11 Common Relationship Issues and What You Can Do About Them

Relationship Rules
08 Aug 2023
15 min read
11 Most Common Relationship Issues: Are They Worth Solving?

When you become a couple, relationship issues become unavoidable. And even if you encounter them quite often, that doesn’t make them any less frustrating. It’s just uncomfortable not to be on the same page constantly. Do you have to fight over the same thing repeatedly? Why does this always happen to you? Will I ever find peace and happiness in love? These questions don’t make solving your relationship problems any easier. They just make you sadder, angrier, and more determined to break the vicious circle.

So let’s start with the relief: you are not alone in your relationship issues. They are quite common, with 11 conflict scenarios appearing among many couples. That doesn’t mean they affect each couple in the same way – but it shows that there is no way to solve relationship problems other than practicing good communication skills and strengthing compassion and kindness. Keep reading – we’ll show you how to overcome your relationship issues and enjoy a healthy relationship.

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3 Reasons to Handle Your Relationship Problems – Again and Again

If you are too exhausted from fighting and determined to leave your relationship, first, take a deep breath. Indeed, relationship issues appear in your love life like the elephant in the room, screaming in a mix of complex icky emotions. But because you feel that much about them, you need time and clarity in your heart before moving on and choosing some other partner.

Now, when your mind is calm and clear, try to remind yourself why you appeared in this relationship. Is there still any good from those times worth saving? Feel free to create a list of the pros and cons of your current partner – what’s the result you see? Among the positive traits, can you list healthy communication skills that have the potential to make all the difference in your conflict now?

And once there are still purpose and skills necessary to solve your relationship struggles together, make sure you’re on the same page about these 3 reasons that are the basis to overcome your relationship issues – today and in the future.

1. Conflicts Are a Foundation of a Healthier Relationship

It takes so much hard work to resolve your relationship issues, but it always pays off if done right – even though at first it seems easier to let things go simply.

Yes, relationship conflicts are no fun, but the peace that comes with a healthy relationship can’t be beaten. When you learn to handle your relationship problems, you can enjoy a better emotional connection. If you skip that hard work and fall into egoism, you’ll end up struggling with an unhealthy relationship. That’s why healthy communication skills from both sides are so important.

Related reading: Setting Relationship Rules For a Healthy Partnership

2. You Cannot Move On Without a Proper Resolution

If you quit now and independently, you miss a chance to get a healthy and peaceful resolution of your conflict. The result is unconscious breakup trauma you won’t notice in yourself, which will spoil all your future relationships.

Remember: even the smallest relationship problems can lead to resentment if you get in the way of healthy, honest communication. All couples end up bickering and sniping at one another, but what makes a difference is their ability to resolve their relationship challenges in the long run.

Related reading: Karma’s a B**ch, or How to Deal with Karmic Relationships

3. Overcoming Relationship Issues Is Better for Your Mental Health

If you choose to decline the idea of relationships as a whole, it won’t lock the negative feelings in one area of your life. On the contrary, you will carry the burden of these relationship issues into other areas of your life.

Unresolved problems in your personal life can cause anxiety, trust issues, depression, or reduce the joy you can experience in everyday life. Your other relationships will start to be impacted as well. Depending on the issues in your current relationship, you may even begin to feel insecure about yourself! That’s why it’s so important for your mental health to clarify things together before moving on. You may need some time to calm down – but set yourself a deadline to have a healthy conversation together, because you deserve this talk.

Related reading: Right Person Wrong Time – It is Really All About Timing

What to do with relationship issues

11 Most Common Relationship Issues (With Solutions!)

So now, that you’ve found the reasons to work on those unresolved issues, let’s check out which exact scenarios you can encounter and what options you have to overcome them. Here is the list of the most common relationship problems and solutions that will improve your well-being.

1. Arguments Turn Ugly

You don’t mean for it to happen, but it always does. It starts with a disagreement. Before you know it, both of you are engaging in every unfair, hurtful tactic available to you. You bring up the past. They make you responsible for their feelings. Add in some name-calling, stonewalling, passive-aggression, and power struggles, and you have the formula for pure misery. Nothing gets resolved, and you both feel terrible.

Whenever you start your conflict logically, you end up emotional, manipulative – and just ugly. If this is you, don’t get upset – you are not alone here. Couples have power struggles very frequently. And if you want a lasting resolution, you’ll need to learn how to argue healthily.

