Like all interpersonal relationships, at some point, couples in a romantic setting also experience relationship challenges. Most of these are common to many couples. A little friction doesn’t necessarily mean that the relationship is doomed. If a couple knows how to resolve conflict in a relationship harmoniously, then they can avoid getting to the point where the small friction becomes a threat to their relationship.
Keep reading as we examine some of the most common relationship hardships…
Common love challenges for couples
This is one of the most common challenges in relationships. Cheating has devastating consequences. The emotional consequences are anger, depression, and humiliation. This has been cited as a major cause of divorce and breakups.
One thing that makes it harder to deal with especially in a monogamous relationship is the violation of trust. Infidelity can be both emotional, physical or a combination of both physical and emotional affairs. It involves a behavior that is not approved by the other spouse. It also involves behavior that the two parties agreed that it was not going to happen.
People used to assume that men were the ones who primarily committed sexual infidelity and women emotional infidelity. Much as that might be generally true these days things have changed.
When it comes to dealing with this particular problem in a relationship, women are more likely to forgive sexual infidelity while for most men, it is a major deal-breaker. Men justify their affairs for sexual reasons (such as lack of sex at home) whereas women justify them by citing emotional dissatisfaction.
Couples who have had to deal with infidelity find it challenging when it comes to resolving it. It is one of the relationship challenges that is hard to get over.
This is one of the common marital problems that couples can’t seem to avoid. This is mainly because people grow up in different environments and around different people. So when they meet, they will definitely have different opinions regarding different things (values, dreams, desires, perceptions) including how to overcome relationship problems and conflict.
There is a wide range of conflict. Some are more serious than others. Most common marital problems and conflicts are caused by neglect of a spouse’s needs, wants, and desires. Now if the other person is unwilling or unable to meet these needs, wants, and desires, this fuels resentment in the other party.
Now if one of the parties doesn’t care or watch what they say, the situation always becomes worse. If the relationship is fresh, this becomes a breeding ground for early relationship problems.
If one person in a relationship feels like there is some inequity or imbalance in the benefits of being in that relationship then things are bound to go wrong.
We all know the negative results of conflict. The main consequences of this relationship challenge are mainly psychological… unless in cases when conflict becomes physical.
There are times that conflict can be constructive. Couples who can overcome conflict or continue to relate to each other even after a wrangle tend to build more trust and confidence in each other. They develop better ways of resolving their problems.
That said though, recurrent conflict usually depicts bigger relationship hardships that a couple needs to consciously address. When this happens a couple should consider seeking professional help or help from a friend who can be neutral and has the best interests of both parties at heart. Such third parties assist couples to be able to identify the root cause of their conflict and help them figure out how to overcome relationship problems.
Lack of intimacy
When people hear the term intimacy, their minds automatically think ‘sexual’. I will have you know that intimacy is a broad term. It touches on the physical, social, mental, spiritual – not forgetting the usual sexual – aspects of our lives. Intimacy is what brings about the togetherness that romantic couples feel. It is the emotional bond and the connectedness that couples feel.
When intimacy expectations are not met or are ignored, this often affects a relationship hence causing love challenges for couples.
Whether we like to admit it or not, sexual intimacy is one of the most important glues in a romantic relationship. Sex is what separates interpersonal relationships from romantic ones. Just like all other relationships problems sexual intimacy problems arise whenever there is an imbalance in their styles and expectations of sex.
When the relationship is young couples usually have intense feelings, passion and sexual desire for one another. But as the relationship exits the ‘honeymoon phase’, external factors like work, kids tend to have a negative effect on a couple’s sexual intimacy. This becomes frustrating to one spouse or both. This frustration breeds problems.
Sexual dysfunction can also be a cause of this problem in a relationship. Such dysfunction disorders include sexual desire disorder, sexual arousal disorder as well as sexual orgasmic disorder. So when figuring out how to overcome relationship problems such as this one related to sexual intimacy, a couple should be able to differentiate between sexual dysfunction and sexual problems. So if sexual problems are the issue, then a therapist might be able to step in and assist the couple to bring back emotional and social intimacy in their relationship.
Communication is key to any healthy relationship. Whenever a couple is experiencing a relationship couple, good communication can really salvage the situation. Couples with a healthy relationship know how to talk to each other openly, raise issues with one another in a healthy manner as well as listening to one another.
When there is poor communication there is no connection between couples. There will be no reassurance. A couple might experience problems in discussing and solving relationship challenges as well as sharing important information and opinions with one another. Early relationship problems usually arise when a message sent is misunderstood or misinterpreted by the other party.
It is common for a couple to experience communication breakdown when they experience problems. The lack of communication can tear a couple apart. Healthy reciprocal communication is what binds a couple together. When it’s healthy, they can talk together and come up with their own solutions to their problems – solutions that work for them.
When a couple develops healthy and productive ways of communicating with one another, they will realize that they are able to resolve their relationship challenges effectively. This is why all couples’ therapists focus on enhancing communication skills between a couple first.
Breakups and divorce
The rates of divorce are increasing at an alarming rate with 50% of marriages in the U.S. ending in divorce. Well, this usually happens when a couple reaches a stalemate when it comes to dealing with their problems. When it becomes too much to bear or one or more of the above challenges aren’t resolved, one or both parties decide to end the relationship.
For many people, breakups and divorce tend to be a very painful experience to deal with. They have emotional, social, psychological, as well as financial implications for the couple. But much as we would all like for love to always prevail, there are those cases where we just have to accept and move on.
Depending on the reasons for dissolving the marriage, this can bring about feelings of depression, anxiety, and other psychological disorders. If a couple has reached a point of no return, it’s important to seek the help of a therapist to assist with the transition.
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