Why Relationship Problems Do Not Exist And The Best Approach For Solving Issues

What would you say to a world where there are no relationship problems?

Imagine that.

No fighting.  No fussing.  No drama.

Your personal relationships would flourish, family issues get eliminated, and your business operations would run as smooth as can be.

Picture the amount of drama and stress that would be reduced from your life.  Think about how much more you could accomplish.

Well, you do live in that world.

Many just fail to see it that way.  I know this from first hand experience.  I used to view the intricacies of the relationships in my life as one of the largest sources of problems I had to deal with.

Not exactly an ideal way to see something that is so vital to one’s well being.

While it’s common the majority of relationships that you encounter tend to involve your love life, interpersonal relationships occur in a variety of different circumstances.  At work, with your family, your friends, and even with yourself.  We are surrounded by and involved in relationships in almost everything we do.

Since you experience so many connections and affiliations on any given day, it would seem to make sense that they could be the cause of some problems in your life, but they actually do not.

You see, the biggest myth about relationship problems is that they don’t even exist.

A Problem Has Many Faces

Lets face it, without the proper amount of respect, knowledge, and patience, relationships can be difficult to manage and participate in.  One side or the other can end up feeling unheard, misunderstood, hurt, and ultimately wondering what is going on or where is this even going.

Nasty feelings like guilt, resentment, and anger can start to build up.  You end up spending more time navigating the unknown and looking for answers than enjoying your time with each other and growing together.  An alliance that should be a joy becomes more of a burden and chore.

It gets confusing, and with confusion come stress.

While something like stress cannot actually kill you itself, the physical and mental responses your body has, in response to it, potentially can.  In addition to feeling tired, drained, and out of energy, your immune system can be adversely affected, causing you to be more susceptible to illness.

Not only does stress affect your physiology and mindset, it can affect those around you as well.  Studies at the American Association of Pediatrics suggest that frequent levels of toxic stress can have a direct link in developmental delays and physical health problems of children.

Dealing with stress can be frustrating, and when we’re frustrated or upset, its easy to argue or pick a fight.  Its not the most enjoyable way to spend an afternoon or evening, even though arguing in relationships can be a good thing, but it does happen.  We may even be looking for it or expecting it if things happen to be going bad enough for us.

Think of arguing as just another avenue to express emotion.  In the same way you’d give somebody a hug of appreciation, you can let a few provoking words or looks slip out to express your irritation.

There are a number of signs and indicators that something may be wrong and even though these all may sound like relationship problems, they’re not, and you’re about to find out why.

You + Me = Us?

No.  You and me does not equal us.

It may appear to be that way, but a relationship is not some separate entity, governing and ruling the lives of two people.  There is no such thing as a bad relationship, bad marriage, or a even good relationship or marriage.

You + Me = You + Me (Together)

Two or more individuals make up any relationship.  In recognizing this, we see that we really just have people problems to deal with, not relationship problems.

What makes up a person?  Beyond some genetics and carbon, we find thoughts, ideals, morals, personalities, and beliefs (to name a few).  To put it simply, a person is defined by their behavior – how they think, feel, and act.

Now multiply that by two (or more when dealing with group dynamics), and you can see that the source behind many problems is the mixture of these separate qualities.  Two different sets of beliefs can create disconnect between individuals, as well as two different kinds of thoughts, feelings, or actions.

When you starting seeing your relationships from this angle you have a starting point for finding extremely beneficial resolutions to almost any issue you come across.

But if you’ve ever been in a relationship you know how detrimental pointing fingers and blaming people can be.  Sure, one side may not agree or see things the same as the other, but a resolution may never arise if we cast the problem and focus of an issue onto a person.

Instead we have to dig down a little more to get to the roots.

Focus On Issues Not Individuals

Healthy relationships can and only exist when individuals chose to be together and take part in a respectful and mutually beneficial way.

A lot of times couples find great difficulty in trying to change or blame the other person, when more (actually all) focus must be directed on identifying how the problem even exists and what the proper behavior would be on your end to either correct it, or do whats right.
Remember that not all problems can be solved, but you can always apply the right behavior or action regardless of the result. -Tweet This

In dealing with manageable people and concerns, a resolution of some sort can most likley occur or be found with a little effort on your part.  How?  You do this by attacking issues, not individuals.

In the old-school line of thinking any circumstance, disagreement, or problem would either fall upon him, her, or us.

“He doesnt see it the same way.”

“She can’t agree with me.”

“We just don’t get along.”

With the new-school approach, any unwanted situation or disagreement can be solved or overcome by pointing the attention on the issue itself.

“This view of (insert problem) is different than that view.”