A possible solution for relationships: Start by making two commitments. Drop the winner/loser narrative. That’s the root cause of fights going bad. Instead, replace that with a team approach. The disagreement isn’t something for one of you to win and the other to lose. It’s a problem for both of you to solve together.

You and your partner should learn the value of stepping away, letting go of your egos, and getting some emotional distance. Just be sure you come back and address the issue.

Too many couples simply drop difficult subjects in favor of momentary peace. That doesn’t solve a relationship problem. It simply delays it until you have the same fight again.

If you both struggle to fight in a healthy way, consider couples counseling. A good couples therapist will help you work through fights in a way that is affirming for both of you.

2. Your Physical Intimacy is Out of Sync

Sexual intimacy is important to many couples. Unfortunately, an unsatisfactory sex life throws things out of whack. So, what causes intimacy issues, and how can you get over them?

Some relationship problems are hard to solve because couples avoid talking about them. This is one of those issues. Why? Because sex comes with a lot of baggage. You or your partner may bring trauma from previous relationships, unrealistic expectations, mismatched libidos, or just struggle to communicate about something so personal. There’s also the issue of simply having different sexual tastes than your romantic partner.

Additionally, it’s pretty common for other relationship issues to make their way into your bedroom. Your mental health or your partner can also cause your sex life to dwindle.

A possible solution for a relationship: If you can’t come together over your sex life, don’t let this area of disagreement could become a total deal breaker. The key here is to communicate honestly, avoid assigning blame, and respect each other’s boundaries.

Very few couples align perfectly when it comes to sex and intimacy. However, working together can allow you to find a solution that is a happy medium for both of you.

Related reading: How to Be a Better Lover – Inside and Out

3. The Same Fight Over And Over Again

You think you have resolved an issue, but a few weeks later you and your partner are arguing about the same thing. It can be anything – from throwing dirty socks under the bed again or disappearing for several days without warning. The key here is that this behavior repeats again and again. And make you both enter a new fight and even say the same words.

The temptation to quit is huge now. Why does it keep happening? How can you stop going in these frustrating circles in your romantic relationships? Isn’t it easier to just go away if they don’t change?

A possible solution for your relationship: Look inward first. Aren’t you placing unfair demands or expectations on the other person? They aren’t wrong for having their habits and other priorities. If your boundaries were not critically violated, maybe you can adjust your approach or negotiate new terms to achieve a good relationship outcome for both.

Just think twice before you go. Maybe the issue is not as critical as it seems to you today. We are all imperfect, and the difference if we stay or go from the relationship is whether we can still embrace this person with these imperfections.

Related reading: How To Maintain Your Individuality While In a Relationship

4. Issues With Friends and In-Laws Impacting Your Relationship

Your relationship isn’t an island; it’s part of a network of familial and social connections that don’t always go smoothly. Personality conflicts within those circles can return to your relationship and do much damage. You cannot always control this – but you always have to deal with it. Isn’t it frustrating?

What to do in this scenario? You can’t force friends or relatives into family therapy, but there are some guidelines you can follow:

  • Choose your battles and don’t make an issue of every minor offense or irritation
  • Don’t issue ultimatums to family members
  • Avoid insulting or making disparaging remarks about the people your partner loves
  • If they have a relationship conflict with a friend or relative let them handle it
  • Stick with boundaries if your partner is disrespected by your friends or family
  • Give them time to enjoy a relationship with loved ones without interfering

If you want to have a strong relationship, you have to respect your partner’s connections and past experiences with other people they care about.

Miscommunication is the cause of relationship problems

5. Constant Relationship Miscommunication

There can be various cases when you start talking about different things in the conflict.

Here are just some phrases that show this problem:

– I thought you were going to pick up the dry cleaning! 
– Why do you always shift responsibility on me?

– We both agreed that we weren’t going to spend any more money this month.
– You suffocate me! I want to see my friends!

– Didn’t we just decide to tell your mother she couldn’t come to visit?
– You want me to say my mother I don’t love her anymore?

In so many relationships, miscommunication seems as though you aren’t even speaking the same language. How can you stop this pattern?

