Relationship Difficulties

Intimate relationships are vital to our psychological and emotional wellbeing and they can be one of the most fulfilling life experiences. However, maintaining supportive and meaningful intimate relationships can be challenging, require effort, and do not come automatically. Difficulties in intimate relationships may occur for various reasons such as main life transitions (e.g., moving in together, change of employment, birth of a child, loss of loved ones), financial struggles, affairs and infidelity or sexual issues. At times, the difficulties may be such that they could lead to a relationship breakdown, resulting in feelings of loneliness, disappointment, unhappiness and life dissatisfaction.

Although all couples might experience conflict from time to time, conflict can help improve communication. But constant friction can cause a vicious cycle of negativity and a sense of being stuck and trigger destructive and unhelpful behaviours such as:

  • Avoiding taking responsibility for your emotions and actions and blaming your partner instead
  • Passive-aggressive behaviour
  • Constantly criticising and belittling your partner
  • Being contemptuous and resentful as a result of avoiding addressing issues in the relationship
  • Actively ignoring your partner by being silent, thereby avoiding resolving your problems

Some common signs and symptoms that you may be struggling in your relationship are the following: 

  • A sense of not being good for each other
  • Constant criticism, judgment and blame
  • Feeling anxious or uneasy around your partner
  • Feeling lonely and isolated
  • Feeling unloved and unworthy
  • Mistrusting your partner
  • Not feeling that your partner understands you
  • Physical, verbal and psychological abuse
  • Showing avoidance or clinging behaviour
  • Trying to control your partner or feeling controlled by your partner