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Real couple gripes and how to solve them

Sarah Kelsey is a lifestyle writer, editor and spokesperson based in Toronto. She was the editor of AOL/The Huffington Post Canada’s StyleList, Style and Living sites. Today, she's a freelancer writing for some of North America’s top pub...

Relationship roadblocks

Rare is the couple that never runs into relationship problems (regardless of how long you've been together or how well you communicate). How can you solve some real-life relationship gripes? Read on to find out.

Bored Newlywed Couple

Q

I love going out with my partner, but, even after years of being together, he always expects to split the bill. I don't mind paying for things myself, but sometimes I want to feel spoiled. What can I do?

A

Money, and issues surrounding finances, can be one of the most difficult topics to broach with a partner. To solve this problem, sit down and have an open, honest chat about each other's financial situation. Maybe there's something your partner is hiding (like a mound of debt). Opening this line of communication is one of the most important stepping-stones in a relationship. It will help you plan your financial future, create an action plan for spending and make you feel like you're really a team.

Q

My husband and I just got married, but I already feel like we're in a sex rut. We had great sex before the wedding. What's going on?

A

Getting married is no excuse to forget about your sex life. Yes, you may be busy, but so is everyone else. Planning for sex and making the most of the time you have (even if you don't indulge in physical penetration each time you get sexual), will ensure having good and interesting sex remains a habit. Remember, the wedding day isn't the finish line, it's the start of the race. Keep at it.

Q

I hate to say it, but ever since I started dating my partner, it seems like she's started to let herself go. It's affecting how sexually attracted I am to her. What can I do?

A

Most couples develop a "comfort" level once they've been together for a certain period of time, but that's no excuse to stop taking care of yourself. Gently push your partner to invest in some "take-care-of-herself" time. Encourage her to join you at the gym or take a healthy cooking class together. Also, be sure to talk to her about what's going on in her life, external to your relationship. Stress or other problems could be impacting the quality time she spends with herself. If she's especially defensive or combative when you voice your concerns, there could be something deeper going on.

Q

Despite how loving my partner is, I can't seem to trust him enough. I'm constantly worried that he'll run off with the next girl he meets. How can I get over this fear?

A

Developing trust in a relationship is one of the hardest things to do. By being consistent with the affection you show, opening up and being honest about your thoughts, fears and feelings, and calling your partner out on things that bother you, you'll develop a more intimate and trusting relationship. That being said, if you're constantly worried about whether your man has a wandering eye, it's also time to evaluate how you feel about yourself. Is low self-esteem or the relics of a previous and bad relationship to blame? Or is it solely his actions that are provoking these fears? Once you figure it out, talk to your partner.

Q

I'm loving the relationship I have with my partner, but out of nowhere I'm starting to feel pressure to get married and have a baby. I don't know if I want either. How can I get my better half to lay-off?

A

It's natural for relationships to progress from one thing to the next (first date, second date, moving in together, etc.), but if your partner starts pressuring you to constantly move on to the next big thing, it's time for you to sit down and have an honest conversation with them about what the rush is all about. Be honest about how you picture the next few years. You may find out your schedules don't entirely mesh (in which case, you should start re-evaluating whether this is the right relationship for you).

Q

My relationship is great and I love spending time with my partner, but I often feel claustrophobic, like I'm not getting enough "me" time with my friends. What can I do to fix the problem?

A

Relationships are most successful when two individuals come together to create a mutually respectful partnership – that includes hanging out separately and indulging in personal interests. So talk to your partner about your desire to get out and see your girlfriends. Encourage him to go out more often on his own, as well. Absence does make the heart grow fonder.

Q

I don't have anything in common with my partner's family. How can I deal with them?

A

A lot of couples experience in-law problems – overbearing moms, rude or crude dads, bratty siblings. The key is to manage your partner's familial expectations. He/she should understand you're not entirely comfortable with the way his/her family talks to you. If they nit-pick, get him to chime in (he should be on your side). If however, it's a matter of you simply "finding them annoying," try to remember who these people are and why they're so important to your partner. Try to understand where they're coming from or "their" side of things and be sure to ask questions. Investing some time in getting to know who they are – even if you find it annoying – will help you relate to them better in the long run. Who knows? You might even learn to love them!

More Couple advice on SheKnows:

Does your husband really care if you can fit into skinny jeans?
How much would you change for your guy?
8 Things no one tells you about marriage

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