Intimate relationships that last seem rare these days. They survive only when people have the capacity to find shared ground, commit to one another, and overcome challenges. Relationship issues are common, but there are a number of tried-and-true methods for dealing with each relationship issue.
We’re looking at 15 of the most common relationship problems couples tend to have, discussing what you can do to solve them, and how relationship counseling online can help. With the proper mindset and knowledge, you and your partner can be on the way to a happy and healthy relationship and better mental health.
If people in a relationship can master communication, you’ll be far less likely to experience other common relationship problems.
Effective, honest communication is essential to relationship success.
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Different people communicate differently. You may be quiet while your partner is talkative. Regardless of your communication styles, relationships need effective, regular communication to thrive as a unit.
“Most couples see me for help with communication. It is really challenging to stay connected, still feel aligned, and intimate while also walking away from a conversation feeling as though we worked through an issue. Setting up, typically two very different people, with this idea that they’re on the same team can be the switch that gets them to this place.”
Maybe you’ve stopped communicating the way you used to; it’s a common relationship problem for many couples. For some couples, every conversation has an edge of confrontation. Others might forget what communication is supposed to entail and how important it is to happiness. To improve communication and emotional connection in your romantic relationship, try focusing on the following:
- Work on identifying where your conversations are breaking down
- Don’t expect your spouse to read your mind
- Be open and honest about your feelings
- Practice being a good listener
- Think before you respond
Communication is a two-way street that both people need to focus on together. If you want your romantic relationship to work in the long run, effective communication should be a priority. The good thing is, there are many useful communication exercises for couples to practice.
Relevant debates are healthy and important for self-expression. However, spiteful arguments are hurtful and serve no good purpose. Successful couples have rules for arguing, such as:
- Breathing before responding
- Refraining from using profanity
- Resisting name-calling
- Staying on-point
If you have the urge to say something spiteful to your partner, ask yourself what you’re feeling first. Are you angry? Are you sad? Are your feelings hurt? Are you frustrated? What are you unhappy about?
Make a regular time to sit down and discuss developing issues before they build up and become problems or relationship challenges. Express yourselves peacefully, with forethought and a level of maintained respect, instead of simmering, boiling, and exploding on each other. Need help resolving this relationship issue? Couples therapy techniques might help you. If you are having trouble controlling your anger and frustration towards your partner, our guide on how to control anger in a relationship might also help.
3. Staying Close
With time, every long term relationship will change. Some of what used to seem most important might begin to not even phase you anymore. Additionally, as things in the relationship change, you and your romantic partner may also be changing in different ways, evolving as individuals.
This doesn’t mean that your long term relationship can’t continue working. It just means that you need to make the effort to spend some intentional time rediscovering one another.
It’s not realistic to expect that people will stay the same throughout their entire life. People age, grow, adapt, and are fundamentally changed in various ways by their life experiences.
It’s important to stay close as a couple, even when you’re changing as individuals. Talk with each other and honestly discuss how you each see the future evolving. Enjoy discovering how you’re both growing as human beings. Change in a healthy relationship can be exciting.
4. Sex & Intimacy
Many relationship problems are sex-based. Ask yourself what you want sexually. Be honest and open with yourself. Encourage your partner to do the same. Then, get together and discuss what you both want.
Be mutually respectful of each other’s desires and needs. The chances are, you’ll both be pleasantly surprised and excited to make some changes in your sex life. Of course, some sexual problems will require professional help to get through. In some cases, you or your partner might have a fear of intimacy that’s impacting your sex life. Doing couples therapy with a sex therapist can be a huge asset to any relationship. Explore this option before losing hope.
If your partner cheated on you, you’ll have to decide for yourself if you can forgive them, or if you’ll need to move on without them in your life.
Most affairs don’t typically happen spontaneously. Infidelity can also come in the form of emotional cheating, too. If you want the relationship to survive post-affair, you’ll both need to be honest about what happened, and then work together to solve any underlying issues.
Cheating hurts, and it can take years to get over. While many relationships can endure after someone has an affair, it requires a firm commitment from both partners for them to learn how to get over infidelity.
The simple fact is life requires money, and couples argue about finances. Financial pressure is a common relationship problem that can lead to catastrophic relationship issues, and even mental health problems, when not addressed properly. Research shows that more than half of all couples enter a marriage already in debt.