“These two beliefs do not match up.”

“Expectations weren’t clearly defined and there is a mismatch somewhere.”

Yes, there are people behind these views and ideals, but whats more important are the reasons for having them.  Why are things being seen this way, and not that way?  What are the reasons for believing this is the best scenerio over the other?

If you spend more time concentrating on stripping the person away from the equation, and looking at the problem itself, you’ll find it much easier to discover the answers.

One great way to look at this is by remembering one of those old standardized test questions.  You know, the “On Monday Sally leaves Chicago on a train traveling West at 60 miles per hour,” question.

Even though the problem would not exist without her, Sally is irrelevant to the answer.

You consider factors like her destination, speed, and rate of travel to get your answer.

But throw some emotion into the situation and things start to change.  What if Sally is your wife?  Well, then you start to see her and the problem in a different light.

See, if Sally could manage her time more wisely and wasn’t late all the time she could’ve left Chicago on Sunday instead of missing the train and having to catch the next one on Monday.  😉

Remember that its not about Sally – its about the solving of a problem.

Where To Implement Adjustments

In order to stay committed and focused on the problems rather than the person, there are a number areas you can make adjustments and corrections to.  I’d like to share a few suggestions and ideas where I’ve found some success.  I know with an open mind and a little discipline, you can, too.

Listening and Language

As a person you know how good it feels to be heard, so close your mouth for a little bit and open up your ears.  Communication is huge.  Its how you listen, how you speak, and you respond.  Instead of listening with the intent of making your point next, listen with an open mind and the intent of truly getting what it is the other person is saying.

Empathy and Understanding

Its one thing to sit back, listen, and be aware of your own words.  Its another to really feel and understand another persons emotions, feelings, and where they are coming from.  Empathy is the act of really understanding ones state of mind and being appreciative and respectful of it.

Cooperation Over Compromise

When dealing with relationships and mutual benefit, two areas you want to avoid are sacrifice and compromise.  Theres a big misconception that to compromise means to work together, but nothing could be farther from the truth.  In a compromise somebody is forfeiting something (time, energy, or resources of some sort).  This would be a Win-Lose situation.  Instead, go for Win-Win, which is a result of cooperation.

Gratitude And Appreciation

Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, there just isn’t going to be a solution or resolution to your problem, which is OK.  The next best thing you can do is express your gratitude and appreciation.  Be thankful for your partner and your own efforts.  Just by putting in the effort and making it a point to try you’ve successfully reached one of the true signs of a mature and healthy relationship.  Be thankful for that, in your words and your actions, and you will reap the benefits it has to offer.

I’d love to hear what you think…  These principles all play a big part in determining our attitude, behavior, who we are as a partner– and more specifically, how we think and act.  Its easy to get swept up in emotion and forget that there real issues and concerns that are hiding behind the surface.  Professional or personal, what do you do to keep focused on the concerns, issues, and problems in your relationships?  Leave your comment below.  

Photo by Horia Varlan
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37 thoughts on “Why Relationship Problems Do Not Exist And The Best Approach For Solving Issues

  1. Shanna Mann

    I agree; your problem is rarely the other person, but the expectation you bring to the situation.

    Your advice is good, but my particular problem is to “hear” the judgement or the subtext of words that might not really exist… and to drive myself crazy with them, from time to time. It’s the standard he said, she said problem, except I do it with my mother, my ex, my partner, and even internet acquaintances, anyone with whom authentic and vulnerable communication feels too risky at that point in time.

    A good book I read on this was “You just don’t understand!” by Deborah Tannen, and it might sound corny, but I thought “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” was pretty spot on, even though both books are losing their wide applicability as society drifts away from “traditional” norms.

    1. Jason Anthony Post author

      Hi Shanna,

      Sounds like an internal defense mechanism you’ve got going on there. When that trips, understanding and seeing the other “side,” of the equation can be especially difficult (as your definitions/expectations are pre-defined). Part of getting beyond that is just letting go and being open to non-biased interpretation, which is tough 🙂 Thanks for the comment, and suggestions!

  2. Chris Nadeau

    Great stuff again Jason! Actually being aware of “letting go” has made an amazing impact on my life.

    From my own personal experience, I find a level of peace and comfort when I am aware of myself starting to judge something or someone. It is impossible to eliminate our ego and how it works, but if we can be aware of what it is trying to accomplish we can be so more at ease and not have to label or judge things/people.

    When we judge another person’s actions or behavior, are we saying that we know what is best for them and that we have the best rule book or the best solution? Maybe we expect others to see things exactly the way we do. But how can they? Everyone has been raised and progressed through unique situations and circumstances so it’s impossible to judge why someone has done something or said something. Dr. Loren Ekroth states: “No two people experience the same reality, so how can we know what is exactly right for another soul?”

