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Common Relationship Problems and How to Deal With Them

How to deal with common relationship problems, how to know when to stay and when to leave a relationship, related content.

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Everyone who chooses to be in a relationship will experience problems in their relationship from time to time. Whether big or small, we can learn how to deal with relationship problems through healthy communication , mutual respect, and compromise.

It’s good for partners to learn how to discuss relationship problems without fighting, and to try to resolve relationship problems without breaking up. However, there may be times when differences or unresolved issues lead to a breakup . It is important to understand how to deal with relationship problems—and when it may be time to leave.

Some of the most common issues that cause conflict within a relationship are:

Money is one of the most common issues that cause conflict in a relationship. Whether it’s having different financial resources, different views about the importance of money, or different spending habits, money issues can cause tension in a relationship. This is especially true if there is an imbalance of power—for example, when one partner has more financial resources and the other feels like they “owe” their partner financially.

Here are some ways to resolve potential conflicts about finances:

  • Be honest about your financial situation. Be up front about what you can and can’t afford in terms of dates and gifts.
  • Do not use money as leverage or “ammunition” during fights or disagreements that are not about money.
  • If you live together and decide to join finances, compromise about spending and saving habits in a way that is fair to both people.
  • Have separate financial accounts from one another. This not only keeps things fair, but it can be an important part of an effective safety plan if the relationship ends.

Sex and intimacy is another issue that many couples struggle with. Partners may have different needs and desires around physical intimacy. One person may want sex more often than the other, or may be more open to different kids of sex or having sex with more than one person, such as in open or polyamorous relationships. Sometimes there are mismatches in comfort levels with public displays of affection—one partner may not want to be physically affectionate in public while the other does. And these preferences may change over time as the relationship progresses. Ongoing and honest sharing about intimacy needs and preferences is a core part of keeping a relationship healthy.

It’s important to remember that consent is the most important thing in a sexual relationship. Consent must be:

  • Enthusiastic: You and your partner should express that you want to be engaging in sexual activity.
  • Voluntary: You should not feel pressured in any way to engage in sexual activity.
  • Informed: Understand what the sexual activity involves, and what any potential consequences are.
  • Specific: Consent can be given for one sexual activity but not others. Before you try different activities, check in about how your partner is feeling.
  • Ongoing: Saying yes to sex one time does not mean you have agreed to every sexual encounter. Check in before each time you want to be physically intimate.

To get closer to your partner and to create an environment for enthusiastic consent in your relationship, consider scheduling “date nights,” or private time where you get out of your usual routines and do something you enjoy together.

You should not feel pressured into sex or any sexual activity to maintain your relationship. Feeling coerced, pressured, or guilted into sex is not consent. If you feel that your consent has been violated and are seeking help, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 to speak with a trained staff member at any time.

Difference in time management is another issue that can cause conflict in a relationship, particularly when it comes to making time for each other. Balancing alone time, time with your partner, time with friends, and time for other responsibilities can be challenging, and expectations may change over time as the relationship gets more serious. Having a clear sense of what you need and sharing that with a partner, especially as what your need or want changes, is an important part of a healthy relationship.

If your partner does not make time for you, you may struggle with feelings of resentment or jealousy. Similarly, if your partner wants you to constantly be together, you may start to feel like you’re not paying enough attention to other important parts of your life individually.

Here are some ways to resolve potential conflicts around making time for the relationship:

  • Communicate openly about how much time you want to spend together and what your other priorities are.
  • Where possible, find ways to sync your schedules so you can spend time together. Try making a schedule that includes time with your partner.
  • Spend time together trying new experiences, like trying a new hobby you’re both interested in.
  • Be honest about when you need time away from your partner.

Trust and Jealousy

Feeling insecure, jealous, or distrustful in a relationship can lead to a number of problems very quickly—especially if there are clear reasons for the distrust.

Sometimes, these feelings arise when there is no clear reason. Many of us feel insecure in a relationship because we do not have much relationship experience, have areas of low self-worth that affect how we feel about ourselves in a relationship, or because we have unresolved issues from a previous relationship. If you recognize that your feelings of insecurity are coming from inside yourself, consider talking it through with your partner or seeking help from a therapist who can help you get to the root of the issue.

In other instances, your partner’s actions or words can cause feelings of insecurity, either on purpose or inadvertently. If you feel this way, check in with your partner. Having honest conversations about hard topics like this are inevitable in healthy relationships and can be powerful opportunities to grow as a couple and as individuals. However, if your partner repeatedly dismisses your concerns, minimizes their hurtful behavior, or leaves you feeling worse rather than reassured after you talk, it may be time to leave the relationship.

Healthy relationships are based on equality, kindness, compassion, and support. Unhealthy relationships, meanwhile, often have dynamics that breed negative feelings—such as criticism, selfishness, resentment, trouble with compromise, or an imbalance of power or control.

Most relationships will face conflict or challenges from time to time. If these issues are constant, or if you often feel worse after dealing with them, it can help to check in with yourself and see whether the relationship is healthy enough to find a resolution or whether it may be time to leave .

