9 Relationship Problems Basically All Couples Experience, According To Experts
It pretty much goes without saying that no one really *wants* to fight with their partner, but the reality is that arguing from time to time in a relationship is inevitable. Even if you love your partner and are content overall in your relationship, there are some common relationship problems that all couples face. However, not only is it OK for you and your partner to fight, it's actually essential for your growth as a couple — as long as you're arguing in a productive way, that is. But what exactly does it mean to have a productive fight in a relationship?
"A productive argument is one where each of you sticks to the topic, don’t lose your tempers or raise your voices, can actually listen to each other’s perspective, don’t engage in name calling, don’t 'agree' when you don’t mean it, and don’t storm off or shut down," Lesli Doares, couples consultant and coach, tells Bustle. "An unproductive argument is when any of those things don’t occur. It doesn’t have anything to do with whether the issue under discussion is resolved, but how you each conduct yourself."
The bottom line? So long as you're able to communicate in a mature, effective way, any issues that arise during the course of your relationship will be no biggie. Of course, there's no way to predict exactly what issues might pop up — but if you want a general idea, here are nine relationship problems that are universal to pretty much all couples that you can be on the lookout for in your own relationship.
1. Going Through A Dry Spell
There are so many reasons a dry spell can happen — mismatched libidos, health problems, general stress, a lack of free time — that it's almost inevitable for a long-term couple not to go through at least one. But it's not the end of the world, and it's also totally possible to get out of a sex rut.
"All couples struggle to keep their sex lives interesting and passionate," Jonathan Bennett, dating and relationships expert at Double Trust Dating, tells Bustle. "If you’re going through a dry spell, as long as it’s not a trend, realize that you’re normal!"
2. Feeling Bored In The Relationship
When you're dating the same person for a long period of time, of course things might start to feel a little stale eventually. If you feel bored in your relationship, work together to find ways you can add some fun, spontaneity, and excitement back into the day-to-day.
"Part of being in a long term relationship means that you spend more time with your partner and you become comfortable with him or her," Bennett says. "This also means that some of the original excitement and newness will fade. But, the key is to find joy in the everyday things of life."
3. Dealing With Feelings Of Jealousy
Some people are certainly more jealous in relationships than others, but we're all human and have the capacity to feel insecure — and, as a result, almost every couple will experience bouts of jealousy from time to time.
"It’s natural to get jealous when you’re in a relationship," Bennett says. "All couples go through it to a degree. The key to overcome it is to communicate and build trust so that you can rationally work through what can ultimately be irrational feelings."
4. Not Fully Listening To One Another
"The most common relationship problem I've seen is one person responding to what someone else has just said without first checking to see if they understood what the other person was saying, or was trying to say," psychotherapist and author Jeffrey Von Glahn, PhD tells Bustle. "There's nothing quite like another person expressing a sincere interest in making sure that [they] have understood the meaning or sense of what you were trying to express, rather than that person answering on the spot and you feeling that he or she hasn't listened to a word I said."
5. Fighting About Chores
It might not be fun, but doing chores and errands is essential to making a household run smoothly — after all, someone has to take out the garbage. Particularly if you live with a partner whose definition of 'clean' is different than yours, fighting about the division of chores in your relationship is super normal.
"[A] common argument is accusing the other person of not helping out enough, which often stems from feeling unappreciated for the ways you contribute," Brianna Rader, relationship and sex educator and founder of the Juicebox Sex & Relationship App, tells Bustle. "The need to feel appreciated like a valued member of the tribe or family is incredibly important... Getting out of the habit of keeping score and thanking your partner periodically for taking out the trash or running an errands goes a long way in a relationship."
6. Experiencing Doubts In The Relationship
One of the things no one tells you about long-term relationships? Even if you're happy, it's normal to have doubts about your partner occasionally — as long as you're able to communicate about them, that is.
"Many couples find themselves thinking at some point or another, ‘are we really right for each other?’" Caleb Backe, health and wellness expert at Maple Holistics, tells Bustle. "Doubts in a relationship are normal. It’s human nature to question things in life. If you’re happy in a relationship, try not to dwell on the doubts. Instead, focus on the positive aspects of your relationship that make you feel that you are right for each other."
7. Getting Too Busy & Spending Less Time Together
When you're in a serious relationship, it's typical to make each other a top priority. But everyone has their own individual commitments, too — and sometimes life gets in the way, and we spend less time with our partners than we once did.
"This can be frustrating and cause resentment in a relationship, even though it’s nobody’s fault," Backe says. "Sometimes it’s worthwhile for couples to cut back on work or other commitments to devote more time to their relationship."
8. Disagreeing About Money
"This one is universal because we all need to manage money — spend it, save it — and much of this is based on our history and values," Laura MacLeod, licensed master social worker, tells Bustle. "In addition, NEED versus WANT is always a factor… Budgets, amount to be saved/spent (collectively or individually) — all of this factors into what can often become problematic."
9. Fighting About Your Extended Families
Even if you and your partner both fit in with each other's families, that doesn't mean some family-related tension won't arise at some point or another.
"History and values are the keys to why this can be a problem," MacLeod says. "Holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Which home do you go to for which events? Are families too close — physically or otherwise (calling, emailing, texting) for comfort? Do you get along with in-laws and vice versa? All this can cause a rift or at least a question, discussion, and/or argument."
Even in the healthiest and happiest relationships, issues and problems will, from time to time, come to the surface and shake things up. As long as you're arguing in a healthy way, it's OK to have disagreements in a relationship — because if you communicate well, your relationship will be much more likely to weather any storms that blow in.