Couple therapists say how to avoid common relationship problems

Relationships are as unique as the people in them. There is no one size fits all, and it’s all about getting to know each other and finding a dynamic. However, everyone can agree there are some obvious steps to take to have a successful relationship, such as listening to each other. Communication can vary from relationship to relationship, but the principle is still the same. So while your relationship certainly has its own spin on it, here are some considerations to take when being in a relationship.

Don’t get complacent

Easier said than done, right? Many people don’t realize how familiar they get in their relationship. While this is not a bad thing, it shouldn’t be at the expense of going out of your way to impress your partner. Many couples get themselves into a routine, which can be become mundane and make it difficult to connect. The key is to make connections in that routine – find fun things to do together like sending a cute riddle in the morning if you stay apart or having morning karaoke if you cohabit. Take turns to surprise each other once a week (or once a month if you’re planning something extravagant). You’ll be amazed how much a person can still surprise you.

Understand your partner’s love language

Love languages are a well established and accepted concept in relationship psychology. There are 5 classical love languages: words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service, quality time, and physical touch. It’s not difficult to find out yours or your partner’s primary love language – there are simple tests online, or paper-based ones you can get from any couples therapist if you’re worried about validity.

Love languages tell you how you perceive love and how you are then likely to express it. Now there’s no right and wrong love language, but if you and your partner are speaking past each other with your individual love languages, the message is not delivered and they may feel underappreciated. It takes a bit of time to practice expressing your partner’s love language, but it’s really worth it!

Don’t be scared to talk about finances

Early in the relationship, it may be awkward to discuss the finances, and it’s okay to postpone that discussion, but not indefinitely. At some point, the discussion needs to be started and continued on a regular basis. In fact, many, if not the majority of fights by couples are about finances. Experts say that even if you are fighting about menial things that are unrelated to finances, it may be because of underlying tension that isn’t spoken about. It’s not hard to believe that silent issues are a danger to the relationship. So simply start the discussion and build from there. Like exercising a muscle – it gets easier with time and practice.

Don’t lose your own interests or forget your friends

It’s important to spend time together, but it’s also important to still have your own interests and see your friends on your own. The philosophy is that it is difficult to evaluate a situation objectively when you are always at the center of it. Taking some time to recenter and foster other relationships gives you the right energy and perspective to strengthen your romantic relationship. Remember that although you are a part of each other in a relationship, you need to be a complete and holistic individual to build successful relationships.

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