When You are in Love but Frustrated about the Relationship

Frustrated black couple
Being in a relationship can be the best thing ever when things are peachy and both people are firing on all love cylinders.
But being in a relationship can be really frustrating when you know you care deeply about each other but still can’t seem to get on the same page about the nature of the relationship or your expectations for the relationship.

Why does this happen? How is it that two people can desire to be in a relationship care deeply about each other, have little to no issues about each other’s character, and yet are frustrated BY the relationship?
After some deep thought and reflection on some of the relationship situations I have seen, I perceive that there are 5 issues that cause that type of frustration. Here they are:

1. The issue of DEFINITION:

This begs to answer the question – WHAT ARE WE? The discomfort comes either from not being able to define what the relationship is, OR having different definitions of what the relationship is. Are we exclusive? Are we dating or talking? Are we together? Are we committed? Are we serious? What exactly does that mean? This is really important for figure out (Ladies love to hear that) but it is not something to rush into (Men are like “Tell them!). Ladies typically expect a man to make a major commitment before giving him a chance to know her and become comfortable to make a decision, and men would typically want to wait for a while to do so. It’s a balance.

2. The issue of DIRECTION:

This begs to answer the question – WHERE ARE WE GOING? The discomfort comes when there is no defined destination or the desired destinations are different. Sure we have defined our relationship NOW…but we did not include in that definition, a sense of where we are going …or a future destination we would both want. At the core of this issue is the underlying question “Are we going to get married?” or at least, likely to get married? Are the things we are doing going to lead us to more stability or deeper commitment? This is a big one. One person usually wants this answered before they commit and the other person wants to experience a certain level of commitment, before fully committing. At the end..they are both frustrated. Married folks don’t escape this either. There are so many decisions that are affected by a disagreement in direction. Issues with children, careers, bills, family goals and so on.

3. The issue of PACE:

This begs to answer the question – HOW FAST ARE WE MOVING TO GET THERE? The frustration comes when one person is taking a race car to the destination, and the other person is walking. They are both going to the same place but one person is moving significantly faster than the other.
So the relationship is defined, the direction is outlined, but we are working towards that destination as different paces. One person seems to have emotionally and physically arrived at the destination faster than the other. This is such a big one that if not figured out soon, at least one of them starts wondering about staying or letting go.
A disagreement on the issue of pace can really frustrate both people. So for example, one person is frustrated that they are being dragged into the next level of commitment before they are fully comfortable and the other feels frustrated that they are even having to drag the other into it. Even for married couples, this shows up. Do we want to have babies right away or do we want to do marriage for a while first? This one is also huge for married folks. This is where frustration can get really high when for example, they agree on the direction but one person is more enthusiastic than the other about it and therefore moving faster and because of that, feels frustrated that the other is not supportive or being a good teammate.

4.The issue of METHOD:

This begs to answer the question – HOW ARE WE GOING TO GET THERE? Here, the frustration comes when you have the same destination, the same speed or pace, but you can’t agree on the way or the steps to get there. It’s like two people agreeing they are going to the same place, agreeing to go at the same speed, but then taking different routes to get there.
So maybe they both agree on the direction, speed, and even route, but one person believes there are 5 major steps to reach the destination, and the other one believes it takes 20 small ones to get there.

One person says I’d like to finish school and get a job before we marry and the other says let’s get married now.
One says I’d love to get to know your parents before we get engaged and the other says let’s get engaged first…they will be more receptive to you then. One person says let’s meet my pastor as soon as we begin dating and the other person says let’s at least settle into a relationship well and get to know each other before we involve other people.

5. The issue of NEEDS:

This begs to answer the question – DO YOU UNDERSTAND AND RESPECT MY NEEDS? This is by far one of the most common and dangerous issues in relationships and marriage. It’s when one person (or both) feels that the other person takes their needs for granted or underestimates the importance of those needs. One person thinks it’s important to properly say goodnight and have closure to the day, the other person is fine just passing out watching TV.

At the core of this is INDIFFERENCE.

In other words, it’s not just that person A values something and person B disagrees with that thing. No.
It’s that person A values something and person B doesn’t seem to care enough to adjust towards (or for) that thing.

This is perhaps the most frustrating for married folks. This is the one that ends marriages. When one person feels stuck in a marriage where their needs are not a priority, it is an invitation for everything you pray against in marriage.

It is about our inability to change towards or FOR the other person. No relationship can survive without a healthy dose of compromise but no relationship can survive with too much compromise

These are all issues that can put a strain on a relationship and even make you start reconsidering it.

Here are my two cents on these issues:

1) These are not necessarily deal breakers. In fact from this article, you may realize that you agree on some or even most of these points, and are able to isolate the one issue so you two can deal with it. That said,

2) For both people to be comfortable in the relationship, they need to agree on at least 2 of them. More specifically they need to agree on the issue of Definition + at least one more.

3) For the men: Be very careful to avoid pressure especially about definition, and pace. Rushing into either of those may make her “feel” better but it will still come around and hurt the relationship if you weren’t truly ready. That said, be reasonable. Don’t just string her along. You will either hurt or lose a good woman if you do.

4) For the ladies: Be really careful here… especially about the DIRECTION issue. (Are we going to get married”) Even the men with the best intentions AND the intention to marry and commit to someone, may not feel like they have enough information about you right away to decide if you are the one they want to do forever with.

5) Don’t measure the progress of your relationship by what you think is normal. Sometimes YOU TWO have to be the new normal. There may be circumstances that affect your definition, direction, pace or method that are unique to YOUR relationship

6) Communicate. FULLY. Don’t be afraid to be explicit (in love) about your needs, why you have those needs and how you think those needs should be met. Don’t suffer in silence when those needs are not being met, and alway be willing to change towards (for) the person you say you love.

So there you have it. Remember these and at least you can identify WHY you are frustrated and have meaningful conversations about it. If you don’t remember these, you will give yourself unnecessary frustration.