Relationship Problems: Do I Stay or Do I Go?
Everyone struggles in relationships — whether it's in romantic relationships, friendships, or even relationships with your family members. Relationship issues are a normal thing.
Sharing your life with another person isn’t easy. Like all things in life, it takes practice.
But, some relationship problems are bigger than others. We all have to take a look at the healthy and unhealthy patterns in our relationships and understand if we want these experiences in our life.
Sometimes relationship problems can be addressed and worked through — while other times the safest and healthiest thing to do is exit the relationship.
In this piece, we’re going to talk about common relationship problems and signs of truly unhealthy relationships to help you potentially identify these experiences in your own life.
Common Relationship Problems
No matter how healthy the relationship may be, hardships are bound to come up and cause issues now and then.
Some of the most common relationship problems include:
- Financial – Everyone has a unique way in which they are brought up, which influences how they think about money. When it comes to finances, couples often disagree on how the importance of money is viewed, have different spending habits, or have different financial resources.
- Intimacy - Partners have different wants and needs when it comes to being their sex life. These discussions are always important to have to ensure both parties are comfortable with the level of intimacy in a relationship, and they should work to make sure there is always ongoing consent, enthusiasm, and specified agreement as to what goes on in an intimate setting in a relationship.
- Time - Time management within a relationship can cause strain when there is not mutual understanding of one another’s needs. Making time for a partner is extremely important, but neither party should neglect the other’s desire to balance time between the relationship and other factors such as friends, family, and alone time.
- Trust - Feelings of insecurity and jealousy can creep their way into a relationship and lead to several problems extremely fast. Sometimes these feelings come from past experiences or low self-esteem, but that doesn’t make them less important in your current relationship.
While these are common relationship problems, they are all things you can overcome by communicating with the other person. If you are in a healthy relationship where these common problems are occurring but not all the time, there is definitely hope that your relationship and compatibility can improve.
However, some forms of relationship problems are a deal-breaker.
Signs of an unhealthy (or even abusive) relationship
When it comes to unhealthy relationship habits, they may seem like they would be easy to pinpoint, but they’re often more hidden and unexpected. These warning signs of bigger relationship problems are not to be ignored.
Here are the top signs of an unhealthy relationship:
- Possessiveness - They often try to control how you live your life. It could be controlling your appearance, what you wear, or who you hang out with.
- Manipulation - They will withhold information, gaslight you, use passive aggressive behavior, or other forms of emotional abuse to get their way.
- Isolation - They will cut you off from your friends, coworkers, and family.
- Belittle You - They will try to cut you down with snide remarks and comments that are designed to subtly (and not-so-subtly) hurt you.
- Betrayal - They will often break your trust in big and small ways throughout the relationship.
If you’re experiencing these signs in your relationship, you might be experiencing emotional abuse. You can take our emotional abuse quiz to identify additional signs and understand your relationship further.
More blatant signs of an unhealthy and abusive relationship are:
- Financial Abuse - It occurs in 99% of abusive relationships and can take the form of not paying for things fairly, making you miss work, and/or stealing money.
- Physical Violence - If someone ever shoves, slaps, kicks, spits, or otherwise physically injures you, this is abuse and you should focus on safely escaping the relationship
- Sexual Abuse - Sexual abuse can take many forms including unwanted touching, demeaning sex, stealthing, making you watch porn, and more.
If you’re in the early stages of a relationship and already seeing relationship problems, our best relationship advice is to take our early red flags quiz and talk to those you trust.
When to fix problems in a relationship
While some relationships are not worth staying in, there are many that are worth the work and effort to make them last.
There are many signs that a relationship could just be hitting a rough patch and are not to be discarded. Some of those signs include feeling fulfilled, feeling proud to introduce them to and have them around your friends/family, knowing you can tell them anything without judgement, and feeling that when an issue is brought up it is not disregarded but addressed.
If you’re having relationship problems, but it is still a healthy relationship, think about communicating with your partner about your feelings or even bringing in an outside expert like a relationship coach or counselor to help have these hard conversations with your romantic partner.
Trust issues can be a big relationship problem, especially if someone has broken the trust of the other person. Take time to work through your feelings and understand if this is a one off event or something that happens all the time.
4 ways to help fix relationship problems
Once you’ve thought about if you want to try and fix the relationship problem, it’s about acting on those feelings.
Some helpful ways to help mend a hurt relationship include:
- Schedule date nights - Couples especially can get caught in a rut if they aren’t spending joyous, happy time together remembering what makes you like each other. Spending time with the other person makes them feel a deeper emotional connection.
- Focus on your mental health - Not everything is our partner’s fault when it comes down to relationship problems (that are in an overall healthy relationship). We all have our own baggage so be sure to process through your own pain too.
- Understand your communication styles - Each person communicates differently. Maybe there are relationship problems because both parties aren’t communicating in the best way for the other person to receive it. Poor communication is one of the main reasons relationships fall apart.
- Rebuild trust - If something occurred in the relationship that broke the other person’s trust, you can’t expect them to get over it immediately. A lack of trust takes good communication over and over again to ensure your partner feels supported.
When not to fix relationship problems
Relationships are difficult to leave, especially when they are so integrated into your life.
However, sometimes they are beyond the point of repair, can be abusive, or just aren’t worth the hassle.
There are some key things to look out for when evaluating a relationship, some of which include whether or not major needs are being met, there is no more for either party to give to the relationship, there is consistent and unwavering distrust/jealousy, the relationship is no longer receiving support from important outside parties, and/or there is a lingering feeling of obligation or being stuck.
The decision to stay or leave is ultimately up to you.
If you are experiencing more than just common relationship problems, there is help out there.