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6 Common Relationship Problems and How to Solve Them

It’s easy to get caught up in life’s demands and pay less attention to your relationship. We easily put off nurturing your relationship until tomorrow, when we all know, tomorrow never comes. Relationship problems don’t discriminate: All couples, of all lengths of time struggle from time to time with issues. Below are the seven most common relationship problems and how to solve them:

Sex

Believe it or not even partners who love each other can be incompatible sexually. In many cases people tend to lack in the area of sex education and self-awareness.There are many reasons why it’s important to stay connected sexually with your partner.Most importantly it causes hormonal changes, which lead to better physical and mental health, and also promotes balance and chemistry within a couple.

Strategies: 

In order to allow time for sex one needs to plan ahead and make time for it. It can be tough when you have to actually make a date on the calendar but that may be the only way it will happen. The anticipation can cause feelings of excitement or on the contrary anxiety. If you notice that you experience feelings of anxiety, try to push through them because it’s likely that once you engage in the act with your partner you will be reminded of how much you enjoy having this time together.It’s probably toughest if you schedule it the evening after work because everyone ’s tired. Think about being creative and maybe making time to be together in the morning before work or in the afternoon when your baby is napping.It takes a lot of effort and can sometimes feel contrived but ultimately it is something that needs to be given the attention it deserves.

To keep things hot and sexy have you and your partner make a list of things that turn you on whether it is positions, toys, verbal comments, or vocalizing feelings of satisfaction. Do this exercise separately and come together to share what each of you has come up with. You may be very surprised by your partner’s ideas and suggestions.

If you’re reached dire straits with your sex life, try this. It’s a 1 month, 11 step guide to re-igniting the spark from Dr. Darcy Sterling and it’s NOT for the faint of heart as it includes no sex, no masturbation and no (naked) touch for 30 days.

If you continue to experience roadblocks I recommend you and your partner meet with a professional sex therapist to explore what may be getting in the way and how to improve your sexual relationship.I am a firm believer that all relationships need maintenance at one point or another, whether it is about sex, intimacy or something different altogether.

Money

Money problems can arise at any point in a relationship because many people who come together come from different socioeconomic backgrounds, or were raised with different economic values. Therefore couples may have different beliefs and comfort levels about how they spend (and save!) their money.

Strategies:

  • Be honest about your financial standing from the get-go. Don’t hide any income or debt because as we all know eventually the truth will rise to the surface and then you’re dealing with a much bigger problem: trust (see below).
  • Acknowledge that you come from different financial backgrounds and some folks are more the “saver” types and others the “spender” types.It’s important to understand that there is value in both    types. Relationships will benefit from the different approaches to managing money as long as no one takes the stance that their way is the better way.
  • Don’t assign blame.
  • Construct a joint budget that includes savings.
  • Together develop a list of goals that include short term, long term and family goals.
  • It may also be wise to think about long-term care for your parents as they age and how to appropriately plan for their financial needs.
  • Each person should have money set aside for him or her to spend at their own discretion, giving them some independence since the rest of the money is combined.This could be a separate bank account or an additional account attached to the joint account.It’s nice to know one can purchase a birthday gift for their partner without them seeing the activity in the joint bank account.
  • Set aside a ½ hourly weekly to manage the bills.Ideally you can work on paying the bills and balancing the checkbook together.If that’s not possible designate one person in the relationship to be responsible for making sure the bills get paid.

Household Chores

In most American households, both people work at least one job each, if not more. It’s important to think about how to maintain an equitable chore schedule. You don’t want to be the one who is carrying the load and feeling resentful because of it. Protect your relationship by not allowing those feelings to develop, because at that point you’re again moving into a phase that is much more difficult to manage than the simple division of chores.

Strategies:

  • We all have certain chores that we prefer doing, for example you often hear people say washing dishes or folding laundry is relaxing.Have a conversation and decide who will be doing what and  when. Make sure to be equitable and fair when dividing the chores.You wouldn’t want to give one person the job of cleaning the toilets indefinitely.That will most definitely cause strong feelings of resentment!
  • Be creative when deciding who does what. What if both of you absolutely hate doing chores? Well, what about hiring a cleaning service? If one of you prefers housework and the other yard work and laundry then you can split it up that way as long as it feel comfortable and fair to both people.

