Relationships are often a mixed bag of ups and downs. If there are rosy spells, there are rough patches too. Knowing what the most common relationship problems are can help you brace yourself for weathering the storms, big and small.
Good relationships take time to develop. You need to have a clear idea of relationship problems and solutions to eliminate them with discretion. Early relationship problems are starkly different from the obstacles in relationships that crop up later in life. Are you wondering, “How to solve relationship problems without breaking up?” Don’t look any further. This article won’t just throw light on various relationship issues but will also tell you how to fix relationship problems that threaten the bond you share with your partner.
Interestingly, the common issues in relationships aren’t too difficult to resolve. Read on, as dating coach Geetarsh Kaur, founder of The Skill School, which specializes in building stronger relationships, helps us resolve issues in romantic relationships and tells us about several ways of overcoming relationship problems. We agree that issues and their resolutions may not always follow a linear path or be similar for all couples. But we have listed 25 most common relationship problems in this article.
What Are The 25 Most Common Relationship Problems
Relationship issues can be caused by multiple factors, such as work pressure, disrespectful in- laws, kids, illness, or different professional paths. It’s true that any long-term relationship is bound to have such issues, but some of these complications can cause irreparable damage to your relationship.
Once the dust settles, however, the partners realize that the damage their harsh words or cold reactions caused was not justified. Geetarsh sheds light on the common relationship problems and how you can find your way out of them. “No matter what you experience, be it trust issues, jealousy, or financial issues, you can pretty much find common ground and solve them through effective and good communication.” If you trying to understand how to work through your issues and restore your bond, learning about these top 25 relationship problems between couples can help:
Related Reading: 11 Warning Signs Of A Toxic Relationship
1. Being overwhelmed by life
Yes, sometimes life itself becomes one of the most domineering obstacles in relationships.
Here are some instances that can make you feel overwhelmed by life:
● One of you is up for a promotion and all the energy is focused on sealing the deal
● You have an ailing parent to take care of and that becomes your priority
● Your teenage child is acting out and that’s all you and your partner can talk about
When you’re unable to find the motivation to aptly deal with your own issues, how will you be able to support your partner in their hour of need? You may end up making your partner feel like you’re not present in the relationship.
Solution: Connect with each other
You can beat this by making a conscious effort to connect with each other by:
- Spending enough time with one another
- Keeping some time apart to talk things out before going to bed each night
2. Lack of healthy communication
A healthy relationship needs healthy and open communication. So, that wet towel on the bed has been driving you up the wall. Soon, something as inconsequential as this becomes a reason for constant bickering between you and your partner. This is one of the common early relationship problems and can make you withdrawn and distant.
Geetarsh explains, “There are a lot of non-communicative partners. The conditioning in them to not talk about what’s been bothering them may have been fostering since they were children, and they’re just manifesting what they know communication to be.
“This can become a huge problem, since people don’t ever figure out how to express their displeasure to people in a healthy way.”
Solution: Effective communication
So, how to fix relationship problems when you aren’t even communicating with your partner? According to a study, effective and good communication is imperative for a healthy relationship. It not only enhances the quality of their relationship, but is also directly related to increased intimacy and the feeling of being understood and validated by the partner.
Related Reading: Communication Problems In Relationships – 11 Ways To Overcome
To communicate effectively and reduce problems in relationships, you can:
- Be honest and judgment-free
- Express your concerns openly
- Listen with an open mind
- Develop positive non-verbal communication skills, such as hugging and holding hands
- Match your communication styles. For instance, don’t leave the room when they wish to discuss an important issue.
3. Taking each other for granted
When you have a lot on your plate, it’s easy to fall into the trap of taking each other for granted. Before you even realize it, you only discuss the mundane essentials of everyday life or eat your meals staring at your phones. This is among the top signs of relationship problems that can make partners drift apart.
Couples can take each other for granted when they assume that the relationship will last regardless of the effort they put in, as though it doesn’t need rejuvenation from time to time. In such situations, when couples talk about relationship problems they may be facing, they fail to see the lack of effort they’re putting in.
Solution: Show you care
You can counter this problem by:
- Spending quality time together and making your partner feel loved
- Scheduling regular dates
- Texting back and forth throughout the day
- Setting a no-gadgets rule before bedtime
4. Money issue
If you and your partner do not practice sound financial planning right from the beginning, money can become one of the relationship challenges for couples. Whether you’re struggling with a shortage of money or disagree over spending style, issues related to money can escalate quickly.
Geetarsh says, “Money should always be the first thing that you have to consider when you decide to spend your life with someone. In situations when one partner is doing better financially than the other, they must realize that there will be a lot of compromises they’ll need to make.
