9 Relationship Problems You Can Have Behind Closed Doors & Still Be A Healthy Couple
If you and your partner have a few issues, quirks, or hangups that seem to make your lives difficult, you might assume things aren't going well, or that your relationship isn't healthy. But that isn't necessarily true. As long as your issues don't fall into the toxic or emotionally abusive category, it's possible to experience some problems behind closed doors, and still be a healthy couple.
Of course, if you two are arguing or experiencing a few bumps in the road, it's only natural to worry — especially since many people assume everyone else's relationships are 100 percent drama-free. The reality, though, is that "all couples have problems," Jonathan Bennett, relationship and dating expert at Double Trust Dating, tells Bustle. It's important not to compare yourselves to other couples, jump to conclusions, or assume the worst whenever problems arise.
As long as you and your partner handle them in a healthy way — by being willing to communicate, compromising, and so on — it's possible to maintain a healthy relationship through all sorts of ups and downs. Here are a few problems many couples experience behind closed doors, that can feel like deal breakers, but according to experts, don't actually have to spell disaster for your relationship.
1. Needing Some Alone Time
If you and your partner are arguing about how much time to spend together versus how much time to spend apart, you're definitely not alone. "Almost all couples struggle with keeping a balance between alone time and couple time," Bennett says. "In many cases, one partner might be more independent while the other doesn’t like being alone." And it's common for feelings to get hurt, or to worry that you aren't incompatible.
But even if you've been disagreeing about how to spend your time, it's possible to reach a healthy conclusion simply by being honest and setting up a few boundaries. "As long as both partners are willing to compromise and respect each other’s needs, it doesn’t have to be a deal breaker," Bennett says.
2. Being An Extrovert Vs. Being An Introvert
If you're super introverted and your partner is incredibly extroverted, or vice versa, your mismatching desires may lead you to believe you're an unhealthy couple. But keep in mind that you two don't have to be identical in this area in order to have a great relationship.
"A regular date night is important to have to maintain a strong connection between the two of you," Julia McCurley, a professional matchmaker, tells Bustle. As long as you have that, it's OK for your partner to go out while you stay home, or vice versa, and do your own thing. As long as you both feel comfortable with the set up, this doesn't have to be a problem.
3. Mismatched Sex Drives
If you and your partner are currently experiencing mismatched sex drives, don't panic. "This is one of the most common problems couples have," Teresa Solomita, LCSW-R, NCPsyA, tells Bustle. "A couple is made up of two individuals with differing needs and differing drives. You can love each other very much, have a strong healthy relationship, but have different sexual needs."
It can feel like a dealbreaker, especially since we place so much importance on sex in relationships. But it really doesn't have to be. "The important thing is to be able to negotiate the difference without blaming each other," Solomita says. "Get to know your partner's needs and reasons for wanting/not wanting sex. As a team, figure out a system that works well for both. Leave perfection out of it. Get clear on what each of you can tolerate and remain true to yourself."
4. Feelings Of Jealousy
Feelings of jealousy can be tough to navigate, but it's one problem that crops up for many couples — even if they're relationship is otherwise healthy.
"Everyone will feel jealousy at some point in a relationship," Bennett says. "If you love someone and are committed to that person, jealousy comes with the territory. The key is to trust your partner and communicate your concerns so you don’t let jealousy poison your relationship."
5. Struggling With Family Dynamics
In a perfect world, you'd adore your partner's mother and get along swimmingly with your partner's cousins, grandparents, and friends. But this level of intimacy doesn't exist for all couples, and that's OK.
"When you commit to your partner you are, in a way, committing to that person’s family. And, it can create friction if you don’t get along with your partner’s family," Bennett says. "In addition, arguments can occur around holiday schedules and other issues where your family goals might conflict with your partner’s."
While it can be tough, it doesn't mean you two are in an unhealthy situation. "As long as you can both compromise and be assertive with family, it doesn’t have to destroy the relationship," Bennett says.
6. Disagreements Over Spending Money
Another secret problem many couples struggle with — whether they'd like to admit it or not — are disagreements and issues involving money. "This usually comes down to values, perceptions of money, material possessions, and earnings," Joshua Klapow, PhD, clinical psychologist and host of The Kurre and Klapow Show, tells Bustle.
You might find yourselves arguing over how to divvy up bills, how much to save for the future — and even who will pay for dinner. "The underlying issue here is a combination of values and again communication," Dr. Klapow says, so what you'll need to do is talk with each other. Money can be a dealbreaker for some couples, but it doesn't have to spoil your relationship if you communicate.
7. How To Divide Household Chores
You'd be hard-pressed to find a couple who hasn't argued over chores, or how to divide up housework in a fair way. It's a common disagreement to have, but definitely not one that means you're heading towards a breakup — as long as you both remain respectful.
"Often, couples ... are frustrated and may have problems related to the division of labor and responsibilities for the household," licensed clinical psychologist David A. Songco, PsyD, CGP tells Bustle. "The reason why this is not a dealbreaker is because in the end, they are working towards a common goal."
In other words, you may argue over who's going to do the dishes, but as long as you reach a compromise and find a way to make things fair, your relationship is going to be a-OK.
8. Relationship Roles
Going off of that, many couples struggle with roles within a relationship, and "this is one that the public is rarely privy to," Dr. Klapow says. "Who does what in the relationship and why can be a source of arguments. Things tend to be OK until one partner has a change of mind and then it is again a matter of communication."
This tends to be more important for couples who are parenting. It's common to argue, for example, over who will be the caregiver, how you'll contribute money, etc. But again, as long as you talk about it, it doesn't have to tear you apart.
9. Feeling Less Connected
Life can get busy, stressful, and overwhelming — and you may be experiencing a lack of connection right now, as a result. During these times, you might even worry that you're falling out of love, Dr. Klapow says. But it's important to remember that relationships don't have to be a 24/7 love fest. Even the happiest looking couples have to strive to keep that spark alive behind closed doors.
And that's important to keep in mind. "Not all couples share every problem publicly," Dr. Klapow says. "So no matter what you see on the outside, know that at some point in time the couple has struggled, is struggling, or will be struggling."
If that's the case for you and your partner right now, do what all successful couples do and keep communicating. If you're able to navigate these issues together, and have each other's backs, you can still be a healthy couple.