What Part of a Relationship Is the Hardest?

Feeling a lack of support is a challenge for some people in relationships.
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Relationships offer rewards galore, including companionship, fulfillment and emotional support. That said, they aren't always smiles and giggling glee. Whether you're in high school, college or are a young adult, relationships come with challenges. While your relationship shouldn't feel like a constant struggle, you'll find that some parts are harder than others.

1 The No. 1 Problem?

Your relationship is unique -- it's not just like your BFF's or your cousin's. Before your start comparing relationship difficulties with your friends, understand that everyone experiences different challenges in their own romantic partnerships. With that in mind, you aren't likely to find one tried and true most difficult -- or hardest -- part of a relationship. While there are similarities when it comes to relationship challenges, the one that is truly the hardest to you doesn't always take the No. 1 spot for someone else. Evaluate your own relationship, looking at which parts you and your partner are struggling with.

2 Clear Communication

Does your partner do everything that you think, or hope, that he will? If you're expecting him to magically know what you want without telling him, problems can quickly result. Effective two-way communication is essential in any healthy relationship, notes the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy on its Stayteen.org website. Even though communication is key, it isn't always easy. For example, your guy never calls when he says he will. This bothers you, and makes you feel like he doesn't care. While outright telling him about your concerns is part of maintaining effective communication in your relationship, you may worry that bringing it up will make you seem needy or even anger him. This doesn't mean that you should clam up. Instead, meet the challenge of communication and work through this relationship obstacle.

3 I'm Me, and You're You

When you're spending what seems like all of your time with someone else, it's easy to start losing yourself in them. One of the hardest parts of maintaining a healthy relationship is keeping your own identity. You came into the relationship as your own person -- with your own interests, likes, dislikes, friends and ideas. The same should go for your partner. While it's tempting to go along with whatever your guy or girl says, changing yourself to suit their needs isn't the healthy way to go. Instead of acting like someone who you aren't just to please your date, stay true to yourself and be who you truly are.

4 Everything Old is New Again

The beginning of your relationship was filled with high-energy fun, a renewed passion for life and an exciting electricity. As time goes by, this energy may begin to fade. Falling into a pattern or resting on old habits that used to work well may become the norm. While this may sound more like a comfort than a challenge, when the energy drops off and habit takes over, problems can result. Some couples find keeping the energy alive the hardest part of a relationship. This doesn't mean that the two of you have to maintain a whirlwind pace of exciting dates. Try keeping your relationship fresh and new by breaking out of old habits. For example, instead of spending every night watching movies on TV, surprise your honey with a romantic dinner out or a picnic at the park under the stars.

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.