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Complicated Relationships (25 Ways To Handle Them)

by Sonya Schwartz

What does a complicated relationship mean to you? Distance barriers? Trust issues? Fizzled out, love? Unresolved problems? Presence of a third party? Indecisiveness? There are so many reasons why you can call a relationship complicated but, there are also ways to manage complicated relationships.

Most times, when you first envision what your love life would look like, you think about the fun times, the beautiful hangouts, and cuddly moments. Even if a bad time crosses your mind, you’ll think about how quickly you and your love interest will scale through them. However, that’s not usually the reality. 

The reality is that challenges will arise to make things complicated for either or both of you. These issues are not the reasons why you may call your relationship complicated. The way you handle them is what can cause complications or help you triumph with your love life intact.

Has your relationship become so confusing that you want to know how to unravel the problems and go back to loving your best friend? Do you want to understand what on earth you’re still doing in that relationship but can’t seem to come to self-awareness all by yourself? Then, you need to read this article to the end.

25 Ways Of Handling A Complicated Relationship

1. Don’t leave just yet

When it comes to complicated relationships, people might be quick to tell you to leave your partner and the relationship behind for someone else. While abandoning the relationship might be one way of getting over the problem, trying to make the relationship work might be the other way of forging ahead.

As such, don’t be in a hurry to do away with someone you have loved and shared a lot with for so long. Put in the efforts first before you say it is over.

2. Separate the problem from the good things that you still share with him

In addressing an issue, people are quick to see the overall look of things instead of zeroing in on what the real problem is. When you focus on the wholesome outlook of things, it’s easy to lump the good with the bad and the ugly.

Rather than generalize about what is making your relationship complicated, separate the problem(s) from what you still have going well for you in the relationship. By the time you separate the problems, you’ll know the next step to take and act on it accordingly. 

3. Don’t withdraw into yourself

One of the common coping mechanisms people adopt is withdrawing into themselves to protect their heart from further damage. At first, you may find yourself doing this by instinct when you discover the relationship has become too complicated. However, withdrawing into yourself won’t give you the ultimate answer you’re after.

Maybe you aren’t sure about your relationship status, is it more of friends with benefits situation or is this guy benching you?

It is not easy to accept that there’s a big question mark on your relationship status, but sinking into your shell won’t help the situation. Face the hard reality so you can move on with your life. 

4. Create an open communication environment

create an open communication environment

Time and again, the issue of communication will always surface as one of the key factors that either hold or break relationships. Communication starts becoming an issue when you restrict or hold back on how much you share with your partner in words and non-verbal forms. 

If you notice that non-communication is one of the reasons your relationship has taken on a complicated form, you and your partner should seek to straighten out that area of your relationship as fast as you can. You’d be surprised at how discussing issues can resolve so many problems that were left unaddressed for so long.

5. Set up boundaries

You may be thinking to yourself “why should I be setting boundaries when I’m trying to sort out my complicated relationship?” Well, the key phrase here is ‘sort out' and it requires that you put certain things in place. 

If you look closely, you will discover that some of the things you allow in your relationships with other people are the cause of your displeasure, unhappiness, and constant angst. These things end up creating what you call ‘complicated relationships'. As such, when someone asks you what the problem is, you say, “I don’t know, it’s just complicated”. 

When you set up boundaries to guide your relationship with people and they respect them, the relationships tend to last longer than the ones where ‘anything goes’. Boundaries for you could mean, ‘you can’t hurt me with a secret I kept with you and, if you do, that’s the end of this relationship’. 

It doesn’t make you harsh, it’s just you protecting yourself, the other person, and the relationship you cherish so much.

6. Don’t act out your frustration

One of the easiest things to do is to hold on to the frustration of relationship problems. You allow everything else to rot because the one aspect of your life that you think you’re in control of is falling apart. 

However, holding on to frustration or anger at yourself or your partner won’t move your problems an inch, it will just complicate your life further. If you do nothing, your relationship will stay complicated. Therefore, it’s best if you focus on solutions and happy emotions to fuel your thoughts. 

7. If you need more, ask for more

One way to know you’re in a complicated relationship is to measure your input and output in the relationship. Of course, you are not in a competition but, measuring the progress of one another is a good way to keep yourselves in check.

Unfortunately, many people think relationships are just about having fun, hanging out, and making love. Most people don’t want to do the homework involved in relationships such as, evaluating how well you treat each other and what may be lacking in the relationship. 

If you need more from your partner, ask for more and if he needs the same, he should let you know. You should be his support system, and shouldn’t have to run to someone else when you have issues. 

