What are relationship difficulties?

Arguments and disagreements are a typical way of dealing with differences in ideas, opinions and viewpoints in intimate relationships. Chronic interpersonal conflict and stress, on the other hand, is a significant problem that has been linked to poor mental and physical health. It can impact other aspects of life as well, such as relationships with extended family, friends, and work colleagues. When children are exposed to high amounts of conflict at home, they are more likely to develop anxiety, depression, behavioural issues and poor health.

Types of relationship difficulties

  • Communication problems
  • Sex and intimacy problems
  • Money issues
  • Struggles over home tasks
  • Not prioritising a relationship
  • Conflict
  • Trust issues

How are relationship difficulties treated?

Many people assume that relationship therapy should only be sought when a separation or divorce is imminent. However, this is frequently too little, too late. Relationship therapy should begin as soon as the issues become too much to bear. Premarital counselling or therapy is a type of relationship therapy that aids in the preparation of couples for a long-term relationship. This sort of therapy focuses on assisting couples in developing a strong and healthy emotional connection with the basis of certain principles before marriage and identifying any potential problems that could lead to future concerns. Couples therapy is a type of psychotherapy in which a therapist with clinical experience working with couples uses a variety of therapeutic interventions to assist two people in a romantic relationship in gaining insight into their relationship, resolving conflict, and improving relationship satisfaction. Although couples therapy may differ based on the theoretical perspective of the therapist, all couples therapy tends to include the following general elements:

  • Concentrating on a single issue (i.e., sexual difficulties, Internet addiction, jealousy)
  • The therapist's active participation in treating the relationship as a whole, rather than each member separately.
  • Early on in treatment, solution-focused, change-oriented therapies are beneficial.
  • Treatment goals are well defined.
1When do relationship issues typically begin?
According to various experts on relationships, there are five stages to a relationship, namely, the merge (attraction), doubt and denial (reality sets in), disillusionment (disappointment), the decision (stability) and wholehearted love (commitment). Another model proposes four stages of a relationship that couples will move in and out of, namely, forming, norming, storming and mourning. It’s important to note that the stages of a relationship are not linear but cyclical in nature. Thus, during the second stage of a relationship, according to the five-stage model, doubt and denial, relational problems can arise. Couples begin to recognise the differences between themselves as individuals and their partners. With a jolt, couples awaken from an infatuation trance, only to discover that their partner's idiosyncrasies or personality traits that once seemed so incredible have begun to irritate them. According to the second model mentioned above, problems can arise during the storming phase. The storming phase can represent minor and major disagreements. The storming phase can last anywhere from one day to a few months to many years. There are two ways most couples deal with this phase, they either break up, or they survive. Because the storming phase involves a power struggle of sorts, professional help is often necessary in order to survive this stage as a couple.
2What are the signs of relationship issues?
Signs of relationship issues include:
  • Inflexibility or a persistent refusal to compromise on social activities, duties, relocation and having children.
  • Selfishness or self-involvement with one's own feelings and wants, without regard for or support one's partner's feelings and needs.
  • Parental meddling
  • Ignoring your partner's objections in favour of a friend or relative.
  • Criticism, undermining, blaming, caustic, rude, or manipulative comments regularly. This is a form of verbal abuse.
  • Withholding communication, affection, or sex in order to punish. This is frequently a symptom of masked rage.
  • Unresolved conflicts or difficulties.
  • Getting enraged or belittling/devaluing in private or public.
3When do you seek help with relationship issues?
As soon as the problems experienced within a relationship feel overwhelming, cause distress and starts to affect other areas of functioning such as work, it is important to seek professional guidance. Psychotherapy can assist you in developing ways to improve the relationship.