There’s really no easy way to say this, except to hit the nail on its head. Relationships of every kind are complicated in some way, and romantic relationships always seem to have their own fair share of these complications.
If you are asked, “what does ‘complicated’ mean in a relationship,” what would be your answer?
Your answer, most likely, would be different from that of the person seated next to you as you read this article.
Just as your answers would be different, it isn’t exactly easy to pinpoint what a complicated relationship truly is because different couples live in different realities, and would all define a complicated relationship as different things.
However, from a generic point of view, a complicated relationship is one in which one (or more) partner isn’t quite sure what they want from the relationship any longer.
Complications in relationships may arise when one partner begins to feel unsatisfied with the relationship, craves something extra, and as a result, begins to make the relationship increasingly difficult for their partner.
Note, however, that this may be done consciously or unconsciously. Although some people may be plain narcissists (who derive joy from making their partners suffer), not everyone who begins to give off ‘complicated’ vibes in a relationship is a bad person.
With those out of the way, here are 15 reasons why a relationship may get complicated as time passes.
15 reasons why relationships are so complicated
1. Distractions are beginning to get in the way
If there’s one thing most people love, it is to be at the center of attention of their partner. They want to have their partner’s undivided attention during the family time after dinner, and they want their partner to make them feel as though they’re worth their full attention during a conversation.
A relationship may start getting complicated if, at some point, one partner begins to feel as though there’s something vying for their partner’s attention with them.
If the partner would rather spend more time with friends than hang out with them, if they’d rather spend all the family time on the phone while giving half-hearted nods and one-word replies during what’s supposed to be a conversation, the relationship may become complicated.
That’s what many people refer to as ‘butterflies in their stomachs,’ ‘sparks that fly when they’re with their partner,’ ‘or just getting lost in their eyes when their partner looks at them.’ Sadly, this thrill is likely to fade away as time proceeds.
When you begin to feel that your relationship is complicated, you may want to take a few steps back and evaluate if the thrill you once felt in the relationship is still there. If it isn’t, it is up to yourself and your partner to do something to spice your boring relationship up once again.
3. You like other people
This may be a bit difficult to absorb, but one of the reasons why relationships are complicated is that a partner may have started developing feelings for someone they aren’t in a romantic relationship with.
If you or your partner begin to develop feelings for someone else, it is only natural that your love and attraction for your partner may begin to dwindle. Complications may begin to arise as this happens.
However, when communication begins to decline in a relationship and each individual puts up their mental/emotional barriers (to keep the other person out), it is just a matter of time before the relationship gets complicated.
5. Intimacy is going out the door
This can be considered an extension of the last point we discussed above. When a relationship begins to have communication issues, intimacy is bound to be affected as well.
Intimacy, in this case, doesn’t only refer to emotional intimacy. It also speaks of physical intimacy (sex), which is a significant part of many relationships.
If your partner begins to feel as though you aren’t as physically into them as before (or if the reverse is the case), your relationship may become complicated as time passes.
Another primary reason why relationships are complicated is the presence of opposing (not complimentary) values.
If, as someone who values punctuality and absolute cleanliness, you get into a relationship with someone who is a slob and doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with delay (or being late for every function), the relationship is bound to start getting tiring as time proceeds.
However, it is necessary to note that your partner may be different from you in many ways. You may have personality traits and temperaments or even different (but complementary) values.
Relationships are hard, but why? Watch this video.
7. Expectations Vs. Reality
Many people think of relationships as the stuff of fairytales. In their minds, they think that they would fall head over heels in love with a perfect person, has no faults and is just the coolest ever.
The sad thing is that this rarely happens because every person has a flaw, and no one is perfect.
When you get into a relationship with all these unbelievable pictures in your mind, only to be slammed with the truth that no one is perfect, you may start feeling overwhelmed in the relationship. This can lead to complications of different forms of relationship.
This is closely related to the point we discussed above. Assumptions are simply thoughts and beliefs in our minds that have little or no bearing on our current realities.
The sad thing about assumptions is that they have a way of making you see things that aren’t there, and if not managed effectively, assumptions can place you in an emotional tight spot.
As someone who intends to have an uncomplicated and healthy relationship with your partner, you must consciously do away with assumptions. If there’s no tangible premise for a thought, nip it in the bud before it takes hold of your mind and makes the relationship awkward.
9. The partners do not understand how to navigate conflict
Early on, we addressed the fact that humans are different and have different tastes as a result.
Because of these differences in personality and preferences, there’s bound to be conflict at some point in every relationship. With this in mind, conflict resolution is something everybody in a relationship should learn.
If you’re able to manage your emotions during a conflict, yours may not become a complicated relationship. However, when relationships get hard and differences arise (and remain unresolved for a while), the relationship will become complicated.
People react to present situations from the perspective of their past experiences. This is why someone who has been through a traumatizing childhood may find it difficult to open themselves up to love, even when they have someone willing to be with them from the bottom of their heart.
Everyone has that group of people they listen to and take advice from. These could be their friends, family, coworkers, or just people in their worlds.
If the people in your partner’s world are pressuring them to let go of you, maybe because they believe you aren’t good enough for them or various reasons), there’s every possibility that your partner may begin to dance to this song as time passes, even if they initially did not want to.
“Why are relationships so complicated?” you may be asking. Well, if you are in a complicated relationship, you may want to look at the people close to your partner (those they take advice from).
Take a look at what they’re saying to your partner concerning their relationship with you. This may help you know why your relationships are complicated.
12. Internal challenges
Your partner may be dealing with some things they may not have told you. They may be experiencing hard times with their businesses, pressure from work, or may just have some challenges they haven’t yet brought you up to speed on.
When your partner is dealing with these internalized challenges, they may be on edge around you, secretive, or even lash out at the slightest chance they get. The result of this is that your relationship begins to get more complicated.
Communication is key when these things begin to happen. Don’t just write them off as horrible people. Instead, seek ways to get them to open up to you and look for common grounds to help them.
The nature of relationships is one reason why relationships are complicated. For example, gay couples may have to deal with challenges that heterosexual couples may not face. These can come together to create a scenario that can best be described as a complicated relationship.
14. Intimate relationships force you to revisit your past hurts
Many people are good at covering up their past hurts and moving on with their lives. However, being intimate with a significant other has a way of causing you to excavate the parts of yourself that you would instead leave underground and will force you to confront these demons from the past.
Sometimes, it feels like ripping a band-aid off an ulcerated wound, which can cause many people to react in different ways, some of which can be described as over-the-top.
When you’re in a relationship and have to talk about things, you would instead act as though they aren’t there. There’s every possibility that the relationship may turn complicated in a short time. The fear of intimacy is one reason why relationships are complicated.
This begins to happen as time goes on in the relationship. When you have become comfortable around your partner, there’s every possibility that you may start taking the little things that matter to them for granted (or they may start doing the same to you).
When this begins to happen in the relationship, one or more parties may resent the other, and the relationship may get complicated.
As a solution, focus on communication and constantly reminding yourself of the little things that make your partner tick, even if they’re things you don’t quite understand or hold in high esteem.
Why are relationships so difficult?
If you have been asking this question, this article has been dedicated to showing you 15 reasons why relationships are complicated. Pay attention to all reasons we have discussed and commit to working on your relationship with your partner if that’s the step that makes the most sense to you.
A complicated relationship doesn’t always have to deteriorate into a messy breakup.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Rachael Pace is a noted relationship writer associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying the evolution of loving partnerships and is passionate about writing on them. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.