Dealing with Relationship Problems | 6 Tips To Improve Your Relationship

reading time: 4 min

Tips To Improve Your Relationship

Relationship or marital problems come in all shapes and sizes, and chances are we've all experienced them. It starts with little things like feeling unseen or being sexually unsatisfied, and can even lead up to mistrust, infidelity, breakups or divorce.

Perhaps I'm not an expert in this field: I'm in my mid-twenties, I have been in no more than three committed relationships (the third being my current one), and as a teenager I always had a problem with committing to a serious relationship. But nevertheless I have had my fair share of challenges in terms of relationships, so here is what I have learned so far.

1. Communicate.

Yes, we've all heard this before, and it's truly the start-all and end-all of every relationship, whether romantic or platonic. If you have a problem with your partner, TALK about it. Are you feeling lonely or neglected? TELL them. Isolating yourself and wallowing in your emotions will only make it worse. 
You can't expect your partner to read your mind or even recognize the emotions that are bothering you at the moment – even though it may seem so obvious to you. Do not repress your emotions. Even if it's hard, break down the walls that you both may have built up, and talk about your feelings.

2. Come to peace with yourself.

This is, in my opinion, the most important advice to take away from this blog post, and it may just be the hardest part. If you are facing problems with your partner, the solution is most likely to be found within yourself. If you feel unloved, chances are that YOU are the one who doesn't show love for yourself or who feels insecure about yourself. Don't expect your partner to be the one to make you feel self-confident and loved – you will have to do this yourself in order to feel good in your skin before you can love or accept love from others.

3. Don't be afraid of arguments and differences.

Most people I know consider a "successful" and long-lasting relationship to be peaceful and conflict-free, but as my mum taught me years ago, challenges like fights and emotional conflicts are actually chances to grow – as an individual and as a couple. While arguing, make sure to treat your partner with respect never insult your partner in the heat of the moment that may leave permanent scars in your relationship. Instead, stop the argument and take some time (apart) to cool off before continuing your conversation in a more reasonable way.

4. Increase the level of intimacy.

This is especially important for long-term relationships that have passed the 3-year mark. When the butterflies in your tummy have settled and time goes on, eventually your passion will be replaced by intimacy over time. While this is absolutely normal, it doesn't mean that you and your partner should neglect your sexual energy. The loss of sex drive is a very common problem in relationships, and while you might think it best to change things up to make it more adventurous and exciting, usually the opposite is advised: trust and intimacy. You can increase sexual intimacy by opening up to conversation about each of your wants and needs, by giving each other a loving massage (without any expectation or pressure to get intimate afterwards) or by sleeping naked to keep in contact physically.

5. Don't play the victim / victimizer game.

I think this is more common for women to do. All too often we find ourselves manipulating – intentional or unintentional – our partner, for example by "punishing" his "ignorance" or "lack of attention" with rejection or sulkiness. With this passive aggressive behaviour, you will only drive away your partner. Like I explained in Nr. 2), it's all about YOU. Don't blame the other person for something that bothers YOU. It is your choice whether you react and how you react. So instead of putting yourself in the victim or victimizer – role, step back and try to express your emotions instead of acting on them. Also, apologize when you're wrong or when you said something nasty. Be honest with yourself and your partner.

6. Know your flaws.

If you have been in a relationship with your partner for several years, you may find yourself trapped in the same argument or dilemma over and over. To break this circle, you need to become aware of both your flaws. First of all, you need to accept that you cannot change your partner. The only one who can change him or her, is him/herself. Secondly, recognize your own patterns of behaviour. Only when you know your weaknesses, you can identify them during arguments or tense situations and work towards breaking the bondage of your old patterns.

I hope for you to feel loved, safe and secure in your relationship! 
Remember: We will always face challenges and tension in our relationship, but it's up to us how we deal with them! 

What are your tips for a healthy and long-lasting relationship? 
(Mom, any more motherly wisdom you can share? ;-))