10 Most Common Difficulties that Relationships Face
Everyone knows that no relationship is perfect. But statistics such as the increase in the number of divorces in Australia in 2015, or the fact that most divorce applicants were joint applicants, make it easier to worry. Luckily, there are ways to keep a relationship strong through the years.
Marriage – or any long-term relationship – requires work, commitment, and constant re-evaluation of the self and of the partnership. One of the best ways to maintain and improve a relationship is to know what the most common relationship difficulties are. One must be aware enough to work through them if ever they arise.
10 difficulties that could ruin a relationship
Here are the 10 of the most common difficulties that relationships face:
1. Idealising the relationship too much
When people enter long-term romantic relationships, they sometimes expect an easy, calm ride with their soulmate. You want your partner to be everything you ever needed.
But the truth is that even the person who fits you the best is not perfect.
There will be aspects of their personality that will simply not go along with yours. You might also be exposed to habits that you never would have even considered to be a problem before, like failing to clean the dishes or clogging up the sink.
Difficulties arise when either of you refuse to let go of the idealised version of reality. If you keep insisting on the soulmate dream (by trying to change your partner’s habits, for example), then you will only end up feeling frustrated. Many of these habits and personality quirks were established before you two even met. Often, the only solution is to adjust and to find other common grounds.
2. Poor communication
Many difficulties blow up into big and seemingly unresolvable problems because of poor communication. Even people who set aside time and dedication to talk to each other encounter difficulties.
Poor communication happens when the conversation consists only of self-centred talking. Couples need to take a break from constant criticism, complaint, and even emotional blackmail.
The assertiveness in conversations should come with sensitivity for each other’s feelings, as well as sensitivity to body language and nonverbal cues. It’s about the attitude entering the conversation. Couples should be prepared to listen and not just talk.
3. Overuse of technology
At the start of a relationship, using technology is an easy and meaningful way to communicate. Texting, video-calling, and other forms of technological communication are all great ways to learn more about each other even from a distance. But as the relationship deepens, technology sometimes interferes with the relationship.
For example, couples and families may start texting while eating dinner. Sitting beside each other and yet not focusing on each other. This fools you into thinking that there is meaningful bonding happening.
Being aware of how technology takes up your attention is one way to reduce the negative impact on emotional intimacy. Talk to your partner or your family to find a way to make technology work for your relationship, instead of against it.
4. Lack of time management
Through the years, incredibly close and intimate couples face relationship decline because of a lack of effective time management. Work and personal development sometimes overshadow the relationship after the honeymoon phase.
It’s important to take the time to think about the last time you went out on a date, or the last time you did a fun activity together. Becoming strangers in a marriage is both sad and completely avoidable. Plan out your weeks around quality relationship time. Another option is to subscribe to counselling and mediation as a couple.
5. Shifting priorities
The evolving stages of a marriage often lead to couples having shifting priorities. At the start of a long-term relationship, the priority of each party is often the building of the relationship itself. However, as time goes by, priorities shift and can become points of neglect or difficulty.
A common shift in priorities happens as children enter the picture. Often, one or both parents begin nurturing their relationship with the child at the expense of their relationship as a couple. This can lead to a lack of intimacy and a feeling of platonic cohabitation.
Taking active steps to maintain the evolving relationship is important. This can be done by showing interest in what your partner is doing, or by scheduling more times together as a couple.
6. Troubles in intimacy
Sexual intimacy is one of the issues couples try to avoid talking about. However, it is also one of the most significant contributors in relationship difficulties. There are many reasons why a couple can have problems when it comes to sexual intimacy. These include a lack of opportunity and time (especially for couples with children), or a lack of interest. As you grow older, sex drives and habits also naturally change.
Sexual self-awareness, as well as the openness to talk and to be educated on this issue, is key to resolving troubles in sexual intimacy.
7. Emotional and Physical Infidelity
For majority of us, attraction to others is inevitable. It’s how you handle attraction to others that matters. Many couples in long-term relationships are surprised to find that monogamy is a harder challenge than they thought. But shifting priorities, time constraints, and other habits make it possible for couples to seek intimacy outside of the relationship.
To overcome or avoid such difficulties, it’s important to always be frank about emotional expectations with each other. Though it requires more vulnerability and trust, an honest discussion can make a big difference.
8. Balancing money
For some people, practical matters can get in the way of the relationship. Financial stress, such as the failure to pay the share of the bills, can cause individual depression and withdrawal. But for others, smart planning and good communication in finances can even help enrich the relationship further by giving both parties room to grow.
Making money work for your relationship requires starting out as a team. It’s important to discuss spending habits, and to reconcile different lifestyles. In order to commit to the relationship, you also have to commit on how bills get paid and on how to plan for savings together.
9. Lack of Appreciation
Relationships are built on love and mutual respect. Losing touch of one another and feeling underappreciated are all stepping stones to bigger conflicts.
Couples should find the time to show appreciation in the love language of their partner. As the relationship progresses, it might feel like there’s a challenge to be new and creative, but even simple things like leaving a love note can matter a lot.
10. Unwillingness to resolve conflicts
Finally, one of the major difficulties faced by people in relationships is the unwillingness to resolve conflicts. When both parties in a relationship are stubborn or have a tendency to hold a grudge, it is unlikely conflicts will end with a peaceful apology.
The unwillingness to forgive leads to a cycle of feeling anger, hurt, and resignation. This ranges from petty fights and annoyances, like repetitive uncleanliness, to bigger problems like infidelity or debt. This toxic routine will only drive the relationship apart.
Contact Dr John Toussaint for timely counselling
In these instances, honesty and compromise are the key. If you truly feel that the problem can’t be resolved in a civil manner, then there’s no shame in seeking outside help. A professional relationship counsellor or mediator can help you negotiate your relationship into a more prosperous and productive one for the both of you.