A possible solution for your relationship: Learn how your partner speaks first. It can just be a different language you’re used to with your previous partners. For example, a person may say that they are getting ready to go. To one person that could mean they are in the car, or walking out the door in preparation to leave. For others, it could mean that they are doing everything they need to do before that.

Try to say things without confusion or miscommunication. And most importantly, make a significant effort to actually listen to each other, and remember that there is no shame in double-checking. Miscommunication can often lead to conflicting values and relationship problems, so it is important for issues with communication to be addressed immediately.

6. Lack of Time For One Another

As your relationship progresses, you may spend less time with each other. It’s so different from the very beginning! Maybe you’ve started raising children, and that’s why it seems your relationship is no longer all about you. Or you’ve got a new job and are so busy now that you barely have any time for yourself even. How can you fix the issue if you don’t even have time for talking to each other?

Possible solution: Try to schedule a set time for you to spend with your partner. This could be anything – even staying up an extra hour every night after finishing the day. Also, try asking family members for help or delegate some responsibilities to make time for date nights every week or two.

The general advice is to eliminate any unnecessary time wasting. Remember that rules are arbitrary, and you don’t have to do things correctly. Find the place in your schedule that feels comfortable for you.

If you take 2 hours to ensure your dishes are clean, try running the dishwasher twice – and spend this time with your partner instead.

When you don’t make time for each other, it will result in low self-esteem for both. That’s why even the moments that seem to be small are so precious.

Related reading: Quality Time – It’s a Love Language

7. Resentments Over Responsibilities

You spend all day on your feet, cleaning the house and keeping up with the daily tasks. That’s why when your partner gets home, you’re exhausted. You think their job is much easier than yours because they see people and do different things. Whenever they’re back, you want to sit down complaining that you need a break.

On the other hand, your partner had to get up at 5 in the morning and get ready for work. The tasks are always unpredictable and cause chronic stress, but they need to handle these mental health risks to be able to bring home money. After work, they want to sit on the couch in silence and relax. When you start sharing your negative feelings about staying home all day, they think you have the easiest job in the world to complain about.

Such an uneven division of responsibilities makes partners disagree, argue about who is more tired, and start to resent each other. There are very few things that can help with such resentment, and each position is understandable.

A possible way to handle the resentment: Try to establish a line of understanding between you and your partner. Recognize that the work both of you do is important. Let each other know how much you appreciate each other.

As an option, you can also set relaxing and non-relaxing rules. Seeing someone sitting around while you work hard can make you feel resentful of them, even if they are just as tired. That’s why you can appreciate the needs of each other this way.

Financial problems can ruin even a healthy relationship

8. Financial Issues

There are many ways when finances bring relationship issues, for instance:

  • Your partner wants to split things 50-50, but you are unable or unwilling to accept that idea based on the experience from your past relationships.
  • You’ve both agreed on a budget, but your partner always has some reason to step away from it. Their spending habits end up leaving you to foot the bill.
  • You as a woman own more than your partner, or you want some financial independence that offends your partner’s beliefs on marriage.

As you see, financial issues are one of the biggest relationship challenges. But what can you do to solve it?

Possible solutions for your relationships: Establish how you split up your finances. For some splitting everything evenly is the best way to go. But we find that this method only works if you both make either the same amount or you both make enough so that you still feel relatively comfortable with any amount left over. But for others, we recommend splitting based on income. Doing a split like this is great for couples with vastly different levels of pay as it avoids one partner from being too financially dependent on the other.

Another thing you can do is establish rules about overspending. For example, if a person breaks the budget for an item that was deemed unnecessary, establish they have to put twice that amount back into the account the next month. This way, you’ll get a deterrent that keeps you from breaking that budget.

9. Boredom

The boredom of one partner is among the most common relationship challenges in many present relationships – but luckily, one of the easiest to fix. Among all, both of you should acknowledge that it is perfectly ok to spend time with others, as well as find that things have gotten stale or boring. From this mutual standpoint, you can work on the solution.

How you can address these relationship challenges: Make a point to try something new with your partner. It’s normal for long-term relationships to become stale. That’s why finding new things to add to the routine will help. Alternatively, you can give you both a recharge period.

Relationship success isn’t always based on how much fun you have. Sometimes a great way to fix boredom is to embrace it. Just as fun times come and go, so do the boring ones. However, if you have difficulties with one of the most common relationship problems, consider trying couples therapy too.

