Are you struggling to make your relationship work? Perhaps you’re trying to keep things fresh and fun, but find yourself constantly arguing? Do you feel like you’re wasting your time when you try to talk about the important things in your relationship, but your partner keeps bringing up unrelated issues? If so, you’re not alone.

According to a recent study published in the journal Family Relations, nearly half of all marriages will end in divorce in the U.S. And while there are a number of factors that contribute to this troubling statistic, poor communication is usually at the root of many of these failed relationships.

The good news is that you don’t have to let poor communication drag you down. With a little bit of creativity and patience, you can be sure that your next relationship will be worth keeping! Let’s have a look at how to fail at relationships and what you can do to improve matters.

Set Realistic Expectations

So you’ve decided to commit to a long-term relationship with this person you’ve been dating. Perhaps you’ve been seeing each other for a while and finally decided this was the person you wanted to marry. Or, perhaps you’ve met online and feel that you’ve known each other for a while even though you’ve only recently begun dating. No matter how you feel about the person you’re with, you should both be mature enough to know that this is a relationship that’s likely to end in heartache and pain.

If you’re not prepared for this kind of commitment, it’s okay to keep your distance and be friends. Or, if you are prepared to be more than friends, but want to remain loyal to your partner, then perhaps consider creating a trust fund for your spouse to be the beneficiary of. This way, you can continue to support each other, but avoid the strain that comes with a serious romantic relationship.

Regardless of how you feel about marriage, if you want to move forward with this person, you should both be mature enough to know that this is a relationship that’s likely to end in heartache and pain. Even if you both want to work things out, you should both be prepared to walk away. Setting realistic expectations will help you have an open relationship, where both of you are happy and satisfied. It will help you avoid hurting one another and ultimately allowing you to move forward with your lives. Plus, you’ll both be more focused on the positive aspects of the relationship and less on its struggles. This, in turn, will make it easier to work things through when they do arise.

Be Careful Whom You Cringe Up

One of the biggest reasons why so many marriages end in divorce is that the spouses stop liking or even loving each other. It’s important to be careful about whom you decide to cringe up. Make sure this person is a good fit for you and that you feel comfortable being yourself around them. If you both feel that you’ll be more relaxed and comfortable with each other, then this is usually a good sign that you’ll enjoy the relationship.

However, if you feel that this person is going to hold you back or hamper your freedom, then it might be better to keep your distance and be loyal to your own interests. It’s important to feel confident and secure in your own skin, so make sure you feel this way around your partner. Know that it’s not personal and that they belong to a category of people you don’t want to associate with or hang out with. This will make it easier for both of you to respect and support each other’s interests. Cringing up can sometimes be a protective mechanism that helps you avoid getting hurt, so make sure you don’t throw it away just because this person doesn’t fit your interests.

Do Your Research

When it comes to committing to a long-term relationship, it’s important to do your research. Learn as much as you can about this person, including their interests, hobbies, values, etc. If you’re completely clueless and have little to no information about this person, then maybe it’s best not to commit. You don’t want to start a relationship with someone you don’t know much about. And what’s more, if you do end up getting hurt, you’ll have no one to blame but yourself. Also, try to find out as much as you can about this person’s interests, hobbies, values, etc. This will make it easier to cater to each other’s needs and ensure that you both have a good time. You can also use this information to decide how compatible you are as a couple.

For instance, if you learn that this person is a soccer nut and you’re not a big football fan, it might be a good idea to steer clear of each other. Or, if you’ve determined that you share many interests and values, then you might have found the perfect long-term match. Do your research, learn as much as you can about this person, and be certain that it’s what you want out of life. With a little bit of effort, you can ensure that your relationship will be everything you want it to be. And when that happens, you’ll be able to look back on this time in your life with fondness and remember all the happy moments you spent with this person. Who knows, maybe one day, you’ll even feel brave enough to say “I do.”