“You must now think about the collective funding and finances for the both of you. Not having a conversation about it before getting married is criminal, and bound to lead to a lot of misunderstandings.”
According to a study:
- Financial problems were cited as a major contributor to divorce by 36.7% of the participants
- The participants also believed there was a direct correlation between financial difficulties and increased stress and tension within the relationship
Solution: Sound financial planning
You can resolve money issues in a relationship by:
- Setting short-term and long-term budgets
- Discussing savings and investment plan with your partner
- Delaying commitment or marriage till both of you are financially stable
Related Reading: How Money Issues Can Ruin Your Relationship
5. War of chores
Who will take the responsibility for doing the dishes? Who takes out the trash? How often will the lawn get mowed? As inconsequential as these may sound, disagreements over chores are among the most common long-term relationship problems. This is also one of the top
Solution: Dividing the chores
Here is how you can solve this war of chores:
- Have a mature conversation about who is supposed to do what early on
- If one partner fails to do their part, they can take on another chore the next day
When trust is missing from a relationship, it becomes a breeding ground for a host of other problems. The “friends” your partner hangs out with now seem like a threat to your relationship. This is one of the most common long-term relationship problems.
The root cause of lack of trust can be:
- Trauma due to infidelity or a breach of trust in a previous relationship
- Insecure attachment styles, stemming from low self-esteem
Solution: Build trust
Here’s how you can restore trust and make your partner feel safe in a relationship:
- Have a healthy, open communication about the issues that are bothering you
- Make each other feel secure by little acts, such as not lying about your whereabouts or showing up when you promised to
- Establish healthy boundaries and assure each other that you’re going to follow them
7. Disparity in life goals
Let’s say you were both ambitious and driven as a young couple. Then, a difficult pregnancy caused one of the partners to prioritize motherhood over career. Or a near-death experience transformed the other partner into a more “live in the moment” person.
When a couple is not on the same page about their life goals, they can drift apart quickly. Moreover, working through problems in a relationship becomes difficult.
The disparity in your thought process, your aspirations, your goals, and your concomitant approach to life, can give rise to an incompatible relationship, and this situation give you the hardest months in a relationship.
Solution: Make them see things from your perspective
To address a disparity in life goals, you can:
- Make sure your partner is aware of your changing priorities
- Sit and discuss how your relationship’s priorities may change if one of you changes their goals. For instance, how will one partner quitting a 9-5 job affect your financial planning as a couple?
- Make them realize why the change is important for you
8. Lack of appreciation
If you’re still wondering how to work through relationship problems, ask yourself when was the last time you complimented your partner? Or they thanked you for something? Can’t seem to recall? You’re not alone. Lack of appreciation is considered one of the biggest flaws in a relationship. “When people feel neglected, it eventually makes them stop putting effort into the relationship,” Geetarsh explains.
“Verbal appreciation is one of the most sought-after forms of appreciation that, frankly, any human needs and should be able to get. In fact, a study claimed that the hormonal rush a person gets from receiving compliments is similar to the rush they receive when they are handed cash,” she adds.
Solution: Appreciate often
You can show your appreciation for your partner by:
- Sprinkling your bong with simple gestures, such as putting up a “Thank You” note on the fridge
- Verbally assuring them that you appreciate them
- Acknowledging their efforts even when they aren’t perfect. For instance, saying, “I love how much effort you put into baking that cake,” even when the cake doesn’t taste too palatable
9. Mismatched sex drives
Sexual issues in a relationship can lead to serious relationship dissatisfaction. As our bodies go through myriad changes due to stress, hormones, and age catching up, our libidos become unpredictable. In that case, sexual compatibility might become an issue. Intimacy issues can make couples distant and discontent. This is also one of the common relationship problems after a baby.
The problem of Sexual desire discrepancy (SDD) arises when there’s a difference between the partners’ desired frequency of sexual intimacy and the actual occurrence of sex. A study conducted on 1054 married couples stated that an individual’s sexual desire discrepancy has a direct bearing on “relationship satisfaction, stability, communication, and conflict during the marriage.” Thus, the higher an individual’s SDD, the more the relationship is undermined.
Solution: Bring back that spark
To resolve intimacy issues, you can:
- Make time to get intimate with your partner
- Explore other forms of intimacy if your sex drive has taken a hit
- Seek medical help for sexual problems
- Talk to each other about your desires and where you think your sex lives lack
- Be empathetic and non-judgmental about your partner’s sexual problems or preferences
- Spend time with each other, apart from sex
Related Reading: 10 Signs He Is Still In Love With His Ex
10. Approach toward parenting
Raising children together can be one of the biggest blessings as well as a litmus test for a relationship. These tiny humans can take up so much space in your life and mind that your bond with your SO takes a back seat. To top it off, if you disagree on parenting styles and what values to inculcate in your children, it can be a recipe for disaster. You end up making parenting mistakes and blame each other.
