Do all of your relationships all seem to end in flames? There are many relationships don’t end up working out. Although it’s not fun to admit, it’s important to examine our own role in failed relationships.
If you discover that your actions or thoughts weren’t healthy, that does not mean you’re a bad person. But there might be some stumbling blocks in your life that are translating into relationship issues.
These problems could involve financial or personal issues, spiritual blockades, or general misunderstandings.
Here are six things you might be doing to cause all of your relationships to quickly go down in flames.
1. Are you putting too much pressure on your vocational discernment?
Maybe all of your friends are married, or your parents were married by the time they were your age. Friends and family might not be putting direct pressure on you. But sometimes being surrounded by people who are married can make you put pressure on yourself to get married, too.
The feeling of falling behind or missing out is understandable! But if you’re getting into relationships and trying to force things along, they’re probably going to crash and burn. Or worse, you and your partner get swept up in the feelings, ignore every red flag, and get married, only to later find out that those red flags are actually really big deals.
Just like the old song says, you can’t hurry love. So slow down, enjoy the ride, learn from your married friends, and take your time getting into relationships.
If you struggle with this pressure, take time to discern if you are called to marriage. It could be that the Lord is calling you in a different vocational direction all together!
2. Do you struggle with an addiction?
We tend to think of addictions as only major when they involve drugs, alcohol, or gambling. But addiction can come in many forms. You can be addicted to masturbation, online shopping, television, or all sorts of things. Any type of addiction will have a profound impact on your ability to maintain healthy relationships.
You may struggle being appropriately intimate, easily angered, nitpicky, extremely indecisive, needy, or co-dependent. If you are struggling with any sort of addiction, seek help. You deserve to be healthy in all ways and your future partner deserves a healthy significant other.
Addiction certainly makes it seem like the only way we can be defined, but that’s not true. The truth is you are an incredible person who needs help. Extend to yourself the grace that God extends to us and get the help you need to be happy, health, and whole.
3. Are you able to sacrifice for the good of the relationship?
Do you have to have the last say in every argument because you always feel like you’re right?
Do you have to have a hand in planning every step of every day?
Does the thought of giving up something you like to support your significant other make you cringe?
You could be suffering from the inability to give up your freedoms for the good of the relationship. There is a lot of give and take in a relationship. Both parties will need to sacrifice some of their freedoms for the good of the whole. This is not to say that you have to give up absolutely everything and should never have anything for yourself. Relationships of any sort are a give and take.
Make sure you’re both giving and taking equally, allowing all needs of all members to be met.
4. Do you have the wrong outlook on relationships?
Is marriage a status symbol to you?
Or is marriage just a means for you to be in control and dominant?
Is a relationship and marriage just a means to an end for you?
If any of these ring true, you need to re-evaluate. Marriage is to be a living image of the inner life of the Trinity, the fully giving and fully receiving of persons to bring about new life. The sacrament of marriage is also a microcosm of the Church, working together to get all its members to heaven.
If you want to expand and fix your outlook on marriage, there are some great books out there to help you! Fulton Sheen’s Three to Get Married is a treasure as is Bl. Gianna Beretta Molla’s Love Letters to My Husband. The Catholic Church has a beautiful and rich understanding of marriage and it will always be beneficial to learn more about the Catholic understanding of the sacrament of marriage.
5. Are you pretending to be someone you’re not?
If you’re trying to impress a potential significant other, you might be tempted to tell a lie. Lying, whether it’s a small, inconsequential lie or a life-altering, huge one, is always wrong. You cannot get to know someone who won’t reveal him or herself to you. Likewise, you cannot make the sacrament of marriage if you cannot give full consent because you do not actually know a person.
All lies end up hurting the other party and, usually, both of you.
If you find yourself tempted to lie to your significant other for any reason, step back and step out of that relationship. You need to take time to figure out why you’re putting on a charade and work towards healing.
If it’s a low self-esteem issue, know that you are worth being known as you are, the way God has made you because He made you in infinite goodness and beauty. If the issue is one of mental health, seek a professional to help you sort through these issues.
6. Are you confident in the type of relationship you’re looking for?
Sometimes Catholics make casual dating sound like something really terrible and sinful. It’s not! Not by its nature, at least. Casual dating can be a great way to get to know many different people and further refine your list of qualities you want or need in a partner. It can be a fun way to meet new people and make new friends.
Just like there are different levels of friendships to help fulfill different needs in our lives, casual dating can serve a purpose while we’re on the road to discovering a potential partner that would make a great serious, long-term relationship or discovering if we’re even called to marriage. Not everything has to go from zero to sixty in less than ten seconds! In fact, getting serious too quickly can cause a lot of problems in a relationship (and personal life), too. Admit to yourself what you want and need at this season of your life and seek that out.
While dating, it’s good to constantly re-examine our wants and needs, reflect on who we are and how our relationships have gone so far, and determine what is and isn’t working. None of this means you’re a bad person or even bad at dating. This just means that you, like all of us, have areas you need to grow in.
Ask Jesus for some grace to grow out of your weak areas and be amazed at what he does.
Want to learn more about Catholic online dating? Check out the new Catholic Singles online dating app!