. Thanks for the article.

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on June 23, 2018:

Pamela Oglesby - That sounds great! Having similar views sure does make a couple feel secure in a relationship.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on June 23, 2018:

This aritcle is excellent on the many aspects of relationships. I have been in a relationship that had many of those problems you listed, but I am happy with my current husband. We are fortunate to have the same views on most things.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on June 09, 2018:

Glenn, I'm presently missing the entire relationship, but I consider these questions very appropriate and helpful for those involved. Expectations must be communicated early to help decide for or against having the relationship.

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on June 09, 2018:

dashingscorpio - You gave a lot of tremendously good advice. Thanks for taking the time to write your comment. Everything you said is a wonderful and helpful addition to this subject.

dashingscorpio from Chicago on June 09, 2018:

"Knowing What You Want and Need" - This is the key!

Each of us (chooses) our own friends, lovers, and spouse.

Each of us has our mate selection process/must haves list.

Each of us has our boundaries and "deal breakers".

In essence we should have figured out who (we) are and what we want before pursuing relationships. A lot of people allow "impulsive connections" and "happenstance" to dictate their relationship choices.

It's the equivalent of going shopping without a list!

In other instances some people are bored with peace, serenity, and comfortability in a relationship. They've bought into the ideas spread in Hollywood movies and romance novels that relationships should be filled excitement, drama, and passion or elements of uncertainty.

One has to be honest with them self. If you need the thrill that comes with being with someone "new" you're never going to be happy in any long-term relationship or marriage. All good relationships between compatible people eventually reach a "comfort level".

Knowing each other very well is a strength which allows a couple to build a future together without having to worry about insecurities.

One of the smartest things is recognizing you have what you want.

Know yourself, Love yourself, Trust yourself.

There are only two ways to experience joy and peace of mind in relationships. We either get what we want or we learn to be happy with what we have. Accept them (as is) or move on.

The choice is up to us. Choose wisely!

RedElf from Canada on June 09, 2018:

Lovely article, Glenn. Now all I need is a relationship... Seriously though, lots of helpful insights. Thanks for this one.

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on June 09, 2018:

Vladimir Karas - Thanks for your feedback on this article. That was my intention when I wrote it. The poll I placed at the end will show how successful this has been.

ValKaras on June 09, 2018:

Glenn---Quite an informative and inspirational article---everybody could find something in it which, once applied in their relationship, would make it better.

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on June 09, 2018:

Poppy - The best thing you can do is exactly what I discussed under “Communication and Respect” - go back and read that one again.

Poppy from Enoshima, Japan on June 09, 2018:

Mine and my fiancé’s relationship is great except for the fact that we never have sex... what would you suggest to make him want me? :(

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