Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, so what better time to consider the status of modern relationships in the UK?

With Valentine’s Day spending set to exceed £1 billion in the UK after rising incrementally for the last two years, it would initially appear as though there are a healthy number of loving and contented relationships nationwide. The fact that men are continuing to do the majority of spending also suggests that the age of chivalry is far from dead, as male consumers look to spoil their loved ones with clothes, spa treatments and romantic breaks away. Even the concept of marriage, which is often undermined by a national divorce rate of approximately 40%, has become increasingly popular over the last two years with the rate of weddings having risen by 6.6% in this time.

As anyone in a relationship will testify, however, those involved must be proactive and invest time into making it successful. There are numerous internal and external factors that can impact on a relationship, so you need to take responsibility for your own actions and attitude. With this in mind, consider the following issues and how they can turn even the happiest relationship sour: -

1. Neglecting to Take Care of your Appearance

While this may sound superficial, the level of pride that you take in your appearance often reflects you inherent values and the attitude that you have towards your relationship. Those who neglect to take care of themselves are essentially revealing a lack of drive or hunger for self-improvement, while also underlining the fact that they are not prepared to make an effort to look nice for their partner. This can slowly eat away at the foundations of a relationship, especially if your partner is extremely motivated to keep fit and take care of the image that they present.

2. Taking your Partner for Granted

Married couples have taken a lifetime vow to love and care for one another, and while this does not always work out, the original sentiment is almost universally heartfelt and genuine. It is all too easy for even happy and contented relationships to become stale, however, especially if you begin to take your partner for granted and fail to appreciate the qualities that you initially fell in love with all those years’ ago. For a relationship to remain happy and satisfied, you must continue to prove your love and appreciation throughout the duration of your time together.

3. Stockpiling Negative Emotions

Relationships are not always easy, as even genuine soul mates can encounter periods of turbulence, conflict and even infidelity. While the power of love can go a long way towards resolving these individual issues, however, it is crucial that you do not stockpile negative emotions in a way the breeds resentment, jealously or paranoia. If you continue to harbor negative feelings after a relationship breakdown, you must communicate this openly and ensure that they are resolved before you move on.

4. Being Overly Critical of a Partner

We all have our own unique standards in life, and in an ideal world we would find a mate who shared these as closely as possible. This is not always possible, however, meaning that we must occasionally compromise on these ideals if a relationship to be successful. If you do find yourself in this position, it is also crucial that you refrain from being too critical of a partner who has less than exacting standards. The differences between two individuals must be embraced in a successful relationship, rather than being picked upon and criticized.

5. Failing to Understand Each Other’s Expectations from Life

It should be clear by now that a lack of communication is pivotal to the majority of most relationship issues, and this also applies to a failure to understand your partners’ expectations. Life goals vary according to each individual, as while some desire nothing more than to start a family others have more career-orientated aspirations. While there may be room for both in the modern family, it is crucial that every individual understands the needs of their partner and works together in a bid to achieve them.

6. Neglecting to Follow your Own Interests

While shared hobbies and pursuits offer couples the chance to strengthen their bond, it is also important that each individual has their own interests and past-times. This ensures that people retain their own unique identity throughout the course of their relationship, while it also creates talking points for couples to share at the end of a long, hard day. If you neglect to follow your interests, you could easily become frustrated and demotivated through the course of everyday life.

7. Putting Yourself and Your Needs First

All successful relationships are based on a sense of compromise and collaboration, as each individual must consider the needs of their partner and place these ahead of their own. Individuals who continue to put their own needs first are unlikely to prosper in a relationship, simply because their better half will become tired of being marginalized and having their feelings disregarded over a prolonged period of time.

8. Avoiding Honest and Open Communication in a Bid to Keep the Peace

While honesty can ultimately save and preserve a relationship, it may also cause a significant amount of conflict and disruption in the process. You must never be afraid of engaging in honest and open communication as a way of resolving relationship issues, as your willingness to confront harsh home-truths reflects a desire to make a love-match work. If you look to avoid confrontation simply as a way of keeping the peace, the chances are that unresolved issues will fester and ultimately end the relationship prematurely.

9. Failing to Create the Ideal Work-life Balance

We all need to work, and the willingness to provide for your family is extremely admirable. While you would expect your partner to be understanding of your need to work irregular hours or occasional weekends, however, they may become frustrated if your schedule begins to impact negatively on the relationship. You must therefore strive to create a viable work-life balance, which enables you to spend more time at home and pay attention to the people that you love the most.

10. Refusing to Say Sorry Even When you are in the Wrong

On a final note, not even the most loving relationship can survive without a certain amount of mutual respect. This can be shown in various ways, but one of the most obvious is the willingness to apologize and show remorse when you are in the wrong. This shows a keen sense of maturity and integrity, as you are happy to accept when you have made a mistake and offended your partner. If sorry is the hardest word for you to say, however, this stubborn and short-sighted outlook may well end up costing you your relationship.

Featured photo credit: Loving couple at the beach via shutterstock.com

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