When to Stay in a Relationship

  • You feel fulfilled and satisfied: If both you and your partner feel satisfied emotionally, socially, and physically, and you trust that you will be cared for and listened to.
  • Your relationship is integrated with other parts of your life: If your partner is welcomed by your friends and family, and you feel welcomed by their loved ones. If you feel proud to introduce them, at ease with them in social situations, and not embarrassed or humiliated by their behavior.
  • You know you can tell your partner anything: If there is conflict, bad news, or big changes in your life,  your partner is there for you and will work with you to find solutions and move forward.
  • You and your partner feel secure: If you and your partner respect one another’s alone time, their past and present relationships, and handle feelings of insecurity or jealousy in healthy ways. If you can handle negative feelings with kindness and maturity.
  • You are on the same page: If you share similar core beliefs, and have the same goals for your future together, and agree on what you want out of a relationship.
  • You feel excited about the future: If you feel excited about your partner and what you can accomplish together.
  • You ask for change and you see change: If when you have a conflict and ask for compromise, your partner does their part to make the change you want to see. If they respond with kindness and compassion, and not anger or defensiveness, when asked to compromise.

When to leave a relationship

  • Your needs are not being met: If you have communicated your emotional, social, or physical needs and your partner is not meeting them.
  • Your primary relationship needs are being met by other people: If you are seeking validation, support or intimacy from others, including friends and family, specifically because your partner does not provide them for you.
  • You know you can’t ask for more: If you are unhappy with your relationship, and your needs have been repeatedly ignored. If you don’t feel you can ask more of your partner because you know they will not take your request seriously.
  • You or your partner are consistently jealous: If you or your partner are consistently jealous, with or without reason, and there are no actions taken to rebuild trust.
  • You have irreconcilable differences: If you have differences in your core values and beliefs, and your beliefs and goals for the future, and no one is willing to compromise.
  • Your friends and family don’t support your relationship: If you trust that your loved ones have your best interest at heart, and yet feel that you are constantly defending your relationship to them. If you are afraid to bring up relationship issues with friends and family because it causes conflict with them.
  • You feel stuck or obligated: If you are unhappy but you feel you have to keep going because you have already invested so much time and energy into the relationship. If you feel guilty about leaving the relationship because you feel pressure to keep investing in it.
  • You just can’t seem to “make it work”: If you’ve been unhappy for a long time and make promises to improve the relationship, but there is no follow-through. If you have been trying to “make it work” for months or years with no improvement.
  • You feel resentment toward your partner: If you feel that the issues in your relationship affect your ability to view your partner positively. If you feel ignored, resentful or are holding grudges against your partner.
  • You just don’t feel loved: If you have incompatible ways of expressing and receiving affection, or your partner does not want to show you affection the way you want them to. If you simply don’t feel loved, or don’t know how to make your partner feel loved.

If a Relationship is Abusive

If you are in an unhealthy relationship, there are warning signs to look out for to tell if the relationship is becoming abusive. Signs of relationship abuse  include:

  • Emotional or verbal: One partner threatens, intimidates, or humiliates the other, isolates them from friends or family, or manipulates their partner into acting or thinking a certain way.
  • Financial: One partner controls access to money or information about finances, controls household spending, or does not allow the other partner to be financially independent.
  • Electronic: One partner uses electronic means such as email, text messages, social media, GPS tracking, or other digital devices to harass, control, or embarrass the other.
  • Physical: One partner hits, shoves, kicks, bites, or chokes the other, damages their personal property, harms pets, or withholds necessities including food or medication.
  • Sexual: One partner forces the other to perform sexual activity against their will or guilts or pressures their partner into sex, brags about cheating, refuses to use birth control, or withholds affection as an act of coercion.

Any sign of abuse is a reason to leave a relationship. If you are worried that your relationship is showing signs of abuse, or if you need help creating a safety plan to leave an abusive relationship, call the National Domestic Abuse Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or text START to 88788.

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How to Solve Relationship Problems

Last Updated: July 28, 2022 Approved


Finding solutions, healthy routines.

This article was co-authored by Trudi Griffin, LPC, MS . Trudi Griffin is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Wisconsin specializing in Addictions and Mental Health. She provides therapy to people who struggle with addictions, mental health, and trauma in community health settings and private practice. She received her MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Marquette University in 2011. There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 85% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 400,190 times.

Relationships may develop problems for a variety of reasons, but poor communication is often the reason why some people have a hard time solving these problems. If you are in a relationship that has hit a rough patch, then you may benefit from improving the communication between your partner and yourself. You can also learn how to deal with problems as they arise in order to move past arguments and toward solutions. After things have gotten better, there are things that you can do to ensure that your relationship continues to thrive and grow.

Step 1 Schedule time to just talk.

  • For example, you could set aside 15 minutes per morning to sit and tell each other about your plans for the day. Or, you could give your partner a call on his or her lunch break to check in and see how your partner’s day is going.
  • Scheduling time to talk about relationship problems can be useful as well. By setting a time limit for discussing your problem, you may reduce some of the tension in your relationship and get closer to a solution. For example, you could decide to discuss a specific problem from 7-8pm.
  • Keep these conversations as light as possible and avoid discussing anything that might upset your partner during this time. The goal is to get a rapport going again. Of course, if your partner is having a bad day or is feeling stressed about something, listen and be supportive and encouraging.

Step 2 Discuss problems in a public place.

  • Make eye contact with your partner when he or she is talking. Do not look away, look at your phone, or anywhere else when your partner is talking to you. Give your partner your full attention.
  • Nod your head and indicate your interest with neutral statements, such as “yes,” “I see,” and “go on.”
  • Rephrase what your partner has just said to make sure that you have understood him or her.

Step 4 Stick to “I” statements.

  • For example, instead of saying, “You never make the bed in the morning,” say, “I would really appreciate it if you could make the bed if you get up after I do.”

Step 5 Express your appreciation for each other.

