No matter how healthy your relationship is, problems with your partner will make an unwelcome appearance at some point in time. Don’t let that freak you out — issues aren’t always a bad thing. They’re how you learn about each other and sharpen your skills working as a team to untangle whatever knots show up. This is true even about the relationship problems that can’t be fixed, and yes, those definitely exist.
Relationship problems arise for various reasons. It could be something systemic to your personalities like your partner being less ambitious than you. Or maybe it’s something more minor that only requires a simple fix like having sex to get over a little tiff you had (otherwise known as the absolute best kind of relationship problems to have).
Either way, bonding, trusting, and peacefully coexisting with another human being takes a ton of effort on behalf of all parties involved. Fortunately, in some cases the work people put into their relationships can produce some stellar results that make us look at our love lives and wonder WTF we’re doing wrong.
Relationship envy aside, some of the problems you’ll encounter may not give you the same feeling you have when you know your relationship is really over, but it’s still important to know when you’ve hit an impassable bump in the road that can’t *ever* be patched up, no matter how much effort you put into trying to fix it.
1You fight about it constantly.
No matter how many healthy debates you try to engage in about this never-ending relationship nuisance, the discussion always ends in an explosive argument that gets you nowhere but angry and resentful towards your partner.
2You no longer communicate about the issue.
While you may try to pretend like it doesn’t exist and carry on with your normal relationship routine, this Problem That Must Not Be Named still looms in the background as a constant reminder that you still haven’t reached a resolution and most likely won’t.
3The problem hasn’t improved with therapy.
As useful as it can be, we won’t tout therapy as the ultimate problem-solver. If you and your partner have sought the help of a professional therapist and it simply doesn’t help your problem, that’s a huge indicator that whatever you’re struggling to see eye to eye on is around to stay.
4Neither of you is willing to budge.
You and your partner have taken a “my way or the highway” stance on the issue, and you refuse to budge no matter how much drama it causes in your relationship.
5There’s a lack of empathy.
Either you can’t identify with each other’s feelings or you refuse to, either of which always results in more tension and an undeniable feeling that this particular relationship problem will never be resolved. According to Prevention, a lack of empathy makes “partners feel alone and uncared for because neither of their hurts and pains are being acknowledged.”
6When it causes you to think about breaking up.
Deciding to go your separate ways over a single problem is undoubtedly a tough call to make, especially if your relationship is kinda totally solid on all other accounts. But if you come to a point where you absolutely can’t accept things the way they are and find yourself thinking about what it would be like to unattached, it could be a sign that you’re ready to break up.
Obviously, if ending things for good is an action you’re seriously contemplating, it’s best to talk it over with your partner beforehand. If you’re really invested in a relationship, dysfunctional or not, it’s worthwhile to make a last ditch effort (if you think it’s worth it) instead of ghosting them and adding to the damage that’s already occurred because of an unresolved issue.
In the end, it’s up to you to determine whether you can continue to live with whatever is bothering you or if you’d be better off living without one another.