Relationship Problems: Do I Stay or Do I Go?

December 6, 2021

Everyone struggles in relationships — whether it's in romantic relationships, friendships, or even relationships with your family members.

Because 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: 

  1. 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.
  2. Intimacy - Partners have different wants and needs when it comes to being intimate. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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. 

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. 

Here are the top signs of unhealthy relationships: 

  1. 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. 
  2. Manipulation - They will withhold information, gaslight you, use passive aggressive behavior, or other forms of emotional abuse to get their way. 
  3. Isolation - They will cut you off from your friends, coworkers, and family.
  4. 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.
  5. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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
  3. Sexual Abuse - Sexual abuse can take many forms including unwanted touching, demeaning sex, stealthing, making you watch porn, and more. 

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, thing about communicating with your partner about your feelings or even bringing in an outside expert to help have these hard conversations. 

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. 

Consider calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline or the Victims of Crime Hotline.

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