Expert advice to help you resolve your relationship problems

Category: Better Relationships | Author and Publisher: Elly Prior | First published: 22-09-2010 | Modified: 02-05-2018

Relationship communication can be really tricky! To effectively deal with a relationship problem, any advice really does need to include help with communication - even though there are likely to be other aspects of the relationship needing attention.

You may feel hurt, and struggle to understand that after frequent explanations your partner still doesn't 'get it'! You may have repeated the same thing over and over again, and now it only causes arguments.

Even when you seem to be getting through, you can often feel disappointed again later when you discover that nothing's really changed. I so hope I can help you with your relationship issues.

25 Common relationship problems...

For links to full articles with advice on 25 of the most common relationship problems, CLICK HERE.

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What could be underlying your relationship problem?

You're viewing the world, other people, and yourself through a 'template'.

Your own personal template is shaped by your age, gender, culture, health, previous experiences and so on. It determines the meaning you attach to whatever's going on around you and your understanding of the words and phrases other people use.

You're likely to want to surround yourself with people who think in a similar way to you. They unconsciously confirm that your way of seeing things is the right way.  The books you read, the TV programmes you watch and the music you listen to all confirm that too. You're constantly filtering out information that doesn't fit with how you see yourself, without even knowing.

Why doesn't your partner understand?

Don't forget that a word is only a symbol for what's going round in somebody's head. Your 'translation' of that symbol may not come anywhere near what the other person really meant.

For this reason, it's no wonder you and/or your partner misunderstand each other so often! And unfortunately that means you end up with a relationship problem. Advice from a professional counsellor can make all the difference, as he or she can explain and 'translate' for you both.

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Ask your partner to think of an object (a chair, a tree, a house, a flower or any other object) paying attention to colours, fragrance, texture and sounds.  

Do the same yourself.

Describe in turn what you saw. How did the images, smells, sounds and textures differ? What were the similarities?

What can you learn from this about your Relationship Communication and your relationship problems?

Advice on this page won't be enough to sort the problems completely, so do consider getting my Complete Guide to Saving Your Relationship. It contains a whole bundle of expert tools, advice and strategies to help you start turning things around right away.

Knight in shining armour living in a castle?

No longer the princess and the knight in shining armour?

When you first met your partner you were really relating to a fantasy - you 'edited out' information about him or her with your own personal template.

You didn't reveal all of yourself either... in some sense you presented yourself as 'the princess' or 'the knight'.

Relationship problems creep in when you both think you're talking about the same things when in reality you aren't. Each of you is prone to missing masses of information - so you may as well be speaking in different languages!

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head.
If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart."

Nelson Mandela

Your conversations are based on assumptions you've unwittingly made. You assume what your partner means, as per your own understanding of the world around you. You're confusing the 'map' with the 'territory'.

You'll reach the point when you can no longer ignore the hidden stuff in your partner, or continue to hide what you choose not to reveal. Slowly you each become aware of what and who you're really dealing with. Only then can you begin to accept, reject, challenge and/or negotiate. (Do try not to complain though - it's way too unproductive!)

In a 'good enough' relationship the observing of, learning about and communicating about what's "inside your head" is a continuous process. You're fine-tuning your template by trial and error, and creating something more realistic and mature.


Each write down the first five words that come to mind when you think about the words: love, closeness, intimacy, fairness, happiness

Did you both write down the same words?

If you wrote down different words, your internal representations of the initial word are different. No wonder you misunderstand each other. It's not a problem that can't be overcome - it happens to us all. You just need to be aware of it.

The most important thing is to always check that you really understand what your partner means.  Words like 'love' and 'happiness' don't mean anything until you attach a meaning to them. They lack detail: who does what, exactly where and when.

Respectfully accept that you are both different!

You're unlikely to ever feel, think, communicate and love in the same way, because you're genetically, biologically and psychologically different.

Feeling hurt, angry, shocked or simply disappointed?

Here is the best advice for your relationship problems I can give you...

Check, and check again - with yourself and your partner - what assumptions you may have made. Have you jumped to conclusions without having the full story? You may have got it right first time, but you could be oh so wrong!

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