There are life events that will put additional strain on our relationships. These events are often unexpected and sudden so we cannot plan for them. During these times the way we communicate with each other can be even more important. It's likely and normal that our relationship will experience one or several of the following:

  • job loss
  • financial strain
  • moving home or housing worries
  • health concerns
  • bereavement
  • births

It’s not uncommon for us to lose our way with our relationship when worries become too big. At these times we may find it difficult to keep our relationship strong as a couple.

Changes in long-term relationships

Long-term relationships tend to go through lots of stages and changes. It's different for everyone and your journey will be affected by the changes in your lives.


Many relationships start here: everything seems perfect and you want to spend every moment together.


You start to see each other's flaws. You may find that you want different things from life.

Power struggles

As you figure out how things are going to work between the two of you, you may have to reach a compromise about important issues like:
  • children
  • money
  • housework

Finding yourselves

Once you've figured out how your relationship works,  you may need to focus on yourselves as individuals; your personal hopes and dreams. This can be a difficult stage for many couples.


When you have learned to respect each other's needs, you can start to see your differences as strengths.

Mutual love and respect

You learn to love each other completely, warts and all. You've found a way to balance your needs as individuals with your roles in the relationship.

Moving through stages

Throughout your life, you may move up and down through the stages.

Big changes like having a baby or losing a job can cause arguments, which may set you back.

And you won't always be at the same stage as each other.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself now:
  • where do you think you are at the moment?
  • where would your partner say they are at the moment?
  • what would you have to do to get to the next stage?

The magic ratio in relationships

Find out more about the magic ratio in relationships.