8. Explore the possibility that the problem might be coming from you

explore the possibility that the problem might be coming from you

Could you be contributing to the issues making your relationship seem complicated? This is a hard question to ask oneself but, honesty is one of the things that will help you overcome the complicated phase in your relationship. 

Ask yourself candidly if you’re the one encouraging the problem and how you can resolve it from your end. If your man has been complaining about an aspect of the relationship and you’ve been ignoring it or you’ve been taking some steps that are harmful to the relationship, you might be the reason for the complications. 

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The right thing to do would be to adjust your actions to match what will make your relationship work again.

9. Let him know exactly how you feel

Relationship success depends on how open you are with your partner. If you claim to love someone, it shouldn’t be hard for you to confide in them. However, if you don’t trust your man, it is expected that you’ll keep things from him in the hope that he will know what you want. 

Relationships don’t work based on guesswork, you shouldn’t expect someone else to guess your desires and needs. If he hurt you, let him know, if he makes you happy, tell him also. Verbal expressions of feelings go a long way in keeping a relationship strong.

10. How dependent on him have you become?

Apart from communication, balance is another key factor that holds a relationship. You need to create a balance that suits your life and relationship. If you are codependent on one another and shy away from telling each other the bitter truth, you won’t only have a complicated relationship but also, an unhealthy one.

Ultimately, co-dependency will ruin a lot of things, especially when you’re so attached to your man and cannot do anything without him.

11. Take some time apart from each other

Taking time away from seeing or actively talking to each other isn’t the same as abandoning the relationship or each other. Creating some space for reflection is healthy for both of you, especially if you were co-depending on each other. 

The time apart should be for re-evaluating everything you thought was good but was bad for you and your relationship. The time away from your love should also come with a level of self-awareness that will help you decide on personal changes that will make you a better person for yourself and a better partner to him.

12. Focusing on the good times can help you put things in perspective

While you’re still on the journey to healing your complicated relationship and pursuing the ‘no breakup’ route, you should bring out the good memories that have become buried beneath all the recent ugliness that has made your relationship complicated.

By focusing on the good times, you get to see the possibilities that the relationship still holds. From this possibility perspective, you can think of how to channel the positive memories towards repairing the damage your relationship has received so far.

13. Why are you with him in the first place?

why are you with him in the first place

Imagine you are on a trip and you got lost. Your GPS tracker broke and you see fog coming ahead of you, what would be the first thing you do after you’re done panicking? You turn back towards the direction you were coming from! 

Similarly, when your relationship is shrouded in complicated problems, you remind yourself why you entered a relationship with this guy in the first place.

There must be something that drew you both to each other in the beginning and so, when your current phase seems too complicated, go back to the things that first helped you to bond.

14. Be honest about what you want from the relationship

All relationships have their purpose; some are meant to last only for a while and some will stand the test of time but, each one serves its purpose eventually. The path to happiness in each relationship is to know what you hope to achieve in that particular relationship. 

Are you in for the fun of it? Or trying to transform friends with benefits situation into a full-on relationship? If so, you should know that the relationship has exceeded its limits when things get complicated. 

Are you in the relationship because you want to build something lasting? Then, you should be ready for the bumps and hurdles you’ll face as a couple. Denying yourself the truth is what won’t work in your favor.

15. Confront the problems and do your best to get rid of them together

As a couple, you need to confront the problems you’re facing in your relationship. You may discover these problems individually and think up solutions by yourselves but, you should make it a team effort to eliminate or reduce the occurrence of the issues. 

Don’t act like the superhero of the day and do things all by yourself, your partner may take that as another offense. The relationship is complicated enough without having to explain that you were only trying to help. Work out ways to get rid of the problem together and the effort will strengthen your bond as a couple.

16. Be explicitly expressive about how much you love him

When two people get too comfortable in love, things might become mundane and everything they do might appear too routine-like. Love is not a dormant emotion, it is one you constantly need to express in words and actions. 

For a relationship where you feel things are becoming complicated, it is time to take your love expression to the next level. You should become innovative in the way you say ‘I love you’, and make your partner believe you truly do.

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17. Is there any complication or, is your mind playing tricks on you?

is there any complication, or is your mind playing tricks on you

When trust becomes shaky in relationships, one party will start feeling something is wrong. Even the guilty party will feel insecure because the balance that trust is supposed to create is no longer there.

If you are feeling insecure for any reason, you should talk to your partner about it instead of letting your mind play tricks on you. You might be seeing complications when you’re simply the only one confused.