Solution: Decide on the parenting approach beforehand
To address parenting differences, you can:
- Discuss your preferred parenting style with your partner before you take the plunge into parenthood. How do you want to raise your children? Are you stern or lenient?
- Discuss your family members and the parenting that you have watched growing up
11. Jealousy is one of the common relationship problems
A fleeting pang of jealousy if your partner gives or gets too much attention from another person is acceptable. So is feeling a knot in your stomach if they succeed at something you haven’t been able to. This is one of the common early relationship problems. But if jealousy in a relationship becomes toxic, it can destroy your bond with your partner. Here are some red flags that your jealousy is getting out of hand:
- You’re constantly checking on your partner’s whereabouts
- You’re stalking their social media
- You’re snooping around their phone
- You’re picking fights on every small issue
Solution: Deal with jealousy like an adult
Here are a few ways you can handle jealousy gracefully:
- Understand the pattern of your jealousy and find out if you’re insecure or dissatisfied about something in your own life
- Work on your shortcomings
- Stop comparing yourself with your partner
- Have a productive conversation about how you feel with your partner
12. Being a helicopter partner
You must have heard of helicopter parents. But did you know it is possible to be a helicopter partner too? The two aren’t very different from one another, except here you are overly attached and involved in a romantic partner’s life.
Solution: Stop being clingy
Here’s how you can stop stifling your partner with your attention:
- Stop hovering over your partner and discourage them from doing the same
- Practice valuing personal space, so that neither partner feels suffocated or becomes a control freak
- Practice self-care and indulge in things you love, such as solo trips, hobby classes, or just reading a book or treating yourself to a spa day
Related Reading: 13 Things To Do When Your Husband Ignores You
13. Differences in core values
While no two people can be absolutely alike, shared core family values and beliefs are integral to the success of a relationship. If your views on some of the most fundamental issues such as religion, politics, and life goals are poles apart, it can lead to relationship problems. Shared core values between couples can outweigh differences in the values of their respective family members.
Solution: Be honest about your core beliefs
You can resolve this issue by:
● Discussing your core values before getting too emotionally invested in someone
● Agree to disagree if you don’t see eye-to-eye about most core values but still want to take the relationship forward
14. Unrealistic expectations
If you’re in a relationship, it is only natural to expect certain things from your partner. And vice versa. However, the minute you set the bar of your expectations unrealistically high, you turn a normal human tendency into one of the challenges of a relationship.
Solution: Set achievable goals and realistic expectations
“It’s a common early relationship problem, so always make sure your expectations are realistic,” explains Geetarsh. So, here’s how you can manage expectations in a relationship:
● Express your expectations explicitly
● Don’t expect your partner to guess and deliver on your desires
● If they fail to live up to your expectations once in a while, don’t make it a bigger deal than it should be
● Accept the fact that your partner has limitations, just like you do
Related Reading: Expectations In Relationships: The Right Way To Manage Them
15. Addiction can be among the challenges of a relationship
Addiction to alcohol, drugs or other controlled substances is more rampant than most people think. Dating an addict is no walk in the park. When your partner’s entire life revolves around sourcing their next fix and getting high, it can be one of the most crippling challenges of a relationship.
Substance abuse can lead you to go through the hardest months in a relationship. The conflict between the couples can even escalate to separation on account of addiction and substance abuse. Based on the findings of research conducted by the National Library of Medicine:
- Substance abuse is one of the contributing factors to divorce, accounting for 34.6% of the total share
- In most cases, addiction (to alcohol or drugs) is often seen as the first step toward infidelity and communication problems in a relationship
- Negative behavior like resorting to domestic violence is another major concern caused by addiction
Solution: Get help
To address addiction, you can:
● Learn about what you can do in such a situation and seek help from the right resources, such as de-addiction or rehab facilities, counseling, or support groups
● Don’t judge or blame your partner
● Communicate to understand the underlying reasons for their addiction. Is it about their past experiences or have they lost their job?
16. Being unsupportive of each other
This is one of the more normal relationship issues but one that can have a debilitating effect on your bond. When life throws you a curveball, you want and need your partner by your side. You expect them to be your biggest source of support through all the highs and lows. If that’s lacking, it can impact the entire foundation of your relationship.
