9 Surprising Things That Are Tough on a Relationship

Stephanie Booth | Jul 25, 2016 Love & Sex
9 Surprising Things That Are Tough on a Relationship

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We're not going to insult your intelligence by telling you that relationships take a lot of work. Because duh. But what we WILL tell you is that certain things can blast your relationship right off the hinges.

Think you know what they are? 

Hot nannies didn't make the list, but some surprising, strange, and sad things did. 

Click through to see, then go give your partner a hug already.


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  • Not Having Enough Sex

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    Sexless marrriages are "much more common than people realize," says Dr. Paul Hokemeyer, PhD, JD, a licensed marriage and family therapist in New York, Los Angeles, and Telluride, Colorado. That is NOT a good thing. "Through sex, couples communicate physically and emotionally. When it leaves a relationship, there's a huge void that's filled with unresolved anger, resentment, and confusion."

  • Toothpaste

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    "It's amazing how toothpaste becomes a lightning rod for couples' disagreements," notes Hokemeyer. "Arguments over toothpaste represent feelings of being taken for granted and overly responsible for the emotional and physical messiness of their partner's life."

    PS. Dirty dishes and underwear/socks that never hit the hamper have a similar impact.

  • Addiction

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    "Lies, betrayals, and infidelities" isn't the title of a new soap opera, notes Hokemeyer. "It's the painful truth of the reality of addictions," he says. "Be it an addiction to drugs, alcohol, sex, or compulsive shopping, addictions destroy all that's good and beautiful in a person's life."

    More from CafeMom: The Addiction That Could Be Hurting Your Marriage Without You Even Knowing It

  • Having Kids

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    We didn't want to have to put this one in. Really we didn't. But the research is kinda indisputable: Relationship satisfaction takes a hit once kids come along. And the decline is even steeper if the pregnancy was unplanned.

  • Money

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    Money problems -- and let's clarify that we mean not having ENOUGH rather than having so much you don't know whether to buy three new Range Rovers or four -- put a serious squeeze on your relationship. "They cause couples to feel unsafe and vulnerable, not only to the outside world, but to each other," Hokemeyer says. And if one of you is dealing with unemployment, it can make both of you feel "diminished," he adds, "and suffer from a sense of defeat and low self-esteem."

  • Monster-in-Laws

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  • Elections

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    "We are living in a fractured, political world," Hokemeyer notes. "It's unhealthy and destructive." And when you and your partner don't agree on who should be our next US president? That will not make your marriage great again.

  • Lies

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    "Outright lies are corrosive to relational integrity," says Hokemeyer, "but so are half-truths and intentional non-disclosure of facts and feelings." Over time, he says, "these little lies build up and destroy couples."

  • When Your Kids Grow Up

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    Remember how having kids is tough on your marriage? Just so you know, couples aren't necessarily always happier once kiddos grow up and fly the nest. Some partners realize they have nothing in common anymore -- and that THEY can be free as a bird now too. 

    More from CafeMom: 9 Signs Your Marriage Is on the Rocks

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