The Success of a Romantic Relationship: Why Individual Growth Matters

personal-growth-quoteWhen two people start a romantic relationship, they first show their best features to partners in order to keep them interested. However, after a while, routine sets in and it seems there is nothing new to discover. Thus, passion, which has been holding the relationship together, fades away and continuing the relationship may become difficult. In most cases, love and romance are understood as a kind of merging of individualistic partners, when each person seeks to fulfill their own needs at the expense of another, instead of trying to grow and develop. When one or both partners stop growing, the relationship enters a stage of stagnation, which may keep them from living a happy life or end in separation. “Relationships are like a dance, with visible energy racing back and forth between partners. Some relationships are the slow, dark dance of death” (Dowling 79). With this said, it is important for the success of a relationship for its participants to constantly look for ways for individual growth.

According to recent studies conducted in the United Kingdom, a focus on infidelity as the main cause for divorce has shifted onto a phenomenon called “falling out of love” (Dowling 102). This phenomenon is reflected in the fact there is nothing new to discover about the other person and the reasons which made them fall in love fade away as time goes by. Stated succinctly, adhering to a “comfort zone” in the relationship is rather dangerous. A comfortable relationship is marked by easily forgetting about personal growth. Still, the truth is improving and taking care of yourself helps build a better and richer relationship with your partner.

The main reason why it is difficult for people to leave relationships which have become insipid is only a few think of personal improvement as one of the key factors in fixing their partnership. Couples need to stay interesting for each other, as when there is nothing fresh to discover, the relationship can become fragile. Besides, reality shows us how to be a couple: each partner should possess high self-esteem to cope better with the inevitable adverse issues that are presented in one’s life (Dowling 56).

“Partners with low self-esteem read too much into problems, seeing them as a sign that their partner’s affections and commitment might be waning. They then derogate their partner and reduce closeness. Being less sensitive to rejection, however, partners with high self-esteem affirm their partner in the face of any threat. Ironically, a chronic need for acceptance may result in low self-esteem, people seeing signs of rejection where none exist, needlessly weakening attachments” (Murray 202). However, many people do not realize that maintaining a relationship is personal work. Unrecognized and unresolved problems may result in a sequence of frustrations in the relationship, which continue until a person realizes the real reasons for failure.

There are several necessary things to remember about a healthy relationship. Many couples feel intimidated, as they believe they will be misunderstood, laughed at, or even the relationship will break because of what they said. This fear seems unbearable, but the fact is trust is essential (Murray 200). Individuals with higher self-esteem are more honest about what they need and want from their partners. They talk about what the relationship is lacking instead of waiting until the partner guesses the possible issues that have arisen.

Another important factor is having a social life outside of a romantic relationship. It is extremely harmful for couples to dwell only on each other. New impressions, contacts, and acquaintances are crucial for a healthy relationship. Partners should also seek to be interesting to each other, learn new activities to have fresh topics to talk about, and look for novel ways to spend time together.

The financial side of the issue also plays its role. When both partners are economically independent, it is less likely one will feel stressed about being the sole breadwinner and the other will feel insecure because of having no steady income (Dowling 124).

There are no exact instructions when it comes to such an intimate phenomenon as a romantic relationship. Every couple should search for what works best for them, as each couple is unique. However, it can be reasonably stated that in order to build a strong and long-lasting relationship, couples should pay more attention to their own personalities. It is extremely difficult, or even impossible, to improve the relationship itself, or change some features of a partner which one does not like. The key point is to re-invent yourself. Despite being a seeming paradox, the more attention you pay to your own life and development, the richer the relationship will become.


Dowling, Richard. “Not in a Mess: Romantic Relationships.” Time 20 Nov. 2001. 56-58. Print

Murray, Anna. Taking It to the Next Level in Your Relationship. New York: Black Bourbon Press, 2008. Print.


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