What is the number 1 relationship problem?

What are the most common relationship problems that you know about?

Today I am going to tell what the single greatest relationship problem is.

And it is not some of the common ones that you may have heard, read or might be thinking about now.

Before I tell you the greatest relationship problem people (or you) suffer from let me give you a little quiz. Take a sheet of paper and write down 5 of the most common relationship problems that you can think about.

No cheating!

Stop reading now, turn the monitor off and write the five common relationship problems you can think of. Then return.

Did your list include any of the following 10 common relationship problems?

  1. Communication
  2. Sex
  3. Money
  4. Conflict e.g. quarrels, arguments
  5. Differences e.g. ethnic, cultural, religious, age
  6. Affair s/infidelity (both physical and emotional)
  7. Other people e.g. children (your own or partner’s own, in-laws, friends)
  8. Power struggles
  9. Domestic violence
  10. Emotional/psychological abuse

I will be surprised if your list did not include some or all of these problems. But the truth is none these is really the greatest relationship problem there is.

Surprisingly all relationships (good and bad) have some of these.

Before we go on let me say something about communication and relationships. Most people (including many experts) content that it is the most important element relationships.

By communication they mean verbal communication.

Contrary to popular believe this is not necessarily so.

In fact when people are having relationship breakdown, trying to talk is like adding fuel to fire. It inflames the situation as both parties verbally try to destroy each other with fiery criticisms, blame and put downs. This can easily deteriorate into irreversible damage and in some instance physical violence.Relationship problem: communication

Famous relationship researcher John Gottman lists this (communication) as one of 4 myths people have about relationship dysfunction:

Communication problems cause marital conflict – actually, distressed people communicate quite clearly what they feel and mean” http://www.psychpage.com/family/library/gottman.html

Well if none of these can be said to be sole reason for the relationship problems you are facing what is?

This is the very question Fiona Fransworth wanted answered.

Fiona is a great business woman who controls a staff of 4 people in her little day-care centre. She told me she never knew marriage was so difficult. In fact she longs to be single again. She feels her husband is very hard hearted and values his daughter (from a previous marriage) above her. Her soul is dry and she wants to give up as she is tired trying.

“If he is upset, he would ignore me for weeks, except when he wants sex,” tears well in her eyes, “I feel really used.”

Frank on the other hand has a very different prob.

“Hilton, I feel like a little boy,” his bright eyes darted back and forth, as he tried to explain why he feels totally disrespected by his wife.

These 2 people are painting their partners as if they are the sole cause of the relationship breakdown. However if we were to speak to their partners you will get a very different point of view. In fact their partners will see them as the villains in the relationship dilemma.

So what is the real cause of these and all relationship problems?

Believe this or not, the simple basic cause of every relationship problem is that each person is not getting his/her emotional needs met. They are not happy.

Let me repeat, all of us have deep emotional needs.

When these needs are not met everything and anything become a problem.

What is an emotional need?

Willard Harley Jr. Author/speaker/counsellor explains it best,

It is a craving that, when satisfied, leaves you with a feeling of happiness and contentment, and, when unsatisfied, leaves you with a feeling of unhappiness and frustration.http://www.marriagebuilders.com/graphic/mbi3300_needs.html

When your emotional needs are satisfied then you are happy, excited and fulfilled. If your emotional needs are not met then you become frustrated, irritable, unfulfilled and even angry. There is no joy in the relationship.

This is the reason for every relationship problem.

Conflict, money issues, sex, people, and differences are all symptoms of this greater and deeper problem.

Frank and Fiona appear to have 2 different problems but it all stems from the fact their emotional needs are not met.

What are your emotional needs and how can they be met?

To find out what your emotional needs are ask yourself these question?

What are the things I can never do without in a relationship? In other words I must have these elements in a relationship for me to be happy.

  • Do I love it when someone is physically affectionate to me?

You have an emotional need for someone to be affectionate (cuddle, touch, massage, kiss etc)

  • Do I need to hear someone saying nice things to me?

You have an emotional need to hear people tell you how much they feel about you and or how you look, how you did etc. Praise, admiration and adoration.

  • Do you like when someone spends a lot of time with you?

You have an emotional need for someone be a companion.

  • Do you feel extremely happy when someone do something for you? Cook, iron, take you out etc.

You have an emotional need for acts or actions done to or for you?

  • Is sex extremely important to you? If you don’t get it you feel miserable and out of sorts.

You have an emotional need for sex.

  • How about having a really stimulating conversation? You love it will you can intellectually engage with someone about any topic. It gives you an intellectual high.

You have an emotional need for conversation.

There are others that may be unique to you.

Click here to find out about Dr. Harleys lists of emotional needs.

relationship problem: unhappiness