In the best of intimate relationships, there are those subtle and not so subtle waves of difficulties. Some disagreements make sense; his words against hers, her values in the face of his values, old traditions vs. new ideas and so on. However, over a few years living with a partner, attempting and working on intimacy, you could see a few patterns emerging. Those patterns might be complicated for you to detect when you are a part of the ‘drama’.

For me, after thirty years of marriage-therapy and relationship-coaching, I find them simple to detect. Solving relationships’ problems take commitment, education and good will. From here the solutions are pretty much straightforward.

Some of these patterns are signs of troubled relationships. Here is the list of the seven most damaging intimate relationships’ troubles and their solutions:

  1. Inability to be emotionally open; the uniqueness and secret of intimate relationships in comparison to other social, workplace and family relationships is in staying emotionally open. By exercising daily confiding with each other, couples learn to become emotionally open towards each other.
  2. Lack of physical closeness and sings of affection may starve the relationship. It is not easy to undo the pain, shame and hurts of the past. Learn to be affectionate. Do it for the sake of this relationship.
  3. Not paying attention while listening: you might be listening to each other, even giving the right cues as in ‘active listening’. But do you get the meaning of each other’s message without the attempt to ‘solve’ the problem? Don’t solve each others’ problems. Share the gift of listening. Being heard is a treasure!
  4. Difficulty articulating what you feel; many adults don’t know to express what they feel. Instead, you communicate what you think. Learning about emotions and their logic is valuable to every intimate relationship. Taking a risk to expose your accurate feelings in your relationship is a wise investment. As the relationship grows and thrives, that risk of exposure becomes safe.
  5. Anger, fear, shame and other pains block the passages to feel tenderness, joy and love. Those painful emotions are not bad; they are information that should be shared so that your love will surface again.
  6. Power struggles on sex, money, children, free time, relatives or friends are all signs of other issues surfacing in the relationships. Learn to decode these symptoms and see the meaning beneath the issues.
  7. Contempt and its expressions are the ‘deadliest sin’ of all troubled relationships. This will take a bit longer to solve; I suggest treating this symptom deeper as in a ‘root canal’. Find the roots of those feelings of contempt or they’ll destroy your intimate relationship. It is challenging to get your intimate relationship out of trouble. The effort is worth it; as your intimate relationship is the most important investment of your time energy and endeavor.

How would you like to improve, strengthen or even save, in some cases, your intimate relationship? Please contact Counseling Services of Parker if you’re in the Colorado region and would like to talk.