What to do if… ‘I’m not happy in my relationship but don’t want to risk losing my partner’

Every crossroad in a relationship puts it under strain and has potential for rupture. It is not unwise to keep silent at the start of a relationship, as two people get to know one another. However, once this period is over, if we want a chance of securing long term ‘success’, it is important to have a rough agenda and be able to communicate that and stick to it if necessary. That’s not to say that nothing should be open to negotiation. But we need to decide for ourselves what is negotiable and what is not.

We must be bold enough to make demands of our partner, but be wary of making excessive demands, and demands which are really about petty things. Pick your battles. This will add weight to an argument when you need to talk about something really fundamental. Play dissatisfaction card sparingly. You don’t want to habitually drag someone down.

Telling a partner you’re not happy is a big deal. If your gripe is a domestic matter, remember that you are two separate people and both have some individual freedom to manage their home life and affairs as they wish. By all means make requests, but try to maintain a certain respectful separateness. However, if the issue between you is something fundamental –a matter of principle to you and a basic expectation– it is worth being really strong. It is worth being so strong that you would be willing to take the relationship its very brink. The point is, if you say something is important to you, you have to be willing to show that it is, too. And you have to be willing to stand by your principle despite yourself because continuing in an unsatisfactory relationship will only lead to apathy. It becomes a relationship based on the avoidance of loneliness. Surely nothing can be worse than that.