Relationship problems: top five causes
Every relationship has its rocky patches. How you tackle issues before they become real problems is key in not letting your love fail.
To help you keep an eye out, here’s a special edition of the top five series on causes of relationship conflicts.
Poor communication is the number one relationship killer. Communication isn’t just fighting, or fighting in the right way. Communication is something that happens constantly, both through what you say, the way you talk, and through your body language. It also means to keep talking even when you don’t feel like it. Don’t keep things bottled up until things get out of hand.
When you are having an important conversation with your partner, switch off your phones and the TV. You can’t talk to someone while keeping one eye on your favourite soap.
If you can’t seem to talk about issues without yelling at each other, go to discuss your problems in a public place, where you are far less likely to yell at each other.
Don’t interrupt and be a good listener. Listen to what your partner has to say, and think about it before reacting. If you give it a thought you might realise that your partner is right.
And, very important: apologise when you realise you have done something wrong. Saying ‘I’m sorry’ will make a world of a difference for your partner.
When you are in a serious relationship with someone, you need to trust your partner, and your partner should trust you.
Trust isn’t something you gain overnight. It takes time to develop trust and there are some things you can do to make your partner trust you. For example, you should always do what you say you will do: if you promise to call at a certain time, call. Be on time, and let your partner know what your plans are, and who you are with.
Don’t lie. Not even little white lies. Honesty is the key to having somebody trust you.
So is respect. Respect your partner’s opinions and don’t be hurtful when you are having an argument.
These and many other things play a role when it comes to trusting someone. You should also keep in mind that once you loose trust, it’s very difficult to gain in back.
Loving each other, unfortunately, doesn’t automatically mean that your sex life will be great. Maybe one of you doesn’t want to have sex until you are married. Or you can’t agree on a contraception method. Or one partner wants to have more sex than the other. Your partner wants to make love in ways that you don’t feel comfortable with. Or you like to masturbate or watch pornography, which upsets your partner.
Whatever the reason, sex can be a cause for huge relationship issues and even break-ups.
Talk to your partner about it. You need to try solutions that work for both of you. Talking about sex is often difficult, and can be hurtful if one partner thinks their sexual skills are being criticised, or they are made to feel inadequate. So be very gentle but clear when you are talking about what bothers you, and come up with some suggestions that might make things more acceptable for both of you.
Almost everyone becomes a green-eyed monster at some point. And a bit of jealousy is quite normal. There may be some insecurity when it comes to your partner’s feeling towards you or other people.
It starts to get tough when your jealousy starts interfering with your relationship and you don’t trust your partner anymore.
Your partner’s ex is one of the most common causes of jealousy. Other reasons may be that you are afraid that your partner may leave you, or that you know that he or she cheated in the past. And trust issues can also be a cause.
If you are jealous, talk to your partner. Explain your feelings and see if you can come up with ways to help you be less jealous. For example, when one of you goes out with friends, agree to call each other or texting every few hours, and especially if you are running late.
And sometimes, you need to accept that the jealousy is something you have to deal with and that your partner can only help you to a certain extent. If you have been hurt in the past, you need to learn to trust your partner and not let your negative experiences get in the way.
Last but not least: money. Quarrelling about money is awkward for many of us, but it still happens all the time. When you are married or in a serious relationship, you should at some point sit down with your partner and discuss each other’s finances and the way you spend money. If one of you is a saver and the other is a spender, you will run into an argument sooner than later. Talk about your savings, your debts and your goals, both for the short term and for the long term. If your partner wants you two to save for a house while you want to travel with your hard-earned cash, you will clash.
As with all other relationship issues, good communication is the key. Be open and clear and give your partner room to do the same thing.
How about you? Do these causes for relationship problems sound familiar? Or can you think of another one? Leave a comment or join our Facebook discussion on Love Matters Africa and Love Matters Naija.