All relationships require ongoing work. At some point in time, every relationship is bound to face challenges. Even everyday stressors can place strain on a relationship, while major sources of stress can place the stability of the relationship at risk. As long as each person is willing to address the issues and work toward developing a solution, relationship issues can typically be managed. At the same time, when the issues in a relationship are not addressed, tension will begin to build, placing the relationship in jeopardy.

What Are Relationship Issues?

It’s not uncommon for many couples to struggle with the ability to communicate in an effective manner. In addition, differences in political views, parenting, and expectations can also result in relationship issues.

Severe stressors that can cause relationship issues include the terminal illness of one person, infidelity, and serious mental health issues. Contempt, resentment, and an increasing frequency in arguments can indicate underlying issues in a relationship that have gone unaddressed.

Other common concerns in a relationship may include barriers to communication, financial problems, emotional distance, routine conflict, lack of trust, and sexual intimacy issues. In some cases, the issue of marriage itself can lead to relationship issues. For example, if one person wants to marry or feels pressure from society or one’s family to marry, but the other partner either is not ready to marry or is reluctant to do so, this can place strain on the relationship. For this reason, couples who are thinking about marrying may find it helpful to seek premarital counseling to address such issues.

Chronic stress or conflict in a relationship can contribute to a variety of mental health concerns, including anxiety and depression. Relationship issues can also have an impact on one’s physical health and self-esteem as well as result in feelings of anger, shame, and guilt.

Relationship issues can also affect family members in an adverse manner. For instance, children who continually witness conflict between their parents may be more prone to experiencing a variety of problems of their own.

Relationship issues may also involve physical or emotional abuse. Behaviors that are controlling, fear-inducing, intimidating, demeaning, emotionally or physically abusive are indicative of an abusive relationship.

Relationship Issue Symptoms

When communication in a relationship breaks down and the couple experiences a lack of intimacy, this can be an indication that there is some type of problem present in the relationship. In situations in which both partners feel anxious, stressed, and continually argue, there is typically a deeper problem that is causing such symptoms. Fights can last for days or even weeks, which can result in a situation which the ability of the relationship to last is at risk. Over time, when such symptoms are ignored and the issues are not resolved, significant damage to the relationship can be done.

Relationship issues may affect various aspects of the relationship. Symptoms may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Anger
  • Depression
  • Competitiveness
  • Hostility
  • Doubt
  • Hurt
  • Humiliation
  • Jealousy
  • Isolation
  • Powerlessness
  • Low self-esteem
  • Resentment
  • Shame
  • Sadness
  • Stress
  • Silence
  • Withdrawal
  • Tension

Causes of Relationship Issues

The causes of relationship issues can vary and cover a wide spectrum, including:

  • Affairs-This could include one-night stands, emotional infidelity, online relationships, and long-term and short-term affairs.
  • Abuse
  • Substance abuse
  • Codependency
  • Bereavement
  • Domestic violence
  • Critical parents
  • Emotional abuse
  • Impotency
  • Family problems
  • Infertility
  • Health concerns
  • Moving or relocation
  • Power struggles
  • Pregnancy
  • Personal growth
  • Parenting
  • Step families and blended families
  • Sexual problems-This usually involves a loss of libido (which could be in both males and females), uncertainty about one’s sexuality or a partner’s sexuality.
  • Unresolved issues
  • Work stress
  • Life stages-One partner may have outgrown the other partner or may have changed significantly
  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Significant differences in core beliefs and values
  • Life changing or traumatic events
  • Addictions
  • Lack of responsibility in one partner regarding children, finances, chores around the home, health, etc.
  • Excessive usage of the Internet or social media
  • Lack of support during difficult times

Strain can be placed on a relationship due to stressful situations affecting just one person in the relationship or the couple as a whole. For example, when one person becomes chronically ill, the well-being of both people can be impacted.

Therapy for Relationship Issues

When relationship issues begin to interfere with one\’s ability to function on a daily basis or when one or both partners are unsure about the ability to continue the relationship, therapy may be able to help.

The goals set for therapy may vary from one couple to another. Some couples may simply wish to learn how to communicate with one another better, while others may want to enhance intimacy. In some cases, couples may need the therapist to mediate arguments.

A variety of therapy approaches may be used for relationship issues. In some instances, family therapy can help families whose children may have been impacted by the stress in their parents’ relationship.

An experienced therapist can help couples by supporting the goals they set and helping each person in the relationship learn how to communicate his or her thoughts, needs, and emotions while listening to the other person.

In order for relationship counseling to be effective, it’s important for each person in the relationship to commit fully to counseling. Additionally, each person should be willing to demonstrate honesty and a willingness for accepting personal responsibility.

Relationship issues are among the most common reasons for seeking therapy. An experienced therapist can offer the perspective and space to assist you and your partner in understanding yourself as well as the behavioral patterns that may be contributing to problems in your relationship. During therapy, you can learn how to break free from those patterns and how to communicate with those closest to you.

If you are involved in a relationship and have noticed significant problems in your relationship, it may be time to seek therapy. By working with an experienced therapist, you can learn how to address the root cause of issues in your relationship and learn how to address and resolve those issues.

If you find you relate to the information in this article and would like some help, please contact Rita with Sioux Falls Wellness Counseling at (605) 610-9228.