Proactive Health

By Joy Stephenson-Laws, J.D., Founder

Found Yourself in A Relationship Rut? Changing Partners Might Not Be the Answer




We’ve all been there. A bad relationship!


Of course, many romantic relationships that end badly aren’t bad in the beginning or middle of the relationship. You may have heard people refer to the earlier phases of their relationship as the “honeymoon phase.” Eventually, this phase ends - meaning that the relationship gets a “bit more real.” For example, you might start noticing things about your partner that frustrate you (especially if you start living with this person), or you may find that you feel you are not getting enough attention now that you are further into the relationship.


These are just examples. And to be clear, good, lasting relationships have dwindling honeymoon phases too. Again, the relationship just becomes more real. Maybe you and your partner start dealing with life stresses together such as handling finances or perhaps you have to drive long distances to see each another due to a career moves. There are many external factors that can test our relationships. But when we get out of a bad relationship and eventually find ourselves in a new one, we usually end up saying to ourselves: "This one will be different."

Although it’s true you could be dating a completely different person personality-wise from your prior relationship, a new study suggested that changing partners doesn’t actually change relationship dynamics. And that’s essentially because your personality does not change.   


The study, which lasted eight years, examined 554 people in Germany. The researchers found that “...eventually, they had the same dynamics in new partnerships as in past broken relationships, after the glow of the honeymoon phase had faded,” according to this report discussing the study.


One of the lead researchers of the study basically said that some relationship dynamics may change in your new relationship, but you are still the same person which means that it is likely you will recreate many of the same patterns with your new partner.

Researchers surveyed the participants at four different points:
  • A year before their first intimate relationship ended
  • And then again in the final year of that relationship
  • Within the first year of the new relationship
  • And again a year after that
Relationship aspects were also examined, including: 
  • Satisfaction
  • Frequency of sex
  • Ability to open up to a partner
  • How often the person expressed appreciation for his or her partner
  • Confidence in if the relationship would last

The results showed that between the past and present relationships, all of the relationship aspects remained pretty much the same except for frequency of sex and expressing appreciation for one’s partner. Frequency of sex and admiration for the partner increased in the newer relationship, which one of the lead researchers said was expected. 


"These aspects are directly dependent on a partner's behavior, so we are more likely to see changes in these areas," he said.


What’s particular noteworthy is that although frequency of sex may have increased, sexual satisfaction overall remained the same as it was in prior relationships.


So according to the researchers, there is both positive and negative aspects in these findings. The positive is that it shows we don’t necessarily try to change who we are just because we are in a relationship. We stay true to ourselves.


The downside is that people may not be learning from their past mistakes, according to the report. And if, for example, you had a lot of negative emotions in your past relationship, you are likely to eventually have these emotions in your new relationship. Having a different partner will not necessarily change your emotions or attitude. 


"Who you are matters, and addressing personal issues is going to be very impactful on whether you'll be successful in your relationship or not," said one of the lead researchers.


All this is very powerful information to know. I am a firm believer in addressing personal issues and seeing if these issues are perhaps affecting our jobs, romantic relationships and relationships with other people. And many times, our personal issues may be health related. In fact, in many cases, these issues may be nutrition related. 


For example, depression, stress and insufficient good quality sleep may all be traced to health issues and affect our abilities to be good partners in relationships. When you suffer from health issues such as these, it may seem like the only person it is affecting is you. And that’s understandable because it can be very challenging to struggle with mental illness or exhaustion. But we have to acknowledge that health issues can in fact affect our relationships.


So be proactive by taking an assessment of your health especially during those times when you feel as though you have a bad relationship. See where you could improve. Perhaps you need to focus on your nutrition and kick the junk food habit to the curb and incorporate more whole, nutrient-rich foods into your daily diet. Read here to learn about how you can help combat depression with diet and nutritional therapy.


We all want balance in our lives and romantic relationships and maintaining nutritional balance can help us achieve this. To improve your relationships, you may want to consider taking routine nutrient tests in order to determine if you have any nutrient imbalances or deficiencies. Certain deficiencies affect mood and other behaviors. So if you have imbalances, a competent healthcare professional can help you make the necessary dietary changes and recommend quality supplements if necessary. Fixing these imbalances may very well fix your relationship.


Enjoy your healthy life and healthy relationships!


The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.   


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