  • For example, if your partner often loads the dishwasher after dinner and tidies up the kitchen, let him or her know that you value these activities. Say something like, “I just want to say thank you for keeping our kitchen so clean and nice. I appreciate that so much.”

Step 6 Think before you speak.

  • For example, instead of calling your partner a mean name or insulting him or her in some other way, identify what you want him or her to do.

Step 7 Allow your partner to finish speaking before you respond.

  • For example, you might say something like, “I am sorry for not calling you to tell you that I was going to be late. I will try to be more thoughtful in the future.”

Step 1 Identify the problem.

  • For example, you may feel that your partner is not helping out around the house as much as he or she should be, and your partner may feel like you are too demanding. Take some time to think about what is bothering you and have your partner do the same.

Step 2 Express your needs.

  • For example, you might say, “I have been feeling overwhelmed by the housework and I could use some more help from you.” Your partner might say something like, “I have been feeling overwhelmed as well because of my work schedule and I feel like you don’t appreciate how hard I work.”

Step 3 Acknowledge your partner’s feelings.

  • For example, you might say something like, “Okay, I hear what you are saying. I did not realize that you felt that way.”
  • Do not get defensive even if your partner responds to you with a defensive claim, such as “You are always nagging me and you never appreciate how hard I work.” Acknowledge your partner’s feelings and move on.

Step 4 Make a plan with your partner.

  • For example, if your partner has been feeling unappreciated, then you can promise to acknowledge his or her efforts more often. You might also make it a rule that you will not ask you partner to do anything until he or she has had a chance to unwind a bit. Your partner might then promise you that he or she will be more consistent with certain household chores.

Step 5 Keep your promises.

  • For example, if you promised to take out the garbage every night after dinner, make sure that you do so. Otherwise, your partner may start to feel resentful and begin lapsing on his or her promises as well.

Step 6 Be prepared to repeat these steps.

  • You don’t need to go far to get away. Try visiting a nearby city for a couple of nights. Go out to a nice dinner, see a play, or visit some museums together.

Step 3 Hold hands, hug, and kiss.

  • For example, you can hold your partner’s hand while watching a movie, give your partner a kiss before you leave for work, or hug your partner before you go to bed each night.

Step 4 Give each other space.

  • For example, you might have a girl’s or guy’s night out once per week, take a class by yourself, or join a special interest group on your own.

Step 5 Try new things with your partner.

  • For example, you could take a gourmet cooking class together, join a local hiking club, or try to learn a new language together.

Step 6 Consider couples therapy.

Expert Q&A

  • Try to be patient. Solving relationship problems can be a long process, especially if the problems have been going on for a while. Thanks Helpful 3 Not Helpful 0
  • Remember to be mature. Jumping to conclusions, screaming at one another, and trying to get revenge is not the way to go. This can lead to more issues in the relationship. Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 0
  • You'll need to lower your pride, If you two are having an argument stay calm, Don't let your pride win. This can cause a hard and a worst problem. Try to court again your partner if one of he/she is getting cold in your relationship. Thanks Helpful 3 Not Helpful 0

how to deal with problems in a relationship

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  • ↑ http://www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/guide/7-relationship-problems-how-solve-them
  • ↑ http://www.helpguide.org/articles/relationships/relationship-help.htm
  • ↑ https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fixing-families/201101/the-art-solving-relationship-problems
  • ↑ https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fixing-families/201311/common-sense-approach-solving-relationship-problems
  • ↑ http://www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/guide/7-relationship-problems-how-solve-them?page=3
  • ↑ http://www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/guide/7-relationship-problems-how-solve-them?page=2
  • ↑ http://psychcentral.com/lib/how-can-i-improve-intimacy-in-my-marriage/

About This Article

Trudi Griffin, LPC, MS

The best way to solve relationship problems is by improving communication. You can start by scheduling time for you and your loved one to just sit down and talk. For example, you could spend a few minutes in the morning to tell each other about your daily plans. When you think you're ready to move onto discussing the relationship, try to have your conversations in a public place to keep things civil. For more relationship advice from our reviewer, like how to maintain your relationship once things improve, keep reading. Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Top Tips For How To Solve Relationship Problems Without Breaking Up

There are times in romantic relationships where it feels like everything is too much, and you may wonder whether you and your significant other can make it through. Relationships can require a lot of work, and even the healthiest ones have some kind of conflict. Before breaking up with your partner, it can be important to assess whether your issues are repairable. In this article, we’ll be covering several different ways you can try to solve the problems in your relationship without having to part ways with one another.

Communicate With Your Partner

Healthy communication can be vital in any relationship. While it may be tempting to keep things to yourself to avoid fights, this can worsen things down the road. Couples who are honest with one another tend to have higher satisfaction in the relationship because they can work to meet one another’s needs. Honesty also builds trust, which can be essential for two people to share. Asking your partner to sit down and talk about an issue with you can help both of you get to the bottom of it. If you’re having trouble communicating openly or one or both of you is getting defensive , couples therapy could be a helpful environment to open up to each other. 

Don't Expect A Particular Outcome

You might want things to be a certain way, but this could be precisely what's holding your relationship back. There's no one right way for a relationship to be; what matters is that it's healthy for you and your partner, and that both people are happy. This can be subjective depending on the couple. There are things that you might need in a relationship that other people might not, and there are things that your partner might need in a connection that is exclusive to them as a person, but there's no "right" relationship." Part of fixing a relationship may be about letting go of what "should" be and embracing what is, staying in the present moment, and working with what your relationship has. If there are things that are missing that you think could help your relationship improve, discuss them with your partner.

