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Who Is Ruining Your Relationship?

Last updated on: April 16, 2024 13:00 IST
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Whether it is a close friend, family member or an unavoidable situation in general, the involvement of a third person in a relationship will inevitably lead to conflict, observes rediffGURU Ravi Mittal.

  • You can post your relationship questions to rediffGURU Ravi Mittal HERE.

Is a third person ruining your relationship?

Kindly note the image -- a scene from the Malayalam film Premalu -- has been posted only for representational purposes. Photograph: Kind courtesy Disney+ Hotstar

Almost every romantic relationship faces its own set of challenges including, often, the presence or interference of a third party or situation.

Whether it is a person, a situation or external factors like work, interference from outside sources can test even the strongest of bonds. It is crucial to recognise and eliminate such threats.

Communication is the lifeline of a relationship. Most things can be sorted merely with a little transparency and clear communication.

Let's dig deeper and address some commonly seen third-party interferences and how to strategically manage and mitigate their impact.

External situation/interference

Whether it is a close friend, family member or an unavoidable situation in general, this kind of involvement in a relationship will inevitably lead to conflict.

The interference can come in the form of unsolicited advice, manipulation or trying to draw a wedge between the couple.

What you should do

  • Always encourage frank and clear communication with your partner.
  • Have an honest discussion about any third-party interference that might be bothering you.
  • You may try and establish assertive boundaries both with the third person and your partner.
    This is the best way to politely yet firmly ask someone to back off or communicate with a partner when an outsider's involvement is getting worrisome.

Infidelity or flings

Infidelity, whether physical or emotional, is unacceptable in a relationship and takes a massive toll on the other half.

Unfaithful behaviour can break the strongest of relationships.

Flings can happen at any time in life. They might happen for various reasons, including dissatisfaction in a relationship, the mundaneness or boredom of being in a long-term relationship or sometimes even out of spite.

It's important to note that while a monotonous relationship can be revived with effort, rebuilding trust after it is broken is incredibly difficult.

The fleeting excitement from outside the relationship -- this could be an ex re-entering the picture, a workplace fling and the like -- might be thrilling at first but the guilt and heartbreak that follows is not a pretty picture.

What you should do

Precaution is better than prevention.

  • Work on your relationship so that, even after years have passed, it retains some of the excitement that initially drew you together.
  • Focus on consistent communication, transparency and respect.
  • Love is great but when paired with mutual respect, it can be exceptional.
  • Invest your time in strengthening the emotional and physical connection in the relationship.
  • Spend quality time; explore both shared interests and each other's individual interests.

Workplace dynamics

In today's day and age, an individual's hectic worklife can easily mess up any relationship.

For some, spending a significant amount of time with a colleague can blur the lines between the professional and the personal, creating tension in their love life. This is not limited to a close working relationship. Long hours and demanding jobs can be equally damaging.

What you should do

  • The first one is a no-brainer: Establish a work-life balance.
    Yes, it is easier said than done. However, learning to prioritise what is essential and can help achieve the much-needed balance.
  • You can begin by trying to avoid work-related discussions outside of work. And that means no work calls or a quick meeting after hours.
  • Keep your partner updated about work commitments well in advance. For instance, if you are booked for the weekend, let them know beforehand instead of springing it on them at the last moment.

Prior communication will help avoid any unwanted doubts and assumptions.

Transparency is essential in a relationship, especially if you wish to reduce misunderstandings.

Intrusive in-laws/family members

Family dynamics can easily disrupt the peace within a relationship, especially if it comes in the form of well-meaning but overly involved in-laws.

Little things can strain a relationship -- from clashing expectations to meddling behaviour and even excessive interference.

What you should do

With family, the challenge is respectfully conveying the message that their intrusion is not welcome.

  • When you are communicating your expectations as a couple and asserting independence, it is vital to acknowledge the positive intentions behind the interference.
  • You can begin the conversation by expressing appreciation for their concern. This will help set a respectful tone. For example, you can say 'We understand that your intentions are well-meaning' or 'We appreciate your care and support but...'.
    The first sentence will help validate their motives. Following this acknowledgment, it's crucial to gently assert the boundaries as a couple.
  • Highlighting the importance of handling certain matters without outside interference can be done as gently, but firmly as possibly. For example, 'We appreciate your love and concern. However, we believe it's best that we sort this as a couple.'
    This approach tactically communicates that while their involvement is appreciated, there are boundaries in the relationship.
  • Always remember, that there should be unity with the partner while conveying the message.
    When one partner remains silent during the conversation, it can reflect badly on the partner who is speaking up. Stand by each other and present a united front.
  • Lastly, try understanding where their intrusion is coming from; you might have to meet them halfway and, to make peace with that, it is crucial to look at matters from their perspective.
  • You can post your relationship questions to rediffGURU Ravi Mittal HERE.

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