Feelings of anxiety, loneliness, resentment can start budding in the absence of mutual support. In some cases, it may even seem like a common relationship problem after a baby, when one partner doesn’t pull their own weight and take responsibility for the added chores. The only way to tackle this hurdle is to have a productive conversation about it.
Communication is key to resolve such conflicts. So, in such cases, you can:
● Have a productive conversation about it
● Check on your partner from time to time to understand if they need you to be more supportive
Related Reading: 10 Signs You Are In A Loveless Marriage
17. Drifting apart for no identifiable reason
One day, you’re a happy couple smitten with one another. Then, life happens and ten years go by in the blink of an eye. You look at each other and cannot even recognize the other person. Those much-in-love days seem like they were shared by different people in a different lifetime.
And you wonder, “How did we get here?” You can’t pin the reason but you know you have drifted apart. This is one of the common relationship problems triggered by all the other rampant issues like lack of communication, taking each other for granted, not being supportive and so on.
Geetarsh explains how people can drift apart without even realizing it. “After a point in time, people get so comfortable with each other and their routine of living together, they forget about discovering each other or adding excitement into the mix. It could be because of children, work, a lot of travel involved or other life stressors.
Solution: Get back the excitement
You can address this issue by bringing back some spark into the relationship. Here are some ways:
● Spend quality time with each other
● Keep discovering new aspects of each other’s personality by traveling to new destinations or taking up new hobbies together
● Try variety between the sheets
18. Viewing the relationship differently
We are, in the end, different people with different points of view. A mismatched view of the future of a relationship or moving forward at different speeds can be one of the early relationship problems. Let’s say you have been dating for six months. And while one partner is already thinking about moving in together, the other is still wondering if it’s too soon to say “I love you.”
Not being in sync about where you are in your relationship can lead to insecurity, commitment issues, and of course, arguments.
Solution: Discuss often
To tackle this issue, each partner can:
● Patiently explain their respective take on the pace of the relationship to each other
● Try and reach a middle path
● Take a step back and reflect if leaving the relationship is better, in case the differences are not manageable
19. Being excessively controlling
When one partner takes it upon themselves to decide how the other should behave in the relationship, it’s a sign of controlling behavior and toxicity in a relationship. This is also one of the top relationship problems and a sign of a severely troubled relationship.
Geetarsh explains, “It’s a conditioned problem. It stems from how a person has seen examples of love around them, and thus they practice it in a similar way.”
Solution: Set boundaries
To tackle this issue, boundaries have to be set from day one in the relationship. So, you should:
● Practice effective communication
● Let your partner know what’s okay and what isn’t
● Step back if your partner’s controlling behavior leads to verbal abuse or domestic violence. It’s always better to come out of an abusive relationship.
Related Reading: 6 Harmless Mistakes In A Relationship That Are Actually Harmful
20. Lack of responsibility
A lack of responsibility can often lead to the relationship feeling lop-sided. From chores to finances to making an effort in the relationship, if the entire responsibility falls on one partner, they will grow tired of carrying the entire weight of the relationship.
Solution: Maintain balance
The best way to resolve a lack of responsibility is to maintain balance in the relationship. Here’s how you can do that:
● Don’t keep doing more than your share out of love
● If you feel your partner isn’t making the relationship functional and healthy, voice your concerns
● Have a clear discussion about what role each partner plays in the relationship
21. Attraction outside the relationship
One of the major relationship troubles is attraction outside the relationship. Committed monogamous relationships are harder to sustain than they’re made out to be. Meeting “the one” and living happily ever after is the ideal rendition of romance that belongs in romcoms and novels. In real life, partners in romantic relationships are often susceptible to getting attracted to other people. The risk runs high especially when your relationship settles into a monotonous rhythm.
Attraction outside the relationship can heighten the risk of infidelity, which can take several forms, such as emotional affairs, sexual affairs, and long-term extramarital affairs.
● A study in which 208 divorced people were questioned about the reason for their divorce, showed that the most cited reason was infidelity, with a share of 21.6%
● Another study highlighted the outcomes of having attraction outside the relationship as “rage, loss of trust, decreased personal and sexual confidence, damaged self-esteem, fear of abandonment and surge of justification to leave the spouse.”
Related Reading: How Should I Be Dealing With Extra Marital Attraction?
Solution: Discuss your attractions with your partner
It’s believed that being open about your crushes and attractions outside the relationship can make the matter less complex. So, you can:
● Talk about these fleeting crushes or moments of sexual attraction and not keep it a secret
● Invite the person in question to events or parties you attend with your partner and introduce them to each other to defuse the situation
22. Having the same fights again and again
In long-term relationships, most couples keep having the same fights over and over again. After a while, it can start to feel like they’re moving in circles, and their relationship has stagnated. This can lead to irritability and discontentment. The same argument becomes a little more volatile every time you fight about it. This can lead to serious relationship problems. In fact, this can easily be listed as one of the 25 most common relationship problems.
