Relationships Are Hard

The Big Lie about Relationships: “Relationships Are Hard”

by Lisa Merlo-Booth

Infidelity & Affair Help: Lisa Merlo-Booth

For years I believed the notion that all relationships are hard. Experts, books and even the media all played out the message that relationships aren’t easy, are naturally filled with strife and that conflict and “fighting” just comes with the territory. Since all of the other relationship “experts” were passing on the same message I thought they must be right. In fact, I felt like I had to hide the fact that my relationship wasn’t hard. I thought maybe there was something I was missing. I thought that perhaps other relationship “experts” knew better than me.

For a long time I ignored my gut. I tell women all the time to “trust that you know what you know” yet in this area I failed to follow my own advice. I passed on the message to clients that relationships are hard. I quietly shrugged my shoulders in agreement when friends and family members rolled their eyes and sighed that relationships should be easier. And now I’m done; I’m done buying into all that hype about how hard relationships are and even more done with passing on that dangerous message. Instead, I’m going to tell you the hard truth about relationships.

MY truth.

Great relationships aren’t hard. Healthy relationships in fact, are comforting, nice to be in and feel great to come home to. They make life easier. They don’t leave you crying, feeling like hell or wondering if anyone will ever love you. Great relationships leave you feeling good about yourself. They feel easy, rewarding and like a gift that you’re grateful to experience. Great relationships don’t require endless hours of “communication”, problem-solving or painful conversations. Although there are certainly hard conversations from time to time, they’re hard because sometimes life is hard. They’re not hard because you feel unsafe or fearful your partner will shame you, dismiss you, or shut you down. They’re not hard because you don’t feel heard or can’t get through to your partner. The hard conversations are hard because of the content not the person you’re discussing the content with. Great relationships have an underlying foundation of equality, mutuality, love and cherishing. Both people are respectful, even in the toughest of times because there’s a mutual desire to help and support one another.  Great relationships make life easier.

The reality is that bad relationships are hard. Unhealthy relationships make life difficult. These kinds of relationships are “naturally” filled with strife and upset. They don’t feel good to come home to. Yelling, dismissing, defensiveness, lack of accountability, belittling, addiction, lying, harsh comments and lack of interaction are common in unhealthy relationships. These things make those relationships VERY HARD.  Don’t confuse great relationships though with not so great relationships. There’s a huge difference. Not being heard, intense anger, hurtful comments, lying, cheating, ignoring and contempt are common in poor relationships; they are NOT common in healthy ones.

Messages like Relationships are hard and Love hurts are dangerous messages that set people up for bad relationships. If your relationship is hard day in and day out or more days than not, something’s wrong. Relationships should NOT be that hard. Great relationships feel easy, comforting and great to come home to. Although you may hit bumps, have moments of upset and periods of feeling more distant than you’d like, these are all short-lived MIT’s (moments in time).

Go for great in your relationships…it’s so worth it. Stop settling for less and thinking that’s the “norm”; it isn’t.

Challenge: Take a hard look at your relationship. Have you been normalizing a bad relationship under the guise of “all relationships are hard”? If so, it’s time to re-calibrate. Pay attention to the areas where you’ve been settling and tune into how and why. Commit to go for great!



“I'm not a teacher, only a fellow traveler of whom you asked the way. I pointed ahead - ahead of myself as well as you.” ~ George Bernard Shaw
  • Gretchen

    Here’s the thing…a healthy relationship does not exclude an affair, which can turn things sour fast. Before finding out about my husband’s two affairs (with the same woman), I truly felt our 35 year marriage was healthy. We have always had a lot of fun together, are kind and considerate, act loving,supportive and caring, but mistakenly, I thought we shared the same values of respect, commitment, and loyalty.
    So, prior to Nov. 4, 2012,I would have agreed with the author’s perspective, but no longer. She is looking at life as black and white, and I’ve come to know there is a lot of grey area in between.
    However, it is because of our history that my husband and I are still together despite his affairs. Because we had a good foundation, and not only love each other but truly like each other, a lot. Although I hate what he did, our solid foundation is the reason we’re working hard every day and are still sharing our lives together.
    So while I appreciate the author’s sentiment, relationships don’t necessarily and easily fall in the healthy or unhealthy category. I should know…I went from living what I thought was a very happy marriage, to mass destruction, and now to rebuilding that foundation we once had together.

    • Wayfarer_IHG


      I agree that there are shades of grey in all relationships. In reading this article, I took away a message that was saying to look at the sum total of a relationship and consider if (on balance) you’re unhappy for a significant proportion of your relationship.

      I found it interesting too, to consider the potential damage that “relationships are meant to be hard” could cause, particularly in terms those who may be in abusive relationships.

      You make an absolutely valid point that your positive history led you to stay in your marriage post-affair. For me, this article encourages our consideration of the flip-side too: Don’t stay in the relationship post-affair - if it was dysfunctional and unhealthy pre-affair, things are more likely to get worse than improve.

      I appreciate you commenting - thank you.

      ~ Wayfarer.