The 8 Most Common Relationship Issues

November 30, 2011  |  
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Every long-term or significant relationship faces many issues.  Some tend to be right on the surface and others are deeply buried and seldom talked about. Every relationship encounters some sort of obstacle at one time or another but it’s how you work through it that proves if you will last, or crumble.  Take a look at these 8 relationship issues and decide if you are living in one today.  If something strikes a cord with you, communicate it with your partner and honestly express your thoughts and feelings.

1. Denying the real issues

No matter how terrible your day was or how depressed you are about your financial situation, there is no excuse for taking it out on your partner.  Often times we end up hurting the ones we love the most.  But why?  Loved ones are our support system and tend to be the people we see and talk to the most during the day.  We grow comfortable around them and therefore can take advantage of that closeness.  Rather than hurt the ones you love, do what it takes to meet the real problem head-on, as effectively as you can. If you are unsure of how to address a problem, the strong and mature thing to do is to ask for help and support from trusted sources (i.e., a friend, relative, or therapist).

2. Brushing things under the rug

Many concerns get ignored, overlooked and buried because the daily rush of work and child raising leaves no time for discussion.  Maybe one dreads confrontation, or maybe you just don’t make the time to talk things out and work through issues together.  Brushing problems and issues to the side only makes for a bigger problem to arise later on. You can only tiptoe around the real issue for so long, until one or both of you explode. If it’s a small issue make the decision to drop it or vent to a friend. If it’s a big issue, find the time to address it immediately and in a calm way. Don’t wait months or years for suppressed rage to finally burst out. Deal with conflict as it happens, so to avoid greater hurt in the future.

 

3. Gossiping

If you are talking about the problems in your relationship with friends or relatives but not working on improving the situation, you are gossiping. Gossip is not a productive way to handle problems, and can result in additional problems. For instance, your partner may feel betrayed that you revealed sensitive material to others that made him embarrassed or uncomfortable around them. Also, if you promote a negative side of your partner or your relationship, others may get a distorted view, and changes in their attitudes and behavior may follow. Others may remember your conflicts long after you and your partner have gotten past them. Instead, work on improving your communication skills as a couple. Turn toward your partner, not away. If you need help, seek out the assistance of an objective third party such as a therapist who works with couples. When it comes to your needs, stop complaining and start asking!

4. Not listening

Think back to when you were dating. Remember when every single word out of your date’s mouth was fascinating and you couldn’t wait for him to call, to hear what he thought about anything and everything?  This “honeymoon” phase can fade and be replaced by the realistic daily life you now live together.  Are you distracted and too worried about your last argument or issues at your job? Are you bored with hearing your partner complain endlessly about work without doing anything about it and therefore tuning out? Once you can get a handle on why one or the other partner no longer listens, you can dig deeper into the issues.  Communication is key here and needs to be addressed before any greater issue can be solved.  Remember that your relationship is a compromise between two very different people and when you got together you made that commitment together.  Be vocal about your frustrations and be open to hearing about what your man might find irritating about you too!

5. Unreasonable expectations

Unreasonable expectations are exactly that, unreasonable. Many men and women have crazy expectations about the institution of marriage and what that entails.  Resentment can build up if a partner feels particularly shocked with reality. These expectations and unexpected realities double for child raising, when lack of sleep, stress and financial pressure bring out conflicts in nearly every couple in the world. The list of areas where people have unrealistic expectations are nearly endless: how their partner should look, the job they should have, how much money they should earn etc. It’s important for both partners to take a step back and clearly state their expectations for different stages in their relationship.  If something seems extremely unreasonable to one of you, it probably is, at least for your specific relationship.  Seek advice and help from either friends or family who have gone through something similar, or an objective 3rd party such as a therapist or counselor.

6. Putting Yourself First

It’s not “all about me,” especially when you are in a relationship.  Letting one’s self interests take priority in an unbalanced way can be toxic to a partnership. The other person usually winds up feeling deprived, resentful, and unimportant. Furthermore, the more self-involved you are, the more you take your relationship for granted, the less you appreciate your partner, and the more alone you actually are. So if your relationship is this way, you also lose out, because you experience less of the joy that a true connection brings. You and your partner both get more from the relationship through reciprocity in giving and receiving. Relationships are about give and take. You should want your partner to be as happy and content as you are.

7. Living in the past

If you have a problem with your service or food at a restaurant, do you tell your server about every problem you’ve ever had at that restaurant your entire life? Or do you just get down to the complaint at hand? Relationships are the same. Talk about what’s happening now. Bringing up issues and problems in the past may be helpful in establishing a relationship history initially, but by constantly bringing up the past you will lose sight of your future. To complain over and over about past events only dilutes the current issue, leaving the other person worn out, overwhelmed and likely to tune out about your current complaint.

8. Trust issues

The foundation for every solid relationship is based on trust. Honesty is the best policy applies more than ever in intimate relationships. This means being truthful about how you think, what you feel and what you’re doing. You should have your partner’s back and they should have yours. Sadly, many of us grew up in homes where trust between parents was fractured and this childhood history can lead any of us down a similar relationship path.  Don’t continue the cycle of hurt and sadness in your relationship.

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