    My two cents worth, but it is that two cents “from my experience” that has eliminated my relationship problems. 🙂

    1. Jason Anthony Post author

      Excellent, Chris!

      You’re right, our own view (and ego) is going to be there, or lurking behind the scenes 😉 There’s a big difference in being subjective and objective, when need be. Thanks for the great comment!

  3. Hector Avellaneda

    Awesome post Jason! It’s always easier to project problems and the perception of them, to someone else. In other words, it’s always easier to say ‘my wife makes me mad because she always leaves her sandals all over the house.” In reality that sandals are not the problem. It could however very well be your perception of the disruption the sandals cause to your psyche by seeing them in different parts of your house. What I am trying to say here is that we must often work on ourselves first if we want to build, maintain and nourish the relationships that mean the most to us.

  4. Shirly

    Hi Jason, thank you for the post. I love the statement – Healthy relationships can and only exist when individuals chose to be together and take part in a respectful and mutually beneficial way. Having a ton of failed relationships and disastrous partnerships at work, I realised it is hard work and it has to start with me. I read many times that we are all connected and our reality is a reflection of how we treat others and my personal favourite – I am just another you. That was a turning point for me. Now I am in ‘balanced’ relationship for almost a decade, and we are still working together to fine tune it all the time. The more I learn to listen and reflect on myself, the better my relationship with others becomes.

    1. Jason Anthony Post author

      Thank you for the kind words, Shirly 🙂

      We can project, to a degree, on others what we do not like about ourselves. So yes, a great exercise is to take a look at what may be bothering you about someone/something and flip it inward. Glad to hear your doing better and becoming better!

  5. Denise

    “You and me does not equal us” – I think a lot of people don’t understand that because of the traditional bible-inspired idea about ‘the two become one’. I know I was raised to believe that those couples that disagree in public have bad marriages and are in a sense “betraying” each other because their thoughts are not in harmony all the time.

    I know, seems crazy, but I learned better as I got older.

    Couples can act as individuals while still being on the same team. Compassion and listening is key.

    Wonderful post!

    1. Jason Anthony Post author

      Yes, it seems to be a very big misconception. You hit the nail on the head there – “individuals while still being on the same team.” A healthy relationship is one where two people grow as individuals with each other, not because of each other. Thanks, Denise! Great to see you hear!

  6. Jackie

    Jason, wonderful post.

    Words are simply words. Its the meaning we attribute to them that often is the biggest cause of misunderstandings, clashes and frustration.

    I like to joke that I’ve been married for 665 years…as you can imagine that gives us plenty of opportunities for miscommunication.

    What I believe someone is saying based on my definitions, could be at polar opposites to what they are actually saying. Understanding those languages nuances make all the difference in how you communicate with others.

    1. Jason Anthony Post author

      665 years is plenty of time to figure out that you may need another 665 to finally get it right 🙂

      True and beneficial communication involves the understanding (empathy) and ability to see a perspective outside of your own. Thanks for reading, Jackie! Glad you enjoyed it!

        1. Jason Anthony Post author

          Well, one of the most important things we can do is realize that there’s no such thing as perfection, and it can take any number of years – as long as we’re trying, we’re moving in the right direction!

  7. Jeanne

    By definition, compromise is reached through concession. And when you concede, something is lost. Like you said, a win-lose proposition. I find that the better approach is to add to the equation instead of subtracting.

    For example, in a business negotiation, do not frame the problem as having to give up something (i.e., you’re asking me to lower the price and therefore lower my profit). Rather, use a value proposition to defend your position: “I understand that you only want to pay $1 for this. But for $2, I am giving you $10 worth of value.”

    In other words, lower cost is not better, more value is better. Sometimes it’s how you frame the issue that makes all the difference.

    1. Jason Anthony Post author

      Right on, Jeanne! Understanding how framing works is a very beneficial business tool to have in your kit. “When you concede, something is lost.” Those words have some great power behind them for those who are willing to see it.

  8. David Hamilton

    I once had heard a formula of “honesty, trust and respect” for keeping a relationship lively. I like that very much. I also like your value of “cooperation over compromise” because I too think compromise indicates submitting to the other, instead of from the get go being on the same team. Great stuff!

  9. Ryan Hanley

    Very, very good Jason…

    I like this a lot “You + Me = You + Me (Together)”

    That is a fantastic idea to build a relationship around. I’m going to try and put this to practice in my own life.


    Ryan H.

