The five most common relationship issues for couples
Knowing when to listen, act and seek professional guidance is the key to helping couples over these five common relationship issues.
Lack of Communication
A healthy relationship is based on communication and being open with one another. Relationships Australia Victoria senior clinician Jayne Ferguson says communication issues are one of the most common reasons clients seek counselling.
“If you can’t communicate with your partner, then you’ll find other ways of hurting that person because you’re frustrated and you’re not talking,” Jayne says.
She recommends couples with communication issues allocate specific time to discuss their expectations and concerns.
“It should be done in a non‑defensive, respectful way,” Jayne says. “If this is not possible, external support, like counselling for strategies, should be sought.”
Differing Family Goals
Knowing where you and your partner stand regarding children is an important conversation to have early on in the relationship.
“There is no middle ground with children,” Jayne says. “People have to work really hard at a relationship to make that work if they have different opinions about children.”
The key is to listen to the other person’s desires and needs, and speak honestly about your expectations; otherwise resentment can arise later in the relationship.
Disagreements about spending are a common issue couples face.
If contrasting approaches to finances are becoming a deal breaker, it’s worth seeking out experts.
“Go and see experts, like a financial planner, and talk about your budget,” Jayne says.
“It doesn’t matter how in love you are with someone, there are some very pragmatic elements of a relationship you need to deal with.”
In a relationship, each individual has ideals and expectations shaped by their own family experiences.
Some may have extremely close relationships with family members, while others may find too much contact with in-laws is overbearing.
“If you have interfering family members and don’t prioritise your own relationship, then you will have issues,” Jayne says.
“You have to create your own ideas and values about what your family life looks like together as a couple.”
Jayne recommends setting boundaries regarding extended family if the relationships are causing trouble.
“These can always be revised as times goes on and circumstances change.”
While most people consider that a cheating partner is a deal breaker, the reality is it’s a common issue couples choose to work through.
“The demographic we see are quite often here to work through a betrayal and the infidelity,” Jayne says. “An affair can be a symptom of issues in a relationship.”
For the relationship to mend, trust needs to be rebuilt.
“It’s a slow and gradual process and people need to feel safe, considered and heard,” Jayne says, adding that couples counselling may be required as “it’s an effective way to work through feelings”.
Want to make a good relationship better? Discover the 10 questions to ask yourself about your relationship.
Written by Erin Miller