Compare And Despair

You might look at other couples on social media and think: "why can't I be happy like those people?" However, you never know what happens behind closed doors. You don't know whether that couple is happy or not or whether they’re abusive toward one another. Therefore, try not to compare yourself to other couples. Even if they are happy, you can be satisfied, too, but your happiness is not predicated on other people's joy; it's exclusive to you. You and your partner likely have challenges that are unique to you, but these can often be worked out with the right tools, mindset, and support. 

Validating Your Partner's Feelings

Everyone deserves to have their feelings acknowledged and validated . This can be important in friendships and romantic relationships. When you and your partner have an argument or disagree on something, tempers can rise, and harsh words may be exchanged. It can be crucial to hear what your partner has to say. Most people want a partner who cares about and acknowledges their feelings. Try not to be defensive and listen without judging them. Validation doesn’t mean you agree with their feelings, but rather that you see them and are there to support them.

Active listening can improve communication between couples and help them solve issues they’re facing. Instead of listening to respond, try to listen in order to understand. Many disagreements happen because each person doesn’t understand the other. By listening well, admitting when you’re wrong, and honoring how your partner feels, you can work as a team to solve problems together. This can be much more effective than viewing one another as the enemy.

Compromise Matters

In a romantic relationship, disagreements happen. You might be confident that your stance on the issue is right. However, there are three stances in an argument: your position, your partner's opinion, and a compromise. When both of you listen to one another and try to compromise, you can make a positive change in your relationship when you're willing to meet your partner halfway in a disagreement. When you value your partner's viewpoint on something that matters, it builds trust, and trust can be a crucial part of an intimate relationship. It only takes a moment to let your partner know that you care, and it can make all the difference in future disagreements. You may not get your way on everything, and they won't get all the things that they want either. That's the nature of compromise in a relationship. 

Fostering Independence

Relying on people and things outside of your relationship can help it grow. Although you may be tempted, you don’t need to go to your partner for every need or problem. In fact, this can be unhealthy. You can find ways to take care of yourself and lean on others in your life like friends and family members. If you're feeling anxious, for example, you can find ways to help yourself before turning to your partner. Fostering your own sense of independence through hobbies, friendships, and your own opinions can help you appreciate your partner more. It may also allow you to disagree without ending the relationship because you realize you can have your needs met elsewhere. 

Some couples spend so much time together that disagreements become more commonplace. Taking personal space can help each person sort out their thoughts and remember why they are in the relationship to begin with. As much as two people love one another, it can still be vital for a couple to have time apart. Focusing on hobbies, friends, and family can give the couple the rejuvenation they need to come back together with a clearer mindset. 

Quality Time

One of the most effective ways to improve a relationship is to spend quality time together. This is often how two people fall in love initially. You could participate in anything from watching TV to going on a hike or playing a board game. No matter what you choose to do, try to stay present in the moment and remember why you’re with your partner. The closer you and your partner are, the more effective you may be at navigating difficult conversations together.  

Online Counseling With Regain

Trying to save a relationship can be daunting, particularly when you feel you’ve tried everything in your power to turn things around. Sometimes, having a neutral party to serve as a mediator can be the answer to your relationship woes. In  couples counseling through Regain, you can learn how to improve communication between you and your partner and seek to understand their perspective. Many problems can be repairable, and online therapy allows you to talk about and work through them from the privacy of your home. Discussing sensitive issues may feel easier as you meet with your therapist from the comfort of your home or wherever else you feel at ease.

The Efficacy Of Online Counseling 

Couples experiencing relationship problems can benefit from online therapy. One study assessed the efficacy of an online program for couples and individuals with a variety of concerns. Researchers found that the intervention was effective in improving relationship satisfaction and reducing distress among participants. Reductions in anxiety and depression were also seen.

Counselor Reviews

“Dr. Burklow literally saved our relationship. I was honestly ready to  call it quits . We joined Regain approximately two months before our wedding: that was six months ago. Needless to say we are now husband and wife. Since then, we learned tolerance and acceptance, not only of each other, but of ourselves. We began feeling and behaving like teammates as opposed to opponents. Though we looked forward to our weekly Tuesday night video sessions we knew couples therapy was not meant to be long term. In the short amount of time, Dr. Burklow provided us with the necessary tools to deal with conflict and ensuring a successful and healthy union. Thank you again Dr. Burklow!”

“With Cassandra’s help, we’ve been able to bring our relationship to a new, healthier, and much happier level, working through painful situations, growing as individuals and as a couple, and with tools to stay on this path. She’s very responsive, and it has been great to have her facilitate our messaging through the app all week. I highly recommend Cassandra. She’s skilled, supportive, and down-to-earth. We feel totally comfortable with her.”

The Takeaway

Every couple can experience problems that are unique to their relationship. The process of moving past these issues can look different depending on the individuals involved. In general, healthy communication, active listening, and compromise can be effective methods to get over certain obstacles standing in a couple’s way. When these things aren’t enough, online couples counseling can be another productive way to move forward.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can I solve my relationship without breaking up?

Healthy relationships are built on a foundation of trust and communication. You are not out of options just yet. If you want to solve a dilemma you and your partner may be facing, it can be effective to work through it together like you would a puzzle. Look at it from all angles, evaluate all perspectives, and work together to make the repair. If you’re still struggling, consider getting help from a couples therapist.

What are the most common problems in a relationship?

Trust: Relationship problems can start when trust stops. Many couples experience this on a scale anywhere from momentary distrust to complete infidelity.

