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Main Couples Problems

There are times in all relationships when things don't run smoothly. Often, this is because people have conflicting expectations, are distracted with other issues, or have difficulty expressing what is on their minds in ways that other people can really hear and understand what is being said. Sometimes they just don't know what to do to make a good relationship. Find out how you can navigate through arguments, spend some time apart and communicate to keep your bond strong. Most of all, learn how to make sure problems don't recur like a bad case of athlete's foot.

1. Emotional Support

Let's begin with emotional support vs. emotional demands. Emotional support for each other is critical. This means giving your partner a feeling of being backed, supported; you're behind him or her no matter what. This does not necessarily mean agreeing with one another all the time. Realistically, no two people will agree on all occasions. What it does mean is treating your partner in a way that says, "I love you and trust you, and I'm with you through anything." Emotional demands can damage the relationship. Insisting that your partner spend all of his or her time with you, insisting that they give up their friends or that you both hang around only your friends, insisting that you give approval of the clothes they wear, making sure that you make all the decisions about how you spend you time together and where you go when you go out, making them feel guilty when they spend time with their families, making sure you win all the arguments, always insisting that your feelings are the most important... each of these is an emotional demand, and has potential for damaging the relationship. Emotional support involves accepting your partner's differences and not insisting that they meet your needs only in the precise way you want them met. An example might be when want your partner to show love for you by spending free time with you, sharing and being open, paying attention to your concerns and needs. Of course these are important activities, but your partner may often show his or her love by doing things, like sharing home responsibilities, bringing you gifts occasionally, discussing the day's events or books and movies you've shared. Find out how your partner chooses to show his or her love for you and don't set criteria which mean that your partner must always behave differently before you're satisfied. Remember, too, that the words "I love you. I like being in a relationship with you. You're important to me." are not demands and need to be said occasionally in any relationship.

2. Time spent together and apart

Time spent apart and time spent together is another common relationship concern. You may enjoy time together with your partner and your partner may want some time together with you, but you also may enjoy time alone, or with other friends. If this gets interpreted as, "my partner doesn't care for me as much as I care need" or "I resent the time my partner spends alone because they don't want to spend it with me and they must not really love me," you may be headed for a disastrous result by jumping to a premature conclusion. Check out with your partner what time alone means and share your feelings about what you need from the relationship in terms of time together. Perhaps you can reach a compromise where you get more time together but leave your partner the freedom to be alone or with others times when it is needed, without your feeling rejected or neglected or thinking of your partner as selfish, inconsiderate, or non-caring. Demanding what you want, regardless of your partner's needs, usually ends up driving your partner away.

3. You fight constantly

When the tiniest disagreement becomes an all-out war, it can put a serious damper on your relationship. Sleeping on the couch is not fun. Try to cut the argument short: is the topic really worth arguing about? If it is, then try to understand the problem from her point of view. Listen actively and attentively. She may be hinting at what frustrates her; don't ignore this information. Similarly, this is a great opportunity to let her in on some of your anger triggers. She'll listen to what you have to say and take it to heart.

4. Money matters

How do you and your partner make decisions about handling money? Are decisions made individually or mutually? How are the priorities set about how money is to be earned? Spent? Who pays the bills? Does each member of the partnership control her or his own money or is it pooled? Is each partner expected to add to the mutual income? If only one is to work, how is it decided who it will be? You might think she's taking advantage of you. Find out. In the long term, questions like these can pose major obstacles in your lives. And more disconcertingly, can cause lingering resentment if you don't get them ironed out early on. If you live together, create a joint account for shared expenses. Otherwise, go Dutch or take turns footing the bill on nights out. Either way, use these tools to restore some financial equilibrium. It's not just about good fiscal planning; it may very well save your relationship.

5. There's no more romance

The spark seems to be gone and neither of you takes the time to be romantic anymore. It's time to put some fire back into your sex life. Organize a romantic evening at home or rent a hotel room. Put some champagne on ice, light a few candles, buy her some lingerie, and turn into Don Juan. Be spontaneous. Another great idea is to plan a weekend getaway to the country or a spa resort, to reconnect.

6. Your Partner's Family

For some people, dealing with their partner's family is difficult. You may wonder how you can have a good relationship with them, or if you want to. Let's assume at the very beginning that most parents are concerned about their children. They do want to stay in contact with their children. They do want to see them, visit them and have continuing contact with them. However, a problem sometimes arises when these parents forget that their children are separate individuals and that they now have separate lives and that they must make their own decisions. Some family members volunteer a lot of uninvited advice or try to tell you and your partner how to run your lives. One way of handling this is to listen respectfully, let them know that you care about what they think and what they would do, but not make any promises to follow their advice. Just simply listen because they have a need to say it. If they attempt to pressure you into agreeing with them, you must be firm in saying, "I respect your views and ideas. Thanks for letting us know how you might deal with it. We'll think about that when we make our decision." You might need to say this a number of times before the family members finally get the message that you're going to make your own decisions even after hearing their advice. It will also be important that you and your partner be in agreement that you will deal with unsolicited advice in this way so you can support one another in the face of what could be some very intense "suggestions.

7. You work too much

She thinks you spend too much time at work. Could she be right? Do long nights at the office or working on weekends sound familiar? If so, rethink your work patterns for the sake of your relationship. Increase your productivity at the office. Clear a few evenings and spend time with her. Make an effort to give her the attention she needs. Try and organize your lunch hours to see each other more during your workweek. If you work close to each other, hop in the car and take her out for lunch.

Your relationship is a two-way street. Keep in mind that if you are making sacrifices for her sake, she needs to do the same. If not, you need to consider whether this is someone you really want to be with.

Remember; relationships require maintenance and compromise. There will always be issues that need to be resolved. But if you use these problem-solving suggestions, you'll have a better chance of getting through the turmoil. Plus, you'll pre-empt the constant nagging that you would have otherwise heard from your girlfriend

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