I think it is safe to say we have all experienced difficulties in our relationships. One of the reasons being, we are individuals with our own views, thoughts and feelings. We are not going to always agree with the person we love.

Finding ourselves against a wall of discomfort are the moments we may want to walk away from the relationship. Many times that thought may cross our minds because we do not know how to handle or communicate our feelings, so we want to run.

No. Running is not a loving option.

Since two people are in the relationship, problems can be discussed and rectified – even if the conversation will be difficult. Remember – we are all unique with a variety of needs and desires. Someone in the relationship may feel that their needs are not being met. Unmet needs cause problems.

I’m going to give you three signs that indicate your relationship needs to be refreshed: communication breakdown; bickering; and less or no sex.

I have learned that one of the reasons for communication breakdown is fear. Many people do not feel safe when another knows personal things about them. There are times in an intimate relationship when old cellular memories begin to surface, and insecurities show up. These negative emotions cause us to withhold the very information that would help to strengthen our bond. Keeping secrets or just not being totally honest is a problem within itself. If you fear you could lose your partner’s love if he or she really knows you, take the risk of transparency. You may be surprised.

Tip: Vulnerability is an indication of courage and trust. Your own personal courage and the trust you have in your partner. When you allow vulnerability in your relationship, sometimes love just doubles in size!

When you find yourselves bickering, that is a clear indication that someone is not feeling cared for, paid attention to or nurtured. Blaming starts and the use of sarcasm begins because resentment is creeping into your relationship. The person committing these offenses is not comfortable communicating their wants and needs. There are many ways to convey a message, and they have chosen to take a passive-aggressive route. The best way to communicate a need or desire is to be clear and honest.

Tip: Do not lash out and take the negative behavior personally. How another person acts has nothing to do with you, although you may want to help your partner feel safe enough to express their feelings. This is another time when authentic communication is required. Many times we expect our partner to know how we feel. That is not fair. Until they are told, they do not know. Talk to your partner.

High on the list of importance in a relationship is sex. We need sex to feel connected to our partner. The physical touch, the warmth and emotional closeness demonstrate Eros love. Sex also has great health benefits. If sex begins to lessen considerably or becomes nonexistent, there are usually reasons for it. As stated previously, when someone’s needs are not being met communication breaks down, bickering begins and sex slows down. If a couple of the reasons for the change in sexual activity include work or  children. Make the time for sex as often as possible. Quality time consists of intimacy. Intimacy is not sex per se, but eye to eye, soul to soul communication, which usually leads to great sex.

Tip: Communicating your needs and desires openly is the path to consistent, desired sex. Your thoughts, feeling, and desires are important. Let your partner know them.

Relationships are resilient and can stand up to the toughest challenges. When these problems arise remember that they are usually temporary. Remember to communicate openly with your partner, as that is the key to true intimacy. As soon as you see a problem has entered the relational space, address it immediately. It will not go away on its own.

If these problems are occurring and persist and one of you does not want to resolve it, seek professional help.

You can contact Dr. Lateefah Wielenga at The Counseling Kitchen at 895-0516.

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