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Relationship issues - How to understand and manage them

The reality is, that all relationships experience strains of varying degrees at some point and conflict can occur in even the most stable and loving relationships. This article aims to look at the importance of relationships, the strain caused by relationship issues, the cycle of blame, some of common causes for relationship issues and lastly, it aims to look at some quick tips on improving your relationship and how to regain control over your relationship issues.

The importance of relationships

The relationships we create, sustain and nurture, whether they are romantic or platonic, are an incredibly meaningful part of our lives that bring us joy, happiness and fulfilment at a profoundly deep level. These strong connections we form with others allow us to feel valued, appreciated and loved. Relationships make us feel healthier, happier and more productive, and can be a source of advice, support and guidance. However, these fulfilling relationships do not occur without a great deal of energy, work and commitment.

There can be many reasons for a relationship altering, breaking down or ending. We may find ourselves feeling as though our relationship is no longer satisfying us or feeling that the person we are in a relationship with no longer meets our expectations, or that we have outgrown the relationship and require something different. The nature of these closely formed bonds means that when a meaningful connection breaks down, we can be left feeling lonely, vulnerable and disappointed with ourselves or our partner, or both.

The strain caused by relationship issues

Relationships can be delicate, fragile and easily damaged by a wide variety of occurrences, such as a careless comment said during an argument, the birth of a child, financial difficulties, or something mundane such as not picking up laundry off the floor. These experiences can put strain onto our relationships at any point, and it can seem at the time as if our relationship cannot handle another strain, and the cracks can begin to show. The closeness we feel to our loved ones can be a double sided blade, and even though we love and care for them deeply, these fights and arguments can at points leave us feeling exposed, hurt and questioning the validity of our relationship.

The blame game

The game of blaming the other person for the reason behind the argument happening in the first place is a common experience within relationships. This can become a cycle which is difficult to escape, with one person saying one thing, and the other saying something else, each refusing to budge from their position. It can be all too easy for both people to sulk and become angry, and the real issue can often be forgotten or lost within the argument. These interactions are common, but when they occur too often, it can over time poison and damage the relationship.

Common causes for relationship issues


Betraying a partner or close friend can have a huge impact upon the dynamic of the relationship, and destroy any sense of trust which was previously there. Whether this betrayal is an affair or keeping secrets of financial difficulties or an addiction to drugs, alcohol or pornography. In some cases these betrayals can lead to the breakdown of a relationship but some people seek resolution and want to work through the difficulties they are facing.

Family issues

The relationships we have with our family members become an integral part of our lives and when there is conflict within these relationships, it can have a powerful impact upon our relationship with our partner. It could be that our partner does not get along with a member of our family, or are angry at their actions, which can cause a painful and damaging rift in a relationship. When feelings about family members go unsaid or are not discussed, over time we can become angry, hurt and disappointed at our partner, and our relationship can begin to suffer and become strained.

Poor communication

Poor communication is one of the most common reasons for relationships to experience strains and difficulties. Whether it is because one person finds it difficult to admit their feelings, speak about their anger or access their emotions, it can have a devastating impact. When these feelings and thoughts finally come out, it can seem as though it is too late to make a difference.

Quick tips to improve your relationship


  • Take the time to share things that you appreciate about your partner.
  • Remind your partner what you find special about them.
  • Write these things down if it is easier.

Mysteries and secrets

  • Clear up either big or small mysteries and secrets quickly.
  • Don’t let these things fester or play on your mind.
  • Communicate about what is worrying you before assuming the worse.


  • Ask for what you want rather than what you don’t.
  • Be specific about your request, and avoid being vague.
  • Remain calm and communicate your desires without accusations.

Regaining control over relationship issues

The key to regaining control over relationship issues which are causing difficulties, is to act on an issue before it becomes bigger than it needs to be. This may seem easier said than done, and in the heat of the moment, it can be incredibly hard to see and think clearly. However, being able to talk about how you feel and discuss how your partner’s behaviour or actions have made you feel can be crucial. Taking time to speak to one another with decency, love and without accusation can make all the difference between small disagreements from becoming an on-going issues in your relationship.

Being empathic to your partner and finding a way to compromise on issues, and finding an alternative view, and understanding their side enables a calmer discussion of the issues at hand. Ultimately, calming down and possibly taking time out enables you to see the bigger picture, and regain control over your relationship issues.

Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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London E5 & EC2A

Written by Joshua Miles BA, MSc

London E5 & EC2A

Joshua is an experienced Bereavement Counsellor Therapist with particular expertise working with sudden or abrupt loss. He has helped many people work through the pain of their loss. Joshua also has experience of working with a wide range of issues such as loneliness, isolation, depression, relationship difficulties and anxiety.

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