People we know and love are very important to our lives. Relationships with people we care about most, whether they are romantic or just friends, can bring us joy, meaning, and ties like nothing else.
Relationships can be hard, though, in part because we care so much about them.
Having some disagreements in a friendship or love relationship is normal. In fact, disagreements can be a good way to connect and grow by learning how to talk to each other clearly and trust each other. Relationship problems that happen all the time can also be signs of mental illnesses like depression or worry. Relationship problems can sometimes get so bad that they turn into physical or mental abuse. When relationship problems get bad or happen a lot, they can get in the way of good behavior and daily life.
How common are problems in relationships? How common are they?
Since relationship problems are so different and unique, it’s hard to say how common they really are. But new study shows that relationship problems in general are pretty common, especially in romantic relationships.
A recent study in the UK found that only 57% of people polled were mostly or fully happy with their romantic partners. Also, 13% of people polled said they didn’t have any close friends.
A lot of people in the US also experience intimate partner violence, which can include both physical and mental abuse.
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence says that every year, over 10 million people in the US are abused by a partner.
Women are more likely than men to be abused by a partner; one in four women and one in nine men have experienced serious abuse.
What are the signs of a problem in a relationship? How can you tell if your relationships aren’t right?
Problems in relationships are unique to each person, and so are the emotional and mental reactions that people have to them. In any case, here are some of the most common signs:
Anxiety or worry: You might be worried about your relationship a lot of the time and find it hard to concentrate on other things.
- Feeling sad or depressed: Having problems in a relationship can make you feel sad, lost, or worn out.
- General stress: You might have trouble sleeping or feel physically sick with headaches, stomachaches, and tense muscles.
- Problems with other loved ones: If your relationship with one person is making you unhappy, you may also have problems with other friends, family, or loved ones. This could be because they are worried about your stressful relationship.
When you feel threatened or nervous in a close relationship, it can make you question your worth and identity.
How do you deal with different kinds of relationship problems?
There are a lot of different kinds of relationship problems, but here are some of the most common ones. Most of these things could happen in both serious and casual relationships:
You might not trust your partner and wonder if they are telling you the truth about your relationship or other things in your life.
- Things that have to do with focus and attention: You and your partner may fight over attention and goals, like how you spend your time, what’s on your mind, and most importantly, how the other person fits into all of that.
- Problems in the home: People often have problems with sharing room and doing their chores.
- Problems with communication: you don’t feel heard, you’re not sure if the other person gets it, and it’s hard to say what you mean. All of these are types of communication problems, which happen a lot in relationships.
- Money problems: According to some studies, fights over money are the main cause of stress in close relationships.
- Concerns about big changes in life: Whether you’re moving, getting a new job, having a baby, or going through any other big life change, it could put stress on your relationships.
- Sexual and intimacy problems: Having different sex drives and having questions about attraction and sexual happiness are a few of the things that can go wrong in a relationship.
- Violence, abuse, and gaslighting: A relationship is abusive if any problem between the two people turns into physical or mental violence or threats from one or both of them. Abuse is generally a lot more dangerous and stressful than the other problems we’ve talked about here.
What should you do if your relationships aren’t going well?
It can take a long time and a lot of work to build meaningful relationships with friends or a love partner. Most relationships begin with things that both people enjoy and have in common. Life changes, new interests, and unrealistic expectations on the part of one or both partners can cause communication issues or other types of conflict in a relationship after the honeymoon period is over. Some healthy ways for couples to stay on the same page and avoid fights when life throws them a shock are to share life experiences and talk to each other honestly.
You can try a number of different things to get through tough times and fix relationship issues if you’re going through any kind of stress, conflict, or danger in a relationship. It takes work to talk about problems and come up with answers that work for both you and your friend or partner. Here are some of them:
Therapist: Look for a therapist who can help you talk about and work through your relationship problems. You could work with a therapist by yourself, or you and your partner could decide to go to therapy together. (Read more about how to choose a therapist below.) This can help you figure out if your marriage or other relationship problems are caused by deep-seated disagreements or if, with good communication, you can get back to your core values and start over with a happy, healthy relationship.
Hotlines and other safety tools:
Practices like meditation or being aware. Making time for quiet thought can help you see your current problems and past relationships in a new light and help you deal with them in a calm way.
Writing in a journal. Writing down your thoughts and feelings about the problems in your relationship might help you see things more clearly or find out what the real problems are and how they affect your life.
Talk to your friends and family. It can help to lean on the other important people in your life when one relationship is hard. They may be able to help you figure out why your relationship is making you unhappy. They can also help you focus on the other people you love and depend on, which will take pressure off of that relationship.
How do you get in touch with a doctor for relationship problems?
There are different ways that therapists deal with relationship problems. Some common types of treatment are:
- Counseling for Couples: A good counselor for couples should be able to help the relationship move forward by giving them a safe place to talk about issues they may not want to face.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT is based on the idea that our feelings are connected to our thoughts, beliefs, and actions. This means that we can change our feelings by looking at and changing the way we think and act.
- Mindfulness Practices: The goal of mindfulness practices is to help you learn to look at yourself and the world around you without judging them.
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT): In this type of therapy, you learn to accept bad feelings, thoughts, or events without seeing them as problems. The goal should be to figure out what your own values are and how you can act in ways that you believe in, even if it means not changing the bad things that have happened to you.
When people with mental health problems go through interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT), the main goal is to help them improve their social skills and personal relationships. Therapists in IPT work with their patients to help them understand how they interact with others and find better ways to talk to them.
Not used to therapy? Find out how to get in touch with a doctor here.