18. Do you love him or you’re in love with an idea of a relationship? 

Another hard fact you may not want to face is that you don’t love this guy but, you’re in love with the notion of belonging to someone. It could even be that what you want is a friend with benefits relationship. The issue of loving the idea of being in a relationship with someone is a real one that many people, especially women, find themselves in. 

If you examine yourself properly and realize that you’re only in love with the relationship, not the guy, you should cut things off immediately because you’re hurting the guy and wasting your time. 

19. Don’t take advice from people who don’t understand your relationship

In your quest for helpful answers, you may seek out external parties for advice and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, don’t go to people who don’t know the basics of your relationship and why you’re in your current situation. 

If at all you will seek help, do so from people who have been in your situation and came out with clarity on what to do. 

20. Get rid of the influence of a third party

One way to describe complicated relationships is that they are relationships involving external influences standing in the way of two people’s happiness. An external force in relationships could be a female or male best friend, a family member, or offspring. 

Getting rid of such external influences is relative depending on who is involved. Getting rid of them simply means you and your partner should decide on how to restrict their access to your relationship, especially if the relationship means a lot to both of you.

21. Seek to cover the distance that separates you physically and emotionally

One of the reasons relationships become complicated is due to physical and emotional separation. Even if you’re in a long-distance relationship and you want it to work, you still need to bridge the physical gap somehow. Don’t become too secure in the love you think you share that you start ignoring FaceTime hours or leave your partner’s messages on reading without a quick reply. 

Similarly, you should give your sex life great attention, especially if you don’t get to see each other often enough. These physical interactions fuel the emotional ones.

22. Resolve any financial-related issues

If you’re in a committed relationship that may be leading to marriage, you should address financial-related issues upfront to avoid unnecessary complications. If you will be living together, you should discuss who will pay the utility bills, who will buy groceries and fix the other things in the house.

Doing this ahead will prevent complicated situations but, you can still adjust things regardless of how far you’ve come in the relationship. 

23. Seek out professional help

seek out professional help

Therapy or counseling is the last option that most people think of in most situations but, it is also good if you think about it before things go completely south. An expert will be able to give you dating advice without any sentiments or sugar-coat things for you. You’ll gain a different perspective even if you don’t get a clear solution from the sessions. 

24. Talk to a trusted person within your inner circle

In as much as it is advisable to avoid familiar third parties, it is also helpful if you have a support system in your inner circle who can give you sound advice that will help unravel your complicated relationship. This person must be reliable enough to keep your discussion to themselves. 

25. Know when you let go if your efforts don’t work out

The hardest part of any relationship is letting go even when you want to fight for it a little longer. However, when a relationship has used up all its extra lives, it is time to submit it to the past and move on to the next one.

It may be heart-breaking for you to let go but, your life is worth more than being held in a complicated relationship for too long. 

FAQs 

What are complicated relationships?

Complicated relationships are relationships where both parties are confused about what they are doing in the relationship or unsure of how to resolve their numerous problems. For example, in a complicated relationship, only one person is certain about their love for the other person.

How do you handle a complicated relationship?

You can handle a complicated relationship by facing the problems head-on. Single out what is causing the issue in your relationship and address it with your partner immediately. You can also ask for help from a relationship expert or a knowledgeable person with the right experience to guide you. 

When a guy says it's complicated, what does that mean?

It means he is either in love with another woman but unwilling to end his current relationship with you or, he is confused about how he feels about you.

Are relationships supposed to be complicated?

No, relationships aren’t supposed to be complicated. Rather people complicate relationships by breaking trust and keeping secrets. When the secrets morph into lies, it becomes difficult to keep track of unfaithfulness and things get complicated.

Why are relationships so hard?

Some relationships are hard because most people fail to realize that love and relationships are about commitment, whether things are good or bad. When this realization doesn’t set in on time, it becomes hard to keep the relationship afloat. 

The Bottom Line

Complications in relationships are problems in disguise and, if you don’t know how to handle the issues in a complicated relationship, you’ll be saying goodbye to that person you love too soon.

If the tips in this article were really helpful, please leave a comment below and also share with others. 

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Sonya Schwartz
A hopeless romantic that struggled for many years to find her Mr "Right" and made all the mistakes you could think of while dating. Known for always choosing the wrong guys or messing up relationships, Sonya was finally able to change her approach and mindset when it came to dating which helped her eventually find the man of her dreams and become happily married. You can read more about me here...

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