A crisis in a long-term relationship is inevitable – no matter how much you care for your relationship, bad times always come. However, it can be a starting point for improving functioning. There is a reason why they are often referred to as “developmental”. How do you recognize a crisis in a relationship? What can make it worse? How to talk to survive this time?
Relationship crisis - what is it?
Many people ask themselves, “Is it normal to have a relationship crisis? Do others have that too? ”. According to the assumptions of researchers of the psychology of love, relationship crises are not only a natural phenomenon, but their absence is even more disturbing than their presence. What does this approach result from? The answer is simple – crises are essential to further development .
This term is used to describe the moment when it is no longer possible to function according to known and worked out patterns. There is a need to break the so-called slot machines and try new solutions .
If the behaviors that have worked well in a relationship suddenly stop working, do not work, and there is tension between the partners – it is a loud signal for change. The crisis is progressive, and during its duration there is a disintegration in the relationship .
A crisis in a relationship usually starts with one person, but over time begins to coexist and affect both partners . It appears not only in marriages, but also in every longer relationship.
Feelings and emotions present when experiencing a crisis are :
- feeling of helplessness and depression,
- stress and nervousness,
- increased tension, anxiety and anxiety,
This condition is also associated with worse functioning of each partner individually.
Crisis in a relationship - what is it?
A relationship crisis can have many causes. Some of them result from the wrong relationship patterns that the partners derive from their family environment. Others may arise as a result of unpleasant random events, e.g. loss of a child, betrayal or illness. It is also caused by a decline in commitment and neglect of relationships .
In order for a relationship to function well and bring satisfaction (a very important factor influencing the willingness to engage in a relationship), it must be constantly nurtured. One of the most important issues is experiencing emotions (especially positive ones) by partners together.
That is why routine and lack of variety in spending time together very often lead to a crisis. Emotions drive the relationship, make it more attractive and engaging . Therefore, it is worth trying new things together, looking for other forms of entertainment and surprising each other to avoid monotony.
It may also contribute to the crisis :
- overworking the partner – this can lead to his frustration and the belief that he is unable to cope alone;
- avoiding conflicts – lack of quarrels or arguments can lead to indifference and loss of ties;
- excessive demand for justice – enumerating to the partner what has been done for him; Demanding everything in a relationship to work equally, keeping it accountable;
- giving pleasure (eg making surprises) motivated by a sense of duty (“Yes, I should / should behave”, “I have to buy him / her a gift because it is so”), and not by feelings.
Jealousy can also be exacerbated by the crisis. While experiencing this feeling, there is a feeling of guilt, helplessness, shame and loathing towards oneself, and very often – towards the partner. 
These feelings are not conducive to cementing and deepening the bond. They carry over into everyday situations, leading to tension and distance from each other. A sense of disgust towards a partner or one’s own shame is not conducive to building a satisfactory relationship.
Relationship crisis - how to talk about it? What to avoid?
A crisis in a relationship is a difficult time for both partners. There is greater tension, which means that a trivial reason, e.g. an inappropriate way of expressing thoughts, may contribute to the deepening of the breakdown of the relationship.
Communication errors not only aggravate the situation, but can also lead to it.
When communicating with a partner, it is worth avoiding :
- judging, criticizing and ridiculing,
- comparisons (e.g. to former partners or friends),
- putting all responsibility on the other person,
- using threats and emotional blackmail,
- ordering and moralizing,
- insulting, diminishing and underestimating the problems of the other person,
- blame and recall past events.
In a relationship, you must first of all try to understand your partner. Communication should be based on clearly expressing your thoughts and listening carefully to the other half. Common conversation must be based on mutual respect for each other.
Relationship crisis - what to do?
When a relationship crisis occurs, you need to act. Leaving him on his own will break the relationship. The union can be repaired by yourself. However, it requires a lot of empathy and commitment from both partners.
Sometimes it may be difficult to understand your other half, so it is best to work through the situation with a psychotherapist during couple therapy. A specialist helps to understand and appreciate each other, and makes it easier to look at each other and the experienced problems.
Read more: Couples Therapy Warsaw
 Słowik, M. “Integralna pomoc w porozumiewaniu się małżonków w kryzysie – wyzwanie dla poradnictwa rodzinnego”, Kwartalnik Naukowy, 2019, 2, 38.
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 Wojciszke, B. “Psychologia miłości”, 1993, GWP, Gdańsk.
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- Słowik, M. “Integralna pomoc w porozumiewaniu się małżonków w kryzysie – wyzwanie dla poradnictwa rodzinnego”, Kwartalnik Naukowy, 2019, 2, 38.
- Wojciszke, B. “Psychologia miłości”, 1993, GWP, Gdańsk.