Money: Struggles with money can kill a relationship. Whether it be a mutual financial hardship or one partner feeling like they are pulling more of the weight,  money issues in relationships  can be a common problem for many couples.

Distance: Long-distance relationships sometimes have to work extra hard to keep communication lines open.

Sex: Problem-solving issues concerning sex can be difficult as well as sensitive for a lot of couples.

Repeated Arguments: It can be easy to get defensive and angry when the same argument crops up too many times.

Couples facing issues in their relationship may benefit from couples counseling when their own methods of repair don’t work. 

How can you help your relationship?

How you choose to improve your relationship can depend on what problems you and your partner are facing. If you’re feeling disconnected, for example, it can help to spend more quality time with one another. If you’re struggling with financial matters, speaking with a financial advisor could allow you to set goals that are aligned with one another’s priorities. Different couples handle different problems in a variety of ways, some of which can work more effectively than others. 

Is it normal to fight every day in a relationship?

Conflict is natural, and many times inevitable. In fact, even happy, healthy couples fight, but they know how to repair and move forward as a stronger unit. However, fighting every day could signal an issue and may not be indicative of a healthy relationship. If you’re fighting with your partner every day, it can be important to seek help from a professional or find other methods to save the relationship should the two of you desire that.

What to say to stop a breakup?

There is no magic word to stop a breakup. It can be important to respect your partner’s feelings and wishes. That said, if you want your partner to reconsider, it can be helpful to ask what you can do to change the outcome. Doing so can cultivate the longevity of the relationship.

What are the 5 most important things in a relationship?

Naturally, people value different things from a partner. For example, some people want their partner to have a good sense of humor, a stable job, or even good teeth. These five things can be important to any relationship, but other factors can matter just as much:

Trust: Healthy relationships are built on a strong sense of trust in one another.

Communication: Your partner cannot read your mind. If there is something that needs problem solving, try to communicate that in an open and loving way.

Passion: Passion can change over time. If you feel it slipping from your relationship, there are plenty of ways to reignite the spark. Shake things up, try something new, and see what sticks.

Timing: Be aware of how timing affects your relationship.

Respect: Mutual respect can play a major role in the growth of a healthy relationship. Human beings are programmed to desire respect, especially from those we feel closest to. Problems can start when respect isn’t present in a relationship.

When should you give up on a relationship?

It is difficult to say when to throw in the towel on a relationship. No one typically enters a relationship hoping it will end. If you feel like there is irreversible disrespect and distrust, or if you just think the timing is off, it’s okay to take a step back and reassess what you want and deserve. Abusive relationships are never okay.

How can I improve my relationship with love?

Happy couples are not without their problems. Loving relationships do not happen on their own; rather, they are cultivated over time. Sharing new experiences together, being physically and emotionally intimate, and communicating openly can all help your relationship grow in love.

How do you know if your relationship is worth saving?

If you’re putting in effort to solve your relationship problems and see results from these efforts, it may be worth saving. A relationship takes two people to work. You and your partner must both want the relationship to thrive and be healthy. If you each are willing to put in the work to move past your issues, your partnership may be worth saving.

Do couples who fight stay together?

Even happy couples experience conflict in their relationship. Fighting is not necessarily a sign of a poor relationship. Rather, it can be an opportunity for a couple to improve their partnership. 

Why do couples fight over nothing?

Underlying fears, problems, or anxiety can be the cause for fighting over what is seemingly nothing. Taking some time to unpack what is really at the bottom of the issue can help.

How do you know when a relationship is really over?

Every relationship is different. However, once one or both partners have decided to breakup, the relationship may be considered over. Likewise, signing divorce papers could signal an end. Although a couple could choose to get back together in the future, this doesn’t mean the relationship isn’t over for now. Even after the romantic relationship has technically ended, though, it is common to have remaining feelings for that person. 

How do you save a breakup?

If you do not understand why a relationship is ending, it can be tempting to try to save it. You may also love your partner so much that you don’t want it to end. This being said, it can be vital to respect your partner’s wishes. If your partner is willing to work on fixing the relationship with you, there are steps you can take together to try to save it. Not all relationships can be saved, but it is possible in some cases.

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20 Tips to Deal With Unresolved Issues in a Relationship

Sylvia Smith

Sylvia Smith loves to share insights on how couples can revitalize their love lives in and out of the bedroom. As a writer at Marriage.com, she is a big believer in living... Read more

Couple talking at home

In This Article

At times, a couple argues over the same problems in a relationship  but consistently finds a way to stop the conflict for the time being. This only comes back another time, leaving unresolved issues in a relationship to form an unhealthy pattern.

Compromise is never given consideration with the ideology that no one is deemed the “winner.” The thought process that the partnership should be nurtured and cared for instead of concerning themself with who’s right doesn’t play in. And the problem continues.

How can mates approach unresolved issues within a partnership?

There’s no hard and fast rule to approaching unresolved issues in a relationship, or couples would have already taken that road to fix their problems. The key is always to have effective communication instead of emotional arguments. 

The moment you become emotional and defensive is the second you stop listening or, rather, hearing what your partner is saying to you. That’s the time to step away from the conflict to collect your thoughts. 

By doing that, you can then come back together with a calm mindset, ready to have a productive conversation to identify the issues in your relationship.

20 effective tips for handling unresolved issues in a partnership

Conflict is a harsh reality in all relationships. Love can be wonderful and magical, but it’s not always perfect. It’s vital to recognize there will be rough patches, a natural part of being in a long-term, committed partnership .

