Couples face difficulties at all stages of their relationship. No matter how old you are or how long you have been together, chances are you’ve encountered at least a handful of obstacles in your relationship. In this guide, we wanted to take a closer look at why young couples fight and what you can do to avoid those issues in your own relationship. Here are some of the most common sources of conflict we’ve seen and treated in our Metro Detroit couples counseling program.
Too Much Time On The Phone
Do you feel like your partner is constantly on his or her phone? From games to emails to social media – there are a variety of reasons why people find themselves with their eyes glued to their phones throughout the day. With the development of smartphone technology has come a whole new way for couples to disconnect themselves from one another. You may spend several hours a day with your spouse without ever feeling like you’ve had quality bonding experiences.
The Solution: Set up phone-free periods throughout the day when neither of you uses the phone. For instance, you may put your phone on the counter during dinner or while watching TV together. Turn the phones on silent so you aren’t distracted by them, or turn the notifications off so that only the ringer works. This will allow you to focus your energy on one another without being distracted by your devices.
Working Long Hours
Young adults often have to work long hours in order to make ends meet. This is especially true for young couples with children. This has several side effects. Working hard can make a person feel stressed, cranky, tired, unappreciated, etc. It can also make the person who is not working as much feel ignored. Furthermore, the long hours could put a distance between you and your spouse that makes it difficult for you to spend quality time with one another.
The Solution: Do what you can to reduce your financial stress. Avoid taking out loans or making monthly commitments that are beyond your means. Create a balance in the relationship so neither of you feels like it is one-sided. Schedule some alone time as a couple, like a weekly date night or a morning wake-up routine. Don’t let work get in the way of your happiness, and remember that the struggles you’re currently experiencing are just temporary.
Mess And Clutter In the House
Let’s face it – most 20-somethings aren’t exactly clean freaks. Having a messy dorm room or a messy section of the apartment is one thing, but when the entire house is messy, it can put both of you on edge. According to a recent study, 9.2% of 18-29-year-olds who are in relationships but not married now live together, and 22% of Millennials are married and living together. If you have ever found yourself getting easily agitated or stressed recently, it may be the result of your living environment.
The Solution: This one seems fairly simple. Clean up the mess and you clean up the stress. Applying that idea is a lot harder than it sounds though. As always, there needs to be a balance of responsibilities in the relationship. You should each have chores that you can be held responsible for. If one of you works more than the other, the one who is not working as much may need to take on more of the household duties. If you find it difficult to make time for a thorough cleaning (vacuuming, dusting, etc.), make an effort to at least tidy up your home once a day. If the house feels cleaner, you will naturally feel less stressed.
Jealousy is a natural emotion to experience. The problem is that many young couples do not know how to channel, control, react to, or avoid jealous feelings. You may get jealous when someone from a former relationship likes something your spouse posts on social media. You may get jealous when your spouse talks to someone of the opposite sex at work or in public. You may even get jealous when someone looks at your spouse in a certain way.
The problem with jealousy is that it can come across as a lack of trust. Your spouse may be offended because you do not trust him or her with another person. It may come to the point where you do something to intentionally make your spouse jealous out of spite or revenge. The results of any or all of these experiences can be devastating.
The Solution: Working through jealousy is a complex task that may require individual or couples counseling. The person feeling the jealous emotions may suffer from low self-esteem, or he or she may need to work through leftover emotions from a previous relationship. The person who is making the other jealous may also need to work on how he or she interacts with other people, or how much attention he or she gives to the jealous partner. The overall goal here is to identify the root cause of the jealousy and find ways to overcome that in the relationship.
Reduced Sexual Attraction
Over time, most people experience a decrease in their sex drive. Financial stress, work, body image issues, and the like can cause you and your spouse to have less intercourse than you once had. This may cause one or both of you to feel less attractive than you used to be, or it may make you feel disconnected from your spouse.
The Solution: It’s important to keep in mind that having a lower sex drive is normal with age. Sex is not the only way to feel close with your spouse, and it shouldn’t be the glue that holds your relationship together. With that said, you could work with a sex therapist in Metro Detroit to learn new ways to connect with your significant other. You could work with a couple’s counselor to strengthen other areas of your relationship as well. Be the powerful team you have always dreamed of being no matter what life throws your way.