Solution: Try to reach a solution quickly
To break free from the pattern of repeated fights, it’s important to quickly reach a solution, and you can do so by:
● Trying to steer arguments to a logical end
● Reaching a middle path that doesn’t hurt your partner
● Living by the solution to prevent future fights
● Not arguing to win, arguing to resolve issues
23. Boredom is also one of the top relationship problems
Sometimes, your relationship can feel like a cage, even though everything seems perfect on a checklist of how life ought to be. In such cases, boredom is often to blame. You follow the same routine, day after day, week after week. This is one of the most common relationship problems.
Solution: Ditch the routine
Here’s how you can prevent boredom in a relationship:
● Take time off your routine and spend quality time with each other
● Take part in new activities, such as celebrating special occasions or revisiting your favorite things to do together from the honeymoon phase
● Surprise your spouse with a sudden date night or a weekend trip
Related Reading: 7 Signs That Gadgets Ruin Relationships With Their “Technoference”
24. Keeping score is bad for a relationship
Scorecards can cause serious relationship woes. If you’re keeping track of every mistake, slip-up or flaw of your partner and bringing it up in fights for sake of one-upmanship, your relationship may be riddled with serious issues and your relationship wellness may be in jeopardy.
This tendency points to two possibilities:
● You resent your partner for who they are
● You want to establish dominance by denting their self-esteem
Neither is healthy. “When you keep a scorecard, it signifies that you’re not in a relationship, you’ve assumed that you’re in a race you must win,” says Geetarsh, “In doing so, you’re trying to prove to your partner that you have the upper hand, that you’re always right and you must be respected more than they are. This common relationship problem only leads to toxicity and must be avoided.”
Solution: Don’t make relationship a contest
Here’s how you can stop keeping scores in your relationship:
● Deal with every issue, every mistake, every fight as a standalone event
● Once you’ve resolved the issues, leave the past experiences and move on
● Treat your spouse like your partner-in-crime and not like a competitor
25. Infidelity is also common relationship problems
Infidelity, or cheating, is one of the biggest relationship problems. Statistics suggest that at least one incident of infidelity in relationships is recorded in 40% of unmarried and 25% of married couples in the US. It is also the cause behind up to 40% of all divorces.
Solution: Work on the relationship consistently
You can address infidelity and prevent it from ruining your relationship by:
● Working on your relationship every single day, be it by being a responsible partner or being there for them in their most vulnerable moments
● Trying to keep that connection alive by jazzing it up. Spend quality time, go on a date night, dress up for your partner, do what it takes!
● Discussing what led to the infidelity and addressing the lack in the relationship
● Choosing between leaving or forgiving if it has reached a stage of no-return
● Seeking professional help for relationship problems and opting for couples therapy or counseling
- Problems in relationships can stem from financial issues, lack of communication,
infidelity, lack of responsibility, excessive control, and a host of other reasons
- Spending quality time or doing your favorite things together is a great way to bond
with your partner
- Every couple faces relationship difficulties. The key is to understand the relationship
flaws and fight out the solutions
- Every couple faces relationship difficulties. The key is to understand the relationship
flaws and fight out the solutions
Now that you have a clear idea about the common issues in relationships, hopefully, you can try and navigate through some of them with finesse. Hope you’re still not wondering, “How to solve relationship problems without breaking up?” Some of these 25 most common relationship problems are harmless, while others are far more dangerous. Take little steps every day to address the challenges in a relationship. If you and your partner are dealing with any of these issues and unable to handle them on your own, know that couples therapy can be an effective solution. Make relationship wellness a priority. Remember, overcoming relationship problems is totally worth the effort. So, use your knowledge of relationship problems and solutions and get going!
There is no exact timeframe where we can say a relationship starts to have problems. But early relationships problems take off when the honeymoon period gets over. As communication problems in a relationship start raising their heads, you know you are in for an upheaval.
It is the most normal thing to have problems at all phases of a relationship – be it in the early phase or later on. In the early phase, you might treat finances or household chores as top problems and later on it might become kids or lack of intimacy. Nagging signs of relationship problems plague every couple. What matters is the individual approach to tackle the situation.
It’s not that hard to solve relationship problems. You need solid communication, the ability to resolve conflict, and common couple goals to ease things out. Sometimes people opt for relationship counseling to iron out the issues.
Your relationship is worth saving when you cannot live without each other, cannot imagine your partner with someone else, your arguments are silly and you are having mind-blowing sex.