You can’t share a household, responsibilities, finances, plus passion and not experience, at the very least, bickering, despite the amount of love you share with the other person. 

Let’s look at how to deal with relationship issues more productively, but before we do that, look into this book , “Forgiving What You Can’t Forget. 

You might find it particularly helpful in showing you how to find a way to make peace within yourself when you simply cannot find a resolution with the other person—moving on with our tips.

1. It’s vital to be accepting of the fact no relationship is perfect

No one has a fairy tale, but that’s okay because none of us would genuinely want everything to be perfect if we really sat down and thought about what perfection would be like and the amount of effort it would be to maintain.

The idea is to recognize that as imperfect people in a partnership, you will each make a few mistakes and some bad decisions, but that just means you talk about things, acknowledge or own responsibility, work through it and gain a life lesson. 

That’s not so tough, and it’s better than leaving unresolved issues in a relationship.

2. Communication is key 

In that same vein, communication is among the most important components when you hope to work towards a strong connection and establish a deep bond. 

You will still not be able to call your partnership perfect, but you’ll have the elements to stake a pretty good claim for being close to one. 

When you talk about relationship problems in a calm, respectful manner with the mindset of coming to the point of compromise, that’s the goal for every conflict. 

This ultimately leads to your solution. It genuinely doesn’t matter who was “at fault” or who “wins.” What’s important is that each person involved nurtures the relationship. 

One might apologize, and one will likely forgive, but together there’s growth and the opportunity to progress forward healthfully. This podcast details how to resolve conflict and practice vulnerability in a partnership. The speaker is “Jayson Gaddis.”

3. Allow some time apart for a specified period of time

When the arguments start to turn heated with emotions high, it’s wise to take a step back and consider putting some space between you. The time apart will allow each person to gather thoughts concerning the surface issue and what is the root of the problem. 

You should designate a set period of time and schedule an appointed date when you’ll come back together to discuss the topic with a more rational thought process. It shouldn’t be too long, but long enough for everyone’s emotions to cool off.

4. Change your scenery with the next round

Generally, unresolved issues in a relationship bring the same arguments consistently but likely, the place you have these disagreements are in the home environment. 

Instead of constantly doing battle in the same atmosphere, take it outside. The intensity is less likely to get heated. You can enjoy a nice walk together, helping to clear the mind, a benefit with exercise and fresh air.

With a greater sense of clarity, there’s more likelihood for productive communication and, at the very least, an acknowledgment that you have a shared goal.

5. Physical touch is a component recommended by experts

Experts recommend holding hands as beneficial when talking through conflicts. When talking through an issue, the physical touch allows each person to feel emotions instead of just hearing the words. 

There’s more of an intimate connection creating an atmosphere of empathy. The compromise that comes deems much more sincere and heartfelt.

6. A sincere apology can be felt

Unresolved conflict in relationships often leads to hurtful arguments where couples make mean-spirited comments that warrant apologies. These aren’t just off-handed “sorry” and move on about your day even if you leave unresolved issues in a relationship. 

That doesn’t have to mean you’re conceding or admitting fault but genuinely have sorrow for hurting your mate with your words. Remember, apologies are something that the other person needs to feel to mean anything.

7. You should be in-tuned to your partner to recognize their reactions

If you know your mate well, you should be able to communicate with your partner so that you’ll understand how they will respond before you present a potential compromise. 

Body language and emotions will typically signify a decision before there’s a verbal response without someone needing to “spell something out succinctly.” 

A mate can often read their partner before they utter a word. If you’re not in-tuned to your partner, you can each face trouble understanding what the other is trying to say.

8. Find a point of peace and serenity

In some instances, people will turn to spirituality. For some, this might involve religion and prayer or taking time to meditate quietly. 

They hope to find a point of peace and serenity within their mind as a couple to carefully consider the issues and come back together for a solution.

9. Breaking up should not be a part of the conversation

Unresolved issues don’t have to lead you down the road to a break-up. That’s something that shouldn’t even come up during the course of any conversation or argument, regardless of the emotion involved. The staunchest stand should be that you will work the problems out.

10. There should be no pointing fingers

Address problems in a relationship without playing the blame-game . While someone could have made a mistake, two people are involved when a partnership is working and going well, and there are always two there when something goes wrong. 

When someone messes up, how might the other person have contributed?

Check out this video to understand how you can stop the blame game in relationships:

11. Outside influences should not be a part of the process

While difficulties in relationships warrant reaching out to support systems and even asking others for advice, it’s essential not to let those opinions or judgments influence how you react or respond to your mate, particularly if it’s not how you might have handled the situation initially.

12. Avoid vices for temporary comfort 

When there is unresolved conflict in relationships, it can be stressful for mates, often leading to finding varied methods for coping. 

Being creatures looking for comfort when stressed, many humans automatically head for the vices with either alcohol, tobacco, or food, and some choose to flirt outside of the partnership.

It would help if you considered how these temporary solutions could render permanent damage not only (in some cases) to your health but to the health of your partnership.

13. Use your words but select them carefully

Words are powerful. When used respectfully and carefully, they can help solve unresolved issues in a relationship. On the other side of that coin, when words are used destructively, they can wound to the point of ending partnerships. 

Once you say something particularly damaging, there’s no going back. While you might be angry and emotional, it’s essential to try to reason.

14. Face-to-face interaction is a must

There should be no exception when dealing with relationship issues; face-to-face interaction is necessary. Any other form of communication lacks respect. 