Related reading: 8 Damaging and 6 Good Psychological Effects of Being Single Too Long

10. Not Enough Time Alone

If one of the partners believes being in a relationship means spending together as much as possible, another one may feel the lack of personal space. If that’s your case, remember that everyone must have an identity outside their romantic relationship. It’s a normal situation to need some alone time – at some times, distance can even make the heart grow fonder. Don’t be afraid to let them go if they want it.

How to fix your relationship issue: Give one another space to pursue interests and friendships without the other one tagging along. If it’s hard for you, consider visiting a family therapist to work on your attachment style and insecurities.

Nobody should be defined solely as a boyfriend, girlfriend, partner, fiance, spouse, etc – neither you nor your partner.

11. Poor Communication

When one partner can explain things clearly and in a mature way, but another one constantly manipulates and blames, this is a poor communication issue. Being one of the more common relationship problems, it also means a mismatch in the communication styles of two partners.

What you can do with this problem: One way to address this is to discuss your preferences openly and honestly. Then, you can come up with some relationship-saving compromises.

For example, you might prefer to put your feelings in writing, but your partner wants to talk face-to-face. So, you agree that you will use text or email to get things off your chest, but will make yourself available to talk about any relationship issues face-to-face afterwards.

When it's better to break up for the sake of your mental health

4 Scenarios When It’s Unlikely You Can Fix Things

Although you can fix most of the relationship issues, there are times when you cannot save your couple, no matter how hard you try. This might be hard to accept for people with a savior complex who believe they can help or fix anything. That’s why we’ll put those warning signs clearly so you can examine your current relationship objectively.

1. Controlling Behavior

Let’s talk about relationship abuse. This is not a problem that can be solved by compromise or couples therapy.

This is an issue that is solely caused within the abuser and the decisions they make. No other factors need to be considered. If your relationship is impacted by domestic violence, and that is not limited to physical abuse, your goal should be to find help for yourself.

If you witness any form of control and abuse, please contact a domestic violence shelter or crisis line to contact a professional.

2. Substance Abuse

Human beings by nature are curious creatures and more often than not, that curiosity leads them down terrible paths. Substance abuse and addiction are just one of those paths.

While it is ok to support their journey to recovery it should not fall on you to convince them to get the help they need. It also shouldn’t fall on you to financially support the relationships that you have with any partner.

You may find yourself experiencing firsthand the effects of your partner’s addiction, be very careful and don’t decline the offers of help.

Related reading: Male Maturity – When Does It Kick In?

3. Infidelity

Cheating and betrayal are painful experiences and cause traumatic consequences. When a person is in a relationship and their partner happens to cheat on them, some may even blame themselves for the relationship’s failure.

If their infidelity boosts your poor self-esteem and even a lapse in mental or physical health, it’s time to go. Don’t give them power over you, if they cheat let them know you won’t tolerate it and step away.

If your partner cheats on you, it is a sign that they are not good enough for you. Let it go.

4. Complete Lack of Shared Core Values

Mismatch in values and ideals is one of those relationship challenges that couples struggle with. And most frequently, they are real deal breakers regarding romance. After all, can you truly imagine a future with someone who doesn’t care about the same things you do? What if their worldview and moral compass are nothing like yours?

Yes, you can love someone without expecting them to align with you completely on every issue. But if their core values are in contrast to yours, that will be a problem.

Your core feelings are not the ones you can work out through couples therapy. Unless you can change your views, there is no common ground in such relationships.

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Can You Overcome Your Relationship Troubles?

Whenever life throws some relationship issues into your life, your ability to solve them depends on the context of your problem and your mutual willingness to change the situation. Among all, you have to decide that your relationship is the one you want and that it’s in your best interest to save it. Then, your partner must also be committed to putting things on the right track. Because no relationship ever lasted because one person did all of the work.

Once you’ve found that foundation, you can certainly feel hopeful. As this article shows, most problems are typical in any relationship and have workable solutions. All you need is a mutual agreement to change the situation. Good luck with that!

Relationships Author
Geoffrey Williams
After taking a required Intro to Psychology course as an undergrad, I have never looked back. Since my doctoral program, I have specialized in adult relationship therapy. Through my studies and clinicals, I wrote several articles for professional journals and currently in the midst of writing a book.
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