It’s wise to have a clear understanding with your partner about who’s responsible for what in terms of money. A basic budget is simple to develop and can go a long way toward avoiding unnecessary arguments. For more tips, learn how to talk to your partner about money.
External pressures from traumatic life events can stress any relationship. The death of a loved one, financial strain, disease diagnosis, chronic stress, past abuse, domestic violence, or anything else that you or your partner has endured can affect emotional and physical health. Don’t shut your partner out. You’re a team. Be there for each other, even through the rough times. For more tips, learn how to deal with trauma individually.
8. Showing Gratitude
Everyone likes feeling appreciated for their efforts. Whether you have a fast-paced career, or you take care of the home, it’s important to feel valued for the things you do that make your partner’s life more enjoyable. Expressing appreciation regularly can ensure you’ll both feel more noticed in the relationship, even if it’s just for something simple.
Parenting can be very difficult if you haven’t developed a cohesive plan and a firm commitment to stick to. This is especially true in the case of step-parenting. If you’re raising children from previous relationships together, definitive house rules are necessary. Talk with your partner in private about any parenting issues, and always present a unified front.
10. Keep Things Exciting
It can be hard to keep a relationship exciting, but relationships are work. You need to put in time and effort to keep the romance alive and stay engaged with your partner. If you feel like your relationship is in a rut, plan something different to help spice things up again.
11. Battling Over Chores
Many people struggle over responsibilities at home. If you start to feel resentment about who’s doing what (or who isn’t doing what), keep the lines of communication open and be sure you’re sharing your frustration.
Let your partner know you need help. Be specific with what you want. Then — and this is important — resist the urge to correct how they accomplish a task. The only thing you’re doing by reloading that dishwasher “your way” is telling them that they should just let you do it in the first place next time.
Trust is one of the most important aspects of any relationship. If you’re questioning whether or not you can trust your partner, calmly yet firmly ask them if there’s reason for concern.
If your partner is the one who has trust issues, reassure them they have nothing to worry about.
The good news is that you can overcome trust issues in a relationship.
Feeling safe in a relationship is important. Verbal, emotional, or physical abuse cannot be tolerated. Any form of abuse should be taken seriously and addressed immediately. If you need help and are in an abusive relationship cycle, you can reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline at any time.
14. Change in Life Goals
Goals are important, and when two people in a relationship are aligned in terms of what they want out of life, it can be wonderful. Sometimes, however, goals change. If you and your partner can’t get on the same page with what you both want in the future, it can cause problems. Talking about your goals and being realistic about what each of you wants will be important throughout the duration of your relationship.
15. Same Fight, Different Day
It’s not uncommon for a couple to have the same fight over and over, but when disagreements start to escalate, or problems begin to manifest in other ways, it can be problematic for the relationship. Be sure that you’re addressing the root of the problem, so that you can attempt to change the behaviors and thought processes you both develop after so long.
How Do You Fix Relationship Problems?
If your relationship seems substandard in any way, and you want to fix it, it’s simple to begin. It can also be a lot of fun, if you’re both dedicated to the process.
“To start fixing issues in a relationship, the highest levels of success depend on each partner’s willingness to show up and take ownership of their contribution. Having an impartial lens of a professional helps to navigate this journey, but even individually-carving out space, having real conversations about issues, and always bringing creative solutions to the table can start the trajectory in a positive direction.”
Remembering to implement any or all of the following can be beneficial in any relationship:
- Say please and thank you
- Express dissatisfaction without using profanity or name-calling
- Schedule regular date nights, even if they’re during the day or at home
- Be proactive about pleasing your partner sexually
- Spend time asking questions about each other’s wants and needs
- Take time outs from debates that seem to be turning into arguments
If you want to solve your relationship issues, remember what it was that first attracted you to your partner. Ask yourself where the relationship problem is stemming from, and then take action to improve the situation. Be honest with your partner and enjoy rediscovering the excitement of your love. Get connected with a couples therapist at Talkspace to start working on your relationship challenges.
1. National Domestic Violence Hotline. The Hotline. https://www.thehotline.org/. Published 2021. Accessed December 10, 2021.