The top 5 relationship problems & how to overcome them

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Health Assured team

10 February 2022

As Valentine’s Day quickly approaches, we’re increasingly exposed to external narratives about love in shops, conversations with friends and on social media. But does this affect the way we behave with our partners? This was the question on our minds at Health Assured.

So we took a look at the past four years of relationship call data and made an unexpected discovery.

Calls regarding relationships decline during public/school holidays. 

A pattern emerged that shows relationship calls drop significantly in February, August and December. This pattern reoccurred in 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021. 

Now—why is this? Could it be that these celebrations bring couples closer? Or do we generally value our relationships more at these sentimental times of year? 

One thing we know for sure is that relationships are a year-round commitment. They take time, energy and effort from both parties.

After looking at the numbers, we asked our counsellors about the most common relationships problems they deal with. So we can stay aware of these challenges and learn to navigate them with a little more ease. Because despite the problems, relationships have the potential to bring happiness, joy and connection to our lives. That's why we took to our exceptional counsellors to get an insight into the most common relationship problems they come across on the helpline. We picked out the top five and asked them for their top tips on overcoming these issues. Unsurprisingly, our counsellors came up with some insightful answers—we’re excited to share them below.

Communication issues

Communication. Without it, relationships would be somewhat difficult. It’s essential for connection, intimacy, and support. Yet it can be an area of difficulty for many. Our counsellors find that some of the most common problems here are:

• Lack of clear communication
• Difficulty with conflict resolution
• No active listening
• Passive aggression
• Defensiveness/blame

Overcoming communication issues

For many couples, talking more can help to improve feelings of closeness and understanding. Our counsellors encourage people to:

• Practise active listening with your partner (rather than listening to respond)
• Consider your own needs and feelings as well as your partners. Think about what goal you’d like to achieve from your discussions and how you can work together as a unit.

Cheating and affairs

Cheating and affairs pose big challenges in relationships. It's a painful experience, and it's often difficult to understand why the affair happened. Our counsellors find that some of the most common problems here are:

• Trust issues
• Questioning/negative thoughts
• Self-blame/ self-esteem issues
• Loss
• Emotional affairs

Overcoming cheating and affairs

Cheating and affairs can cause a lot of problems. The road to repair takes time and effort from both parties. Our counsellors encourage people to:

• Allow space and time to process your emotions
• Try writing a therapeutic letter to your partner to explore your emotions, feelings, needs and demands towards the person. You don’t actually need to send this letter. However, the process may help you gain some perspective and change your narrative around what’s happened.

• Begin to identify what you’d like to happen moving forwards e.g. reconciliation or separation. Think about what you might need to do this e.g. couples counselling or legal support.


Relationships ending

The loss of a relationship, just like any other loss, can be a painful process to go through. It can trigger grief, sadness, and even physical symptoms. Our counsellors find that some of the most common problems here are:

• Breakdown of relationship/divorce:
• Struggling to move on
• Grief process involved
• Questioning/ negative thoughts/ uncertainty
• Questioning self-worth and self–identity

Overcoming the end of a relationship

It takes time to process the thoughts and feelings that come with the end of a relationship. Everyone’s different—there’s no right or wrong way to approach this process. Our counsellors encourage people to:

• Reach out to others for support. Talk to people you trust. It can help you to put your thoughts and feelings into perspective.
• Try to practise self care as much as possible. Ensure you’re getting enough sleep, eating well and drinking enough water. Take time for yourself and fill your spare time with things you enjoy.


Domestic abuse

Domestic abuse can come in many forms, including emotional, physical, sexual and financial abuse. The abuse often involves violent, controlling and threatening behaviour. The effects of domestic abuse are devastating, and it’s important to seek support if you think you might be in an abusive relationship. Our counsellors find that some of the most common problems here are:

• Narcissistic Abuse
• Domestic Abuse
• Violence

Overcoming domestic abuse

Getting help, leaving an abusive relationship and healing from the abuse is an emotional process. This process takes time—so be patient with yourself and recognise how far you've come. Our counsellors encourage people to:

• Identify ways in which you can keep yourself safe.
• Consider how you'd like to move forward from here.
• If you’re a survivor of domestic abuse, try to rebuild your confidence by recognising your strengths, qualities and abilities.

Relationship anxiety

Relationship anxiety causes feelings of excessive worry and fear about relationships. It can cause problems in a relationship as the person experiencing the anxiety is likely to seek reassurance, avoid confrontation and lack self-esteem. Our counsellors find that some of the most common problems here are:

• Self-esteem (not being good enough)
• Trust issues
• Focusing on the future/past too much
• Catastrophising (thinking the worst will happen)

Overcoming relationship anxiety

It can take time and effort to overcome anxiety, fear and worry. But with time, you can learn to see these anxieties differently. Our counsellors encourage people to:

• Exercise regularly. Exercise helps you combat the tension anxiety creates in your body and release it in a productive way. It boosts your mood and relieves stress.
• Relaxation techniques can help you relax your body and focus your mind away from worries and stress.
• Try to avoid smoking and drinking where possible. Studies suggest that stopping smoking can have the same effects as taking antidepressants.


Get help with relationship problems from Health Assured 

Health Assured can help couples overcome difficulties in their relationships. Our BACP trained counsellors are here to support you no matter what you might be going through. If you have an Employee Assistance Plan with us then you can contact us via the helpline number.

If you're looking to set up an Employee Assistance Plan and help your employees overcome life problems like this then get in touch with our wellbeing experts today on: 0844 891 0355



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