All relationships require work and face challenges and many couples struggle with communicating effectively and feeling that they are heard by their partners. Moreover, strain can be placed on a relationship when stressful circumstances affect the couple as a whole, or even just one of the partners. Severe stressors may include infidelity, terminal illness of one partner, and serious mental health issues.

Some common relationship concerns include financial difficulties, sexual intimacy issues, and lack of trust. Resentment, contempt, and an increase in the frequency of arguments may also be signs of problems in the relationship. Sometimes, marriage itself can be the issue at hand for an unmarried couple, when one partner wants to marry, or feels social or familial pressure to do so, and the other partner is reluctant or feels unready to marry. Couples who are considering marriage may seek premarital counseling for these and other issues.

Relationships can also contribute to depression or anxiety for one or both partners, can affect one’s self-esteem and physical health, and lead to feelings of guilt, shame, or anger. Sometimes, addictive behaviors, like substance abuse, are used to cope with relationship conflict. Relationship problems can also adversely affect family members, such as children, who may repeatedly witness relationship conflict between their parents.

Dr. Rosenfarb does not take sides or recommend that a couple end their relationship. Instead, he helps by supporting the goals set by the couple and helping each partner to communicate his or her needs, thoughts, and emotions more clearly, to listen to the other partner more carefully, and to develop more effective problem solving skills.

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