If you’re concerned about emotion or things becoming heated, set up a time that you can meet each other for dinner or a date in a cafe for coffee. Unless your mate has no fear of public scenes, you should be safe from humiliation.

15. Don’t speak poorly of your mate to friends or family

When you’re fresh from a heated argument with your mate, it’s better to avoid friends and family while you’re emotional. The tendency to vent will be there. 

You want to avoid that since you’ll probably get judgment and opinions that will only add fuel to the fire. Plus, while it’s okay for you to be upset with your partner, it’s not okay for others to say negative things about them.

16. Why do you love your mate

In that same vein, it’s worth it to go off after a heated argument alone to let go of some of the anger in favor of reflecting on why you love your mate and what made you fall in love with them. 

Focusing on the positive can help motivate you to find a solution to the unresolved issues in a relationship.

17. Stop “sweeping unresolved issues in a relationship under the carpet”

As issues arise, work on them right then and there instead of pushing them aside, hoping for a better time so you can prepare. Hunker down beside your mate with as calm and respectful a demeanor as you can muster.

Choose to handle problems as they come forward without ending sessions until there’s a solution. That way, they can’t accumulate into a ball of problems that you ultimately don’t know how to handle; one at a time is much simpler.

18. Agree to disagree

With some conflicts, there are no solutions. One person has a valid and reasonable point, as does the other, with neither choosing to compromise on their stance. 

The only resolve when the desire is to remain together is to agree to disagree and move forward feeling secure in your position but being able to live with theirs also.

19. Are the issues dealbreakers 

There are unresolved issues in a relationship that some mates simply can’t live with; they’re deal breakers meaning the relationship needs to end. A break-up is the solution. It’s important to know your boundaries, and what you will and won’t tolerate. 

But when you do decide it’s best to walk away, you need to recognize that a new partner will not be any more perfect. There is no perfection in relationships. You will always have work to do and problems to strive to find solutions for.

20. Reach out for third-party assistance

There’s no shame in reaching out to a third party to help when you come to a stalemate. 

Sometimes, it takes the guidance of a professional to take you out of blocked mindsets, helping you see a fresh perspective you otherwise wouldn’t have thought of without the assistance. 

In saying that, you could very well benefit from courses and workshops for couples on communicating through challenges. Take advantage of these whether you’re facing difficulties or not. The tools the teachers provide could benefit you at some point in the future.


The problem is when you let the issues in relationships open with no solution, only to continue to return to these problems again – and again. 

Eventually, it can be detrimental to the partnership if not result at the end of your relationship. You can’t thrive, let alone survive when there’s an accumulation of festering conflicts that you continue to add to but with the right approach, the relationship is sure to stay healthy.

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Sylvia Smith loves to share insights on how couples can revitalize their love lives in and out of the bedroom. As a writer at Marriage.com, she is a big believer in living consciously and encourages couples to adopt this principle Read more in their lives too. Sylvia believes that every couple can transform their relationship into a happier, healthier one by taking purposeful and wholehearted action. Read less

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How to Deal With Relationship Issues

Goda Brzozauskaite

  • Jan 21, 2022

couple arguing in the car

Humans are social animals, and relationships are vital for our well-being. However, even if we are born to bond with others, we don’t always know how to manage relationships perfectly. 

Financial arguments, trust problems, intimacy, and even screen time of one of the partners are all the most common relationship issues couples face. Whatever the reason for your relationship problems, they all feel very overwhelming and can deeply affect your couple. 

Luckily, with a little bit of knowledge, patience, and effort from both sides, every couple is capable of sorting things out.

While patience and motivation all depend on you, this article can provide you with a little bit more understanding of how power couples work through difficult times. 

  • Facing the Problem

While it might seem obvious, not talking about the problem honestly and openly can’t create opportunities for resolving it. Many relationship issues circle around repeated topics just because the couple is unready to face them. 

“What if I hurt my partner?” This question stops many from being as open as they would like to. However, the relationship is not about one person taking responsibility for everything. If something touches both of you, talking about it will create an opportunity for your partner to show that they also care about not hurting you. 

Choosing a safe and relaxing environment, such as your favorite spot in the park or cuddling on the couch, may help you open up. Some couples find that touching or hugging each other helps talk about difficult things. 

The conversation doesn’t have to start from the main problem; you can approach it by making sure you love your partner but would like to discuss one thing that is making you uncomfortable. 

However, if the problem is complicated to talk about or often appears in the middle of an argument that seems never to end, reaching for additional support might be an option. 

In-person therapy, or a more comfortable alternative, online therapy, can help the couple share painful experiences. Topics such as infidelity , grief, or relationship problems caused by mental health problems, like depression or ADHD, can all be discussed during therapy. 

On the other hand, if you are ready to face the problem but are afraid of an argument that might follow, learning some new conflict management skills is what you might be looking for. 

  • Learning to Argue Skillfully 

It’s hard to control your emotions in the heat of a conversation. However, arguments often ruin a perfect opportunity to solve the problem. While it might seem that expressing your thoughts will finally help the other see that you are right, or at least that they are wrong blaming you, arguments actually make both sides more categorical. 

Instead of arguing the old way, focusing on the problem throughout the conversation can help you manage the conflict more effectively. Anger often masks other painful emotions such as hurt or fear. Taking time to identify what you are feeling and why will allow you to find a solution instead of calling names and blaming.

