Glenn Stok studies emotional self-awareness, and he writes about it to help his readers understand its importance in relationships.
When passion and sensual feelings occur before a relationship matures with trust and respect, then love and affection might never develop. That can burden a new relationship with misunderstandings and a lack of tolerance.
I’ll discuss the issues that arise when not given time to get to know one another and what’s needed to correct this so that the relationship can attain a strong foundation.
Incorrect Perceptions Cause Misunderstandings
Many couples I know ended new relationships because of misconceptions. In all cases, I saw a failure to get to know one another on a level where they can appreciate their partner’s behavior. That left them with the wrong assumption of what took place when quarrels occurred.
I’ve had a couple of relationships myself that progressed quickly from the start, and they never lasted. I had learned a few valuable lessons from these experiences. Misunderstandings got in the way of further progress.
In a new relationship, neither partner has learned to recognize what’s behind the actions of the other yet. People sometimes have an ulterior motive for their behavior. Their response to events can be due to emotional baggage from a previous relationship or early childhood experiences. That can confuse their partner and cause doubt and uncertainty.
When a new relationship is forming, and the partners don’t know one another well enough yet, they may have warped notions of what took place when they disagree. They argue about an issue that troubles them because they each think of the events differently.
When one gives a relationship time to mature, partners learn to hear one another and understand how each experiences the events differently.1
Early sensual and erotic involvement in a relationship will only make a couple feel close temporarily. A strong foundation of trust is needed for a lasting bond. In addition, mutual respect helps with communication to avoid misunderstandings.
Low Tolerance and Lack of Acceptance
The problem with a relationship that involves intense passion too soon is that one rarely has time to learn to appreciate their partner at an emotional level.
Lust alone is not enough to sustain a relationship. Couples in a new relationship need to learn to understand one another. They need to discover the background that makes each other function as they do.
The capability to understand an individual’s intentions takes time to develop. Before that is achieved, misunderstandings can hinder love and respect. Not enough time has passed yet to express how much they cherish and admire one another.
Partners haven’t had time yet to create a history of successful interactions. If too many conflicts occur near the beginning, partners might dwell on the negative encounters. That behavior could lead to a lack of confidence and cast doubt on the relationship.
When one partner complains of being bothered due to something caused by miscommunication, the other may tend to bring up occasions where they were also upset. That doesn’t do any good for the success of the relationship.
On the contrary, it just antagonizes one another and creates bitter resentment. That is unfortunate since the entire problem stems from the inability to understand one another.
One doesn’t always fully understand where their partner is coming from in the early stage of a relationship. Their feelings and mannerisms are based on lessons from previous experiences. These behaviors are not known well enough yet by each other. Therefore, they are not able to have empathy and to understand what really is going on. So, it isn’t easy to be tolerant.
Low tolerance can stop the growth of a new relationship. It’s too easy to give up when something becomes frustrating. A single mistake either partner makes can ruin the potential for growth.2
Appreciating the positive qualities in one’s partner can help make a relationship secure. But that takes time to learn and requires a commitment to the relationship.
One Can Misunderstand Linguistic Nuances
Some people complain about what their partner says without considering the sentiment behind the words. How we use words to express our emotions is fundamental to communication.
Words can be misconstrued or taken out of context, especially when partners have not yet learned how the other functions on a verbal level. For example, even jokes can be taken literally when not understood to be in jest.
I had this trouble once with a friend who took me seriously when I made a joke in an email. When I mentioned that experience to a psychologist, he asked if I included LOL in the email. I did not. That might have helped make it apparent I was kidding.
When these misunderstandings occur, some words might be inferred as hurtful, when all along something completely different was meant.
Presuming and incorrectly inferring meanings of a partner’s actions and behaviors can cause one to have hurt feelings too. Therefore, it’s essential to communicate and learn about a partner’s perspective on issues that may be negatively affecting a relationship.
In a relationship, it’s helpful to realize that actions speak louder than words. Only the actions show the true feelings one has for the other, so it’s best to pay more attention to what one does rather than what one says.
How to Keep the Relationship Alive
Some people tend to give up quickly when problems or disputes occur, especially if the relationship didn’t mature yet. They overlook the positive experiences and dwell on the negative.
When trouble develops, focus on the desire to keep the relationship alive. That may require compromise. If both partners genuinely have a commitment to the relationship, they will find the ability to look for solutions. Trying to be flexible can usually help accomplish this. Emotional flexibility is a necessary element for a lasting relationship.3
Flexibility can be difficult, especially if values, beliefs, and goals are vastly different. Compromising may be difficult to achieve. A better solution might be a collaboration. I’ll tell you what I mean.
Partners need to be there for one another as team players. They should consider the following:
- Work on a common goal.
- Discuss what’s important.
- Learn one another’s intentions.
- Find a middle-ground.
Once they do that, understanding differences in values and beliefs can be an acceptable compromise as long as both partners want the relationship to continue and flourish.
Love and Affection Changes Us
I have always realized that every relationship I’ve had has helped me become a better person. For that reason, I learned that the presence of love and affection changes us.
As a relationship matures, we allow room for our perceptions to be changed. We grow with the newfound practices that we observe with our partner.
When a relationship is given a chance to mature, both partners learn to appreciate the values of one another. They question their own identity and allow themselves to learn from the differences. They may even create a feeling of comfort with the way their partner lives. They begin to identify with it.
They feel a certain amount of growth as they pick up little tidbits of their partner’s identity. They enjoy the feeling. They feel as if it’s making them a better person.
To Conclude in Summary
Only when both partners learn the mindsets of each other can they indeed be comfortable with one another and grow together in a maturing relationship. That takes time and requires acceptance of problematic issues that could be construed as annoying, especially if little is understood about the underlying matters.
When partners learn to recognize the quality of the relationship, they will be able to commit to a growing and loving relationship that includes more respect than just an attraction due to lust.
Once partners are in a deep, intimate relationship, they conduct themselves differently:
- They respect each other more.
- They accept differences without being judgmental.
- They understand the nuances of their partner.
- They protect one another.
Eventually, they feel they are on the same team. Each one has the other’s back. It can be a turning point leading to a progressive future together.
If they can hear each other and understand why the other is functioning as they do, they can achieve significant growth towards something beautiful.
Love is accepting disagreements as a meaningful part of the journey, not a hopeless dead end.
- Erika Boissiere. (May 12, 2021). “5 Misunderstandings That Will Cause Problems In Your Closest Relationships“ - EveryDayPower.com
- Maria Baratta Ph.D. (January 30, 2021). “Moving Too Fast Can Derail a Potential Relationship” - Psychology Today
- Sandra Knispel. (November 24, 2020). “What’s the secret ingredient that makes a happy couple or family?” University of Rochester
© 2021 Glenn Stok
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on July 24, 2021:
Dora, I agree with your statement that long term relationships don’t just happen. That’s an important point, because we can also say that short term relationships do just happen. But what good is that if there is no future in it? Thanks for confirming the message.
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on July 24, 2021:
McKenna, you made an important point that it’s best to focus on ourselves rather than trying to change the other person. Expecting someone to change is a losing battle. We are always learning, but to your last point, I feel happiness does not need to be left out of the equation.
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on July 24, 2021:
Very helpful. The message is clear. We need to take time and put effort in knowing and understanding each other before we move towards intimacy. Long term relationships don't just happen. Thanks for the lesson.
McKenna Meyers on July 24, 2021:
Glenn, I love your belief in every relationship making you a better person. If we adopt this attitude, we can focus on ourselves--what we're learning from the pairing--and not on changing the other person. As I grow older and wiser, I see that life is really about learning and growing, not about being happy.