Problems in Relationships

Problems in Relationships

"Personal unhappiness is the greatest contributor to relationship problems."

"You don't love me like I love you"

Problems can creep in when we start to have thoughts of "do I love him more than he loves me?" We start examining all the things we do for our lover. All the ways we express our love and how much time and energy we're putting into the relationship. Then we try to figure out if our lover is giving an equal amount back. If we perceive a discrepancy in that balance sheet, we start to back away from the relationship. We don't want to love more than they love. We become fearful that if we love them more than they love us, we might be played for a foo

Useful Questions:

  • Focus on how you feel when YOU are loving. Does loving someone feel good regardless if it's returned? Is your loving someone conditional on them loving you back? If so, why?
  • Do you feel loved when your partner isn't around? If not, why not? Do you accept yourself, appreciate your qualities?
  • Are you doing things for your lover that you really don't want to do, but feel you need to, to keep their love? Are you doing things for them, expecting something in return? What are you expecting? And have you told them what that is?
  • Have you talked to your partner about what things cause you to feel loved? (Don't get caught up in "if they loved me, they'd know", cause they don't.)

"We don't have anything in common anymore."

You love each other and that's why you got together in the first place, but you don't really seem to have much in common anymore. You're into philosophy and art. They're into sports. You like books and going for walks, and she always wants to go sailing. But you tell yourself that marriage is a sacrifice. A give and take. You've been told you should put aside your own interests to make the relationship work. You have to compromise, right? But when you give up what you love for the sake of the relationship, you end up resenting the person and conclude you don't have anything in common.

If you had these differences when you fell in love, chances are it's not about having nothing in common, but not having the connection and intimacy you once had.

Useful Questions:

  • Has the amount of one-on-one time changed since you first met?
  • Do you still share everything with your partner like you use to?
  • What would happen if you did what you wanted, and they did what they wanted?
  • How much time do you have to spend with your lover to feel you have a successful relationship? How did you arrive at that amount? What would it mean if you had separate interests?
  • Do you see yourself and your partner as two separate people who choose to be together or do you feel some type of obligation?
  • Do you believe "Love means to sacrifice."? If so, why?

"We can't talk about that."

Every time you approach certain subjects, it turns into an argument. In the back of your mind, you decide to avoid that topic in the future because you don't want to fight. You don't want the conflict. You believe fighting means the relationship is on rocky ground or is threatening to the relationship. You want to stay together, but believe if you fight, you might separate. So you become afraid to talk about one or two subjects. Over time, that list of "don't touch that one" becomes more and more numerous. And as the list of avoided topics grows, it starts to feel like you can't talk with each other anymore. You feel distant and detached. You start wondering how much longer you can live like this. The silence grows.

Useful Questions:

  • Examine your beliefs about love and arguing. Are you afraid of being hurt in relationships? Does disagreeing with someone always mean hurt feelings? If so, why? How could you do it differently?
  • Do you limit yourself in some way when with your lover? Why? What might happen if you let them see and hear all of you?
  • Is honesty in your love relationship ever a "wrong" move?
    Why do you believe that?
  • Talk to your partner about your concerns while keeping the focus on your feelings and not their behavior. (Helpful hint: Be watchful of terms like "you always, you never, you make me feel." Try this instead: "When you [the behavior], I find myself felling [your feelings]...")
  • Learn to be more accepting of your partner by becoming more accepting of yourself.

Problems in Relationships

"It would be easier to start over with someone else."

Some time has passed in the relationship and you've both built up lies. Some big ones but mostly small ones. They're not blatant lies, but mostly unspoken thoughts and feelings. The intentions behind the lies were to protect yourself and your partner from pain. But now, your problems seem overwhelming and you can't talk openly and honestly about them because you've already established a certain pattern of communication. It seems it would be considerably easier to just start fresh with a new partner. One where you could be yourself without fear.

Useful Questions:

  • Is honesty in your love relationship ever a "wrong" move?
    Why do you believe that? (Read more about how honesty affects relationships)
  • Get clear on what you've lied about to your partner. What would happen if you shared what you learned? What is the worst that would happen? Are you capable of handling that? Why or why not?.
  • Figure out what you're afraid would happen if you were honest with them about those issues.
  • Talk to your partner about your concerns of being TOTALLY honest. Keep the focus on YOUR feelings and not their behavior.
  • Muster up the courage to tell them what you've lied about. Repeat to yourself, "No matter what happens, I will be okay."

"If you loved me you would....."

Unspoken and unacknowledged expectations take a large toll in relationships. In having expectations, you're expecting your partner to be a certain way in order to believe they love and care about you. If you don't get what you expect, you conclude all kinds of negative things about the relationship that may not be true.

Useful Questions:

  • Do your expectations have to be fulfilled for you to be happy? If so, why?
  • Do you expect your partner to conform to your wants? What does it mean when they don't?
  • Do you have preset rules in your love relationships? If so, what are they and why?
  • Do you find yourself often saying "he should" or "she should"?
  • Do you have any "If you loved me you would...[fill in the blank]'s"? If so, what are they?
  • Can you think of a time you didn't do what someone wanted you to do? Did you love them, even though you didn't do what they wanted? Could it be the same with your partner?
  • Do you use another's words and actions as "evidence or proof" that they love you?. If your partner does that thing or activity you want, then do they love you? If they don't, is that a sign they don't love you or care? If yes, why?
  • Understand everyone has different wants, desires, and beliefs about what it means to be loving.
  • Be Honest
  • Examine what expectations you DO have, then openly discuss them with your partner. Find out what theirs are.

APA Reference
Staff, H. (2008, November 21). Problems in Relationships, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 21 from

Last Updated: June 7, 2019

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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