Blame is one of the most common elements of every argument. Training yourself to complain without blame can take some time, but it will have a great effect later on. For example, instead of saying: “You never plan things, that’s why this holiday is a tragedy,” you can try to focus on the problem instead: “The lack of structure makes me feel anxious that we are just wasting our time.” 

However, if you feel like you or your partner can’t seem to control yourself during arguments, anger therapy is a great tool to learn how to overcome one’s emotions. Online therapy can offer anonymous support for those who would like to get help but feel ashamed to talk about it.  

The conversation is never a monolog. However, we often react to others’ words without actually perceiving what they are saying. Without genuinely listening to our partner, we lose an opportunity to find what might be lying under the problems we are facing. We might even discourage them from talking out their true thoughts. 

Luckily, listening is a skill that can be mastered. Listening actively means focusing on what a person is saying without doing something in the meantime, such as looking at your phone or even thinking about what to respond. 

Adapting active listening requires some self-awareness, not to mention listening all the time can actually be very boring. But learning how to listen and using it in the important moments is the essence of empathy of deeper intimacy in the relationship.

  • Nurturing Intimacy

It’s all moonlight and roses at the beginning of the relationship. However, as time goes by, holding bare hands during winter may not seem so romantic anymore. 

It’s completely normal. Our minds and bodies pass the stages of a relationship . As the thrill fades, less dopamine is released in the brain, making us prefer everyday comfort over signs of love. 

Despite this, maintaining emotional and physical intimacy is important for a romantic relationship. If you feel close just sitting comfortably at the different sides of the couch watching your favorite show, that’s basically all you need to keep doing. But if one of you is longing for something, there are several simple things to try. 

According to psychologists , holding hands, hugging, and touching each other release feel-good hormones. It reduces stress, improves your mental health, and strengthens your bond.

You can also foster intimacy by nurturing your sex life. Plan your week to include some special time. Or learn what really turns on you and your partner by making a list or trying out an app for that. If you have already tried everything, online therapy might also be a solution as it can offer limited face-to-face contact , complete privacy, or even anonymity that will make it easier to share your problems. 

Nonetheless, deeper intimacy is impossible without sufficient emotional connection. Feeling safe in the relationship and being able to express all the feelings knowing that the partner will value them is an essential part of it. However, some couples might struggle with it as old wounds and unresolved conflicts get in the way. 

If that is the case, therapy for relationship issues can help. It can create a safe environment to share whatever painful feelings partners might have and make sure that the other part will hear them out. 

  • Creating a Loving and Safe Environment 

Intimacy is not the only way to feel good together and decrease the number of relationship issues. Having a bond that increases emotional well-being and creates a home that feels good to return to is what makes space to manage relationship problems without pain. 

But how to create a bond where both partners are ready to listen and prioritize each other instead of solving the issue in their own way? It depends a lot on the couple. For some, it’s making sure that their partner always feels secure or valued. For others, it’s spending time together or going on adventures to overcome challenges together. 

Emotional connection can change with time and react to changes the couple experience. You, for example, can have less time to take care of each other after a baby or when you get a promotion. Talking with your partner from time to time about what you two might be missing to feel best is a great place to start if you haven’t done that yet.

However, for some people, the emotional difficulties lie under their life problems and mental health rather than the relationship itself. If a person doesn’t have a secure attachment style or lives with a person who struggles with mental illness, such as a bipolar spouse, it might be challenging to fulfill everyone's emotional needs.  

Educating yourself how to support each other when a person is going through a difficult period of life and seeking support when necessary can prevent more serious problems in the future.

  • Not Allowing the Problem to the Root   

Like with any kind of challenge, the longer you ignore it, the more complicated it becomes. It might be unpleasant to talk about relationship issues such as rebuilding trust or facing any other painful problem. However, if you bottle up your feelings and problems, they still impact the relationship later on. 

It’s important to take time to listen and validate each other's feelings. If you do that shortly after the argument, you will avoid making each other feel misunderstood or even unvalued. 

Trust issues in a relationship, financial problems, or parenting differences are all deep-rooted problems that may become long-lasting.

If you can't have productive arguments about your issues and both parties end up hurt, it might be time to reconsider the relationship or seek additional help. 

  • Not Expecting the Specific Change

When you approach relationship issues, especially when it’s greatly impacting you, you might expect the partner or the situation to change. After all, you are reading this article because you want changes. However, improvements may not always come fast or in the form of what you expect them to. 

Every person is unique and has different needs, worldviews and expectations. If you feel that the problem should be solved one way, but another person doesn’t see your point, you might not be able to implement these changes effectively.

Even if you rightfully expect improvement, for example, you suffer from narcissistic abuse or have a relationship with a person who has an addiction , getting someone to change for you might be impossible because a person needs to have strong internal motivation to change and improve. 

  • Working on Your Relationship 

We often experience relationships as a necessity, but in reality, it’s hard work in which both partners should be willing to contribute. If you want to learn how to deal with relationship problems, you first need to equip yourself with self-control, reflection, and willingness to compromise. 

However, sometimes even this might not be enough. If you feel stuck with a problem that causes constant arguments, is too painful to handle alone, or is affected by the things you can’t solve fast, such as mental health issues, it might also be beneficial to reconsider the relationship or seek help.

In-person therapy or online counseling for relationship issues can help couples open up about their problems in a safe, non-judgmental space. Relationship therapists have years of experience and know what two people need to do to maintain a lasting and healthy love.

At the end of the day, a bond that helps you sail through life fulfills your personal needs and also challenges you to grow is what healthy relationships are all about.

  • Get Help for Your Relationship Problems

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