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Common Issues Couple Bring to Couples' Therapy

Of the numerous issues that bring couples to therapy, they can be organized into a relatively short list and because couples work is systemic, all is connected): Need for Emotional Awareness (affecting the expressions of respect, justice, fairness, responsibility, accountability, appreciation of reasonable boundaries, and compassion for 'the other').  Need for Fidelity to Values  (affecting the expressions of fidelity to partner, truth telling, keeping trust, and honouring established boundaries); Need for Emotional Availability (affecting such factors as appreciating, valuing, validating, attending to, listening and hearing); Need for Established Explicit Values and Boundaries for the Relationship (affecting such factors as stability structures, shared understanding of relationships with nuclear family, extended family, friends, valuing sources of income, finances and having strategies for dