It’s one of the main topics of love advice: relationship problems. In fact, with all the tips and hints out there, you’d think solving problems in a relationship requires scientific formula you need a PhD to understand.
The reality is, though, when you catch problems early and use plenty of patience and fairness, there are only a few steps you need to take to get things straightened out.
Identify the cause
Sometimes the cause of trouble in a relationship is obvious. It might be problems with money, the kids, or a certain habit one of you has that really irks the other. A lot of the time, though, there’s just a niggling sense that something isn’t right. Maybe there’s less romance, less physical affection, and a feeling of growing apart. In cases like this, you’ll need to look a little deeper to figure out what the root of your problem really is. Knowing this will make it a lot easier to use love advice: relationship problems don’t all have the same cause.
Pick your battles
Give some serious thought to whether the problem is really worth bringing up. You may decide the fact that your partner routinely leaves wet towels on the floor or even occasionally pays a bill a day or two late isn’t something you want to rock the boat over. On the other hand, if something your partner does leaves you feeling hurt or rejected or is causing serious financial or social problems, it’s a good idea to bring the issue up. That way you won’t give resentment a chance to grow.
Time it right
If you’ve decided you really do need to talk about an issue, pick a good time (or at least not a really bad time). Just remember, when one of you is stressed out or tired is not a good time to start a discussion about a serious problem.
Don’t ambush your partner, either. Pouncing on them with a heavy issue just gives the conversation a confrontational edge from the outset. Instead of the old “We need to talk,” try something less confrontational like “Honey, do you have a couple minutes to talk about something?”
Winning is not be the goal here. The goal is improving—or in some cases, saving—the relationship. If one of you is impatient, harshly critical, insulting you both lose.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you need to talk to your partner like they’re a three-year-old. Just talk to them with the same level of respect you would
Although it may sound like “softy” love advice, relationship problems don’t generally improve when one partner is aggressive.
Accept your share of the blame
Over all, it’s better to focus on solving the problem rather than riding the “Who started it” merry-go-round. That said, you still need to accept that something about your own behavior may need to change, too. Listen to your partner’s side of the story with an open mind and be willing to negotiate fairly. Of course, you still need to keep your personal boundaries as far as not accepting physical or emotional abuse.
Although the steps above should help you work out most common problems, keep reading up on how to resolve conflict in your relationship so you’ll know how to handle any serious issues that may come along. When it comes to love advice, relationship problems are one of the hottest topics, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding some good tips.