  10. Peter Sandeen

    Hi Jason,

    And once again a thought provoking post 🙂

    For me “This would be a Win-Lose situation. Instead, go for Win-Win, which is a result of cooperation.” was the key insight. Compromising is just so “popular” that you don’t stop to think if it’s good or bad…

    1. Jason Anthony Post author

      Compromising is pretty popular, isn’t it? Its become kind of a pre-determined assumption when it comes to relationships – especially marriage. Thanks for reading, Peter!

  11. Jason "J-Ryze" Fonceca

    Jaaaaaaay… awesome dude. Right up my alley, and all things I believe.

    We live in a relationship based world, and if your relationship to yourself is junk, so will your other relationships. If your relationship to money is lame, same deal.

    Improving your relationships by aligning with what feels good and right is a game-changer.


    Shared it, I’d love more people to improve their relationships by improving themselves 😀

    Here’s a really interesting side of relationships no one talks about — Being Too Happy.

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  13. Steve Baines

    This is such an amazing post. It all boils down to the fact that we are in complete control of our lives, and hence, what we get out of our relationships and encounters with others. We always have the power to choose how we react to something, rather than just letting that something affect us. One of my favourite quotes is from Jim Rohn: ?”I used to say, I sure hope things will change. Then I learned that the only way things are going to change for me is when I change.”

    1. John Robie

      Spot on with the “Relationship problems don’t exist” thing. It’s not so much the actual actions taken and words spoken that ’cause stress’ so much as it is our THOUGHTS about how this person SHOULD relate with us or how that person SHOULDN’T do such things. Pretty deep topic. Thanks for sharing.
      Be Amazing,
      John Robie (<— I'm JR too.)

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  19. Lisa Brick, Certified Professional Coach, ELA-MP, L.Ac.

    I have been in a wonderful relationship with my significant other for thirty-three years. This is how we have created this pleasure, by being conscious as individuals and cleaning up however we were thinking, feeling, and acting.that was causing suffering for ourselves and hence for each other. I remember my brother-in-law saying the following many years ago, “no one is perfect” when speaking of both himself and his wife. He was using this as his excuse for his dissatisfaction in his relationship. My response was, “Well, your brother is perfect.” What did I mean? I embraced my husband for who he was and who he wasn’t and I have always had the utmost respect for and confidence in his process. In order to do this I had to first embrace myself for who I was and who I wasn’t, and gift myself with the utmost respect for my process. We are always and in all ways at the height of our evolutionary process, being the best we can with whatever baggage we are holding onto. The more we let go of, the lighter we are and the higher we rise. Living the principles Jason shares opens a possibility of experiencing a relationship so much more satisfying and enlivening then the best of our romantic notions of what relationship looks and feels like! Similar to the saying about charity, giving begins at home – giving ourselves the love and respect that allows us to break through our protective gear and BE listening, empathy, understanding, collaboration, gratitude, appreciation, and connection. Thanks Jason!

  20. joan jane

    My names are joan jane am from USA i want to use this
    opportunity to thank my great doctor who really made my life a
    pleasurable one today. This great Doctor brought my husband back to
    me, i had 3 lovely kids for my husband, about 3 years ago i and my
    husband has been into one quarrel or the other until he finally left
    me for one lady. i felt my life was over and my kids thought then
    will never see their father again. i tried to be strong just for the
    kids but i couldn’t control the pains that torments my heart, my
    heart was filled with sorrows and pains because i was really in love
    with my husband. Every day and night i think of him and i always wish he
    will come back to me, until one day i met a good friend of mine that
    was also in a situation like me but her problem was her ex-boyfriend
    who she had an unwanted pregnancy for and he refused to take
    responsibility and dumped her. she told me that mine was a small case
    and that i shouldn’t worry about it at all so i asked her what was the
    solution to my problems and she gave me this great man phone number
    and his email address. i was doubting if this man was the solution, so i
    contacted this great man and he told me what to do and i deed them
    all, he told me to wait for just seven days and that my husband will come
    crawling on his kneels just for forgiveness so i faithfully deed what
    this great man asked me to do and for sure after four days i heard a
    knock on the door, in a great surprise i saw him on his kneels and i
    was speechless, when he saw me, all he did was crying and asking me
    for forgiveness, from that day, all the pains and sorrows in my heart
    flew away,since then i and my husband and our lovely kids are
    happy.that is why i want to say a big thanks to Doctor okogie. This
    great man made me to understand that there is know problem on earth that
    has no solution so please if you know that you have this same problem
    or any problem that is similar, i will advise you to come straight to
    this great man. you can email him at drokogiespellcaster7@gmail.com


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