Who can have relationship issues?
Besides having relationship issues with a partner, people can also have relationship issues with family members, co-workers, friends, church members, bosses, neighbors, etc. People with issues in their relationship might look for individual therapy or marriage counseling and want to talk to a couple’s therapist. Pre-nuptial couples also look for pre-marital counseling.
Signs and symptoms of relationship issues
Here are some of the issues seen in difficult relationships:
- Unable to communicate their thoughts and feelings
- Lack of trust
- Issues with intimacy and sex
- Lack of respect
- Lack of support
- Financial issues
- Family conflicts
- In-laws issues
- Blended family issues
- Parenting differences
- Issues with children and adult children
- Not building a healthy/positive future
- Staying in the past
- Having affairs/cheating
- Keeping secrets (affairs, alcoholism, financial issues, drug use, past, etc.)
- Anger, violence, arguments
Causes of relationship issues
It does not matter if you have relationship difficulties with family members, co-workers, or loved ones. Relationship difficulties derive from childhood issues, family modeling, personality traits, and attachment. The way you have formed yourself as a person might conflict with the way the other person is.
During the early years, infants learn to seek refuge in their mother’s arms when stressed. Parents encourage their toddlers to be self-resilient, that it is OK to get hurt and not have your boo-boo kissed to get better. Middle schoolers learn to make and survive from a friendship break. High schoolers learn to love and survive from a broken heart. All of that to prepare this individual to live human life: with ups and downs. To understand that when you are down, you may find a way (by yourself or with the help of others) to get out of the situation. Parents also should provide a model of what a relationship is and how to recover from disagreements healthily.
Unfortunately, not everyone has those experiences to help “surviving” adulthood. It is sometimes hard to deal with bosses or co-workers who are not professional or do not put their weight on the work. Sometimes, your family members are too needy or too distant; or you are trying to develop a meaningful relationship (friend or love).
You may have grown to be too dependent on yourself or too shy/timid, anxious. Your self-esteem may have been shattered, or confidence levels may be too low, you may not have goals for yourself or pride. You may be too cold (or too warm) or present as immature, silly, with excessive attention-seeking or self-destructive behaviors.
How we treat people with relationship issues
We often use an integrative approach to treat people with relationship issues. We use techniques from Gottman Therapy, EFT1 Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), psychotherapy, Mindfulness, ACT, EFT2, and other types of therapy we have been trained on and may be helpful to the treatment. Also, we spend a significant amount of time on psycho-sexual education to help individuals and couples understand themselves and others.
Staying optimistic about the relationship requires people to find ways to integrate their perceptions of their problems and disappointments with the overall view of the relationship and the world around them.
There is not a “quick/easy” way to treat people with relationship issues. It took many formative years for you to be who you are. It will take some years to change behaviors, thoughts, and feelings. If this keeps you living a fulfilling life, you may need to invest in yourself and commit to long-term treatment.
Typical outcomes of relationship issues treatment
After completing treatment, patients can expect to move to a healthier level of relationship. At times, it will be necessary to create a new type of relationship. Couples who have completed treatment report higher levels of commitment, trust, and intimacy, which helps strengthens their love.
FAQ about relationship treatment
Yes. However, if the issue is within the relationship and not with the individual, it is highly recommended that the couple attends sessions together. The first step for a better a relationship is having both parties invested in getting into a better/ new type of relationship.
Since there are many different types and levels of issues among people, it is expected that the duration of treatment depends on the level of their conflicts. For optimal results, it is expected to complete treatment in the first couple of years of treatment.
At the beginning of treatment, couples will attend sessions weekly (even twice-a-week sometimes), until all the negative symptoms have been resolved. When we move to build the "positive bank" in your relationship, the sessions might be attended every other week then.
It depends. Each person has their own set of beliefs that come from their family, their formation, and their temperament. Some people may be able to forgive and move on, while others may keep the resentment for a long time. Either way, it is necessary to find out why the partner left the relationship (emotionally and temporarily), why they both want to continue in this relationship, and if they are committed to trying making this work.
Temporarily. At times, individuals keep secrets (affairs, alcoholism, financial issues, drug use, past, etc.) from their partners, but it has been found that secrets are damaging for maintaining a healthy relationship. I might keep a secret for a couple of weeks, with the understanding that the secret will be out soon. I will help the partner keeping the secret to come up with statements and learn how to communicate the difficult talk. People tend to keep secrets when they are afraid of rejection or reaction from their partners. Being in therapy provides a safe environment and tools to help bring about the secrets to partners.
Consult with a psychologist to get help with your relationship issues right away. Dr. Rosana Marzullo-Dove uses many techniques to treat individuals and couples. She uses integrative psychotherapy to help with relational issues, and any other issue risen during treatment.