While every relationship is different, building a life with someone comes with growing pains—and there are key issues almost every couple will face. Whether you and your S.O. battle it out over whose turn it is to do the dishes or hold in emotions until small issues become massive resentments, there are ways to address these problems and move forward together. The most common relationship problems include bottling up emotions, building emotional walls, and letting the blame game rule your arguments, Well + Good reports. Here's how to work these issues out, according to a few relationship experts.
If You Bottle It Up
Instead of letting resentment build up over time, psychotherapist Augusta Gordon, LCSW, suggests being honest, even if it will lead to a fight. It sounds counterintuitive, but conflict can bring you closer as a couple. Amir Levine, MD, and author of Attached, recommends communicating in a productive way, like calling out a specific situation in which you felt hurt or upset instead of broadly pointing out your partner's flaws. You can also take psychotherapist Kirstin Lyons advice and take the time to step back and evaluate your feelings before discussing a situation with your S.O.
If You Put Up Walls
"Disclosure is one of the main ingredients in the cocktail of intimacy and closeness," Lyons says, but if you're having trouble letting go and opening up, it could lead to more conflict. In order to arrive at a place where vulnerability feels possible, Levine recommends doing a physical activity like rock climbing as a couple to build feelings of trust and security. "There's a lot of research that shows that when couples do physical activities together, they are more in sync," he says.
If You Play the Blame Game
It's difficult, but the most helpful thing to do when you find yourself going into fights with the goal of coming out on top is to understand that everyone makes mistakes (even you and your S.O.). "Relationships will come with ruptures and mistakes, and it's necessary to acknowledge them," according to Lyons. Being right is not always the most important thing. Instead, work as a team to identify your feelings and grow from them.