Below is a list of common relationship concerns. It is not intended to be exhaustive.

  • Communication (Defensiveness, Poor Listening Skills, Sarcasm, etc)
  • Stonewalling (Withdrawing, Refusing to Communicate, Lack of Feeling Expression)
  • Lack of physical intimacy
  • Lack of Romance and Thoughtfulness
  • Sex (Frequency, Level of Pleasure, Passion, Preferred Activities, Expectations)
  • Sexual Functioning (Inability to orgasm or to Perform)
  • Sexual Orientation (Discovery of Attraction to Another Sex)
  • Emotional and Sexual Infidelity
  • Dishonesty
  • Jealousy/Lack of Trust
  • Money (Management of Assets and Income).
  • Division of Chores and Responsibilities
  • Feeling Unappreciated
  • Not Prioritizing the Relationship/Feeling Unimportant
  • Differences in Childrearing
  • Blended Family Issues
  • Interference by Relatives and In-laws
  • Lack of Respect
  • Lack of Common Interests/Companionship
  • Being Competitive/Having to be Right
  • Control
  • Hurtful Teasing
  • Selfishness/Self-centeredness
  • Anger Outbursts
  • Poor Boundaries (Wanting the other to think and feel as you do)
  • Time Management
  • Perpetual Distraction (By phone, kids, work, etc)
  • Addiction (Substances, Gambling, Pornography, Sex, etc)
  • Major Life Changes (Trauma, Health, Unemployment, Loss, etc)
  • Mental Illness (Depression, Bipolar Disorder, PTSD, etc)

Below are Four Issues that Negatively  Impact the Success of Couples Therapy


When one or more persons is abusing substances or has a behavioral addiction, it greatly affects the relationship.  This is because addiction often is accompanied by irresponsible behavior and dishonesty, both of which are corrosive to a relationship.  Additionally, the addicted person’s priority shifts from his/her partner to the desired experience.  For these reasons, in many cases, it is best to treat the addiction prior to entering couples therapy.

The Presence of a Third Party

Couples can move pass the experience of emotional or physical infidelity if the relationship with the third party is over.  Couples therapy is not recommended for couples wherein one or more persons remains in the midst of an affair.  The reason for this is because affairs typically contain all of the elements of a new relationship.  The “new couple” experiences the same honeymoon phase as the original couple and each person is on their best behavior.  Simply put, it is difficult to compete with a relationship that is young and exciting and forbidden.

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Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is an issue that constitutes a crisis situation – one that shoud be handled before the onset of couples therapy, as safety of the abused person is the first line of concern.  The abused person may want to consider acquiring emergency shelter with a family member or friend while the other seeks assistance with emotional control and anger management.

"Me out . . ."

When one party has made a firm decision to leave the relationship, it can be very difficult for that person to reengage.  Making a relationship work, even on a good day, takes effort and commitment.  Hence, for relationships to improve, both parties must necessarily be vested.  The “secret” is to acquire help before one or both of you become too discouraged to want to move forward.

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