Working with couples, I often see that there are vicious cycles that perpetuate problems in their relationships. Here are some of the most common roadblocks that can make your relationship get stuck.


Not Truly Understanding Your Partner’s Needs


Sometimes, our attempted solutions make things worse, even if we have the best intentions. Have you ever felt that the harder you try to make your relationship work, the more you feel stuck? If you have, it may be the time for you to check if what you’re doing for your relationship is what your partner really wants from you.

You may work hard to enhance your family’s financial situation, but your spouse might feel lonely and wish to spend more time with you. You may be really good at making time for your partner, but your partner might still feel unhappy because of uneven division of labor. So, if you feel stuck and nothing you try seems to work, you may need to re-evaluate your understanding of the other person’s needs.


Lack of Willingness to Compromise and Find the Middle


Sometimes there’s competition between the two. They want to prove that they are better than the other and act like it’s either their way or the highway. But relationships without fairness cannot last long. Even if it does, it takes a toll on your emotional and relational well-being.

So, it’s important to treat your partner’s needs as important as your own and consider finding ways that work for both of you. In this process, some of you might realize that you and your partner have very different opinions about some things, and I think that’s okay. Sometimes we simply need to agree to disagree.


Focusing Only on the Negative


Some couples tend to focus on negative things about their relationships and forget to give credit for what’s going well. I often hear “My wife is always complaining” or “My husband never cares about me.” And I question… “is it really ‘always’ and ‘never’?” because no problem occurs all the time.

If you feel like there’s nothing good about your relationship, step back and ask yourself if it’s really true. There might be little things that have gone unnoticed, or there may be times when the problems didn’t bother you. Problems are real, but noticing the positives can help us find solutions to our problems.


If you recognize these patterns in your relationship, but you don’t know what to do, schedule an appointment today, and let’s talk about it together

Dr. Hana Yoo

Dr. Hana Yoo

Couples Therapist

I believe that various contextual factors can affect our lives. Our racial/ethnic identities, cultural backgrounds, economic status, gender, and sexuality play important roles in how we see ourselves and how we relate with others. 

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