Neglecting the needs of the relationship

It’s easy to get caught up in life’s demands and pay less attention to your relationship. It can be easy to take your partner for granted and put off nurturing your relationship until tomorrow, and we all know tomorrow often doesn’t come (or turns into “next week”). Just because you are committed to share your journey together doesn’t mean that you no longer need to nurture your relationship. On the contrary, the more committed your relationship becomes, often the demands and stressors of the family unit increase. There is more of a need for attention and nurturing because life becomes more complicated and demanding.

Strategies:

Reflect on what you used to do together when you first started dating. Then make every effort to do those things again such as:

  • Bring home flowers.
  • Call your partner just to say you love them.
  • Complimenting each other.
  • Find something interesting about your partner’s hobby or job even ifyou don’t find the overall job or hobby interesting.
  • Leaving a Post-it with a loving message somewhere you know your partner will find it.
  • Making gestures of appreciation.
  • Plan date night and put it on the calendar as you would any other event.
  • Surprise your partner in the morning with their lunch already made for work.
  • Text a couple of times throughout the day so they know you’re thinking about them.
  • And most importantly always show your partner RESPECT by saying “thank you” and “please” and “I appreciate….”. It conveys the message that your partner matters to you.

Conflict

Disagreeing isn’t necessary a relationship problem. Conflict is normal and comes with any long term relationship, however if you’re locking horns on a regular basis, you may need to rethink your routine or pattern and break the cycle. Below are some simple conflict resolution skills that will allow you to look at the situation in a constructive manner. Use these tools to decrease your feelings of anger and to help you to identify and address the problem less defensively (and therefore more successfully). You should also check in with yourself – is your partner able to meet all of your needs? Do they understand your needs? Do you understand their needs? Keep your expectations realistic. Ask your partner for what you need directly rather than assuming they know, or think they will figure it out on their own.

Strategies:

  • It’s important to remind yourself that you are not a victim. You make the choice of how and when to react to a situation.
  • Be honest with yourself and your relationship.When you’re in the heat of an argument, are your comments directed towards a resolution or intended to get revenge for the pain you are feeling in the moment? If you’re noticing your comments are accusatory and hurtful, stop dead in your path.Take a deep breath and remind yourself of the importance of the person standing before you and change your approach.
  • Do you continually approach difficult conflicts the same way but aren’t getting the results you want? Then that means you need to change things up a bit.Don’t keep responding in the same way that has brought you sadness and pain in the past, instead change one thing about the way you respond and your partner’s reaction might surprise you. The change in approach might have a bigger impact than you would have anticipated.If you find you become defensive and aren’t able to allow your partner to finish what he/she is saying, hold off for a few seconds and breath.The tone of an argument can shift dramatically by making a small change in your behavior.
  • Let go sometimes.It’s important to acknowledge when you’re wrong and be the one to apologize.I’m not suggesting that you apologize when you know you weren’t wrong, but I can say it’s a good idea sometimes if you’re finding both of you are stuck in playing the “Right game”.You both end up being losers if you spend the entire time fighting rather than enjoying each other’s company.“You can’t control anyone else’s behavior, the only one in your charge is you”.

Trust

Trust is a vital part of any relationship. There may be certain behaviors that cause you to distrust your partner, or you may have unresolved issues from your past that are hindering you from trusting others.Consider following the tips below that will help to establish trust in your relationship.

Strategies:

  • Be consistent.
  • Be on time.
  • Do what you say you will do.
  • Don’t lie to your partner or others.This includes white lies.
  • Be fair – even when you’re arguing.
  • Be sensitive to others’ feelings. Disagreeing is fine but don’t minimize or discount your partner’s feelings.
  • Call when you say you will.
  • Call to say you’ll be home late.
  • Don’t overreact when things go wrong.
  • Don’t open up old wounds.
  • Be smart in what you say because some things can’t be taken back.
  • Carry your fair share of the workload.
  • Respect your partner’s boundaries and limits.
  • Don’t be jealous.
  • Be a good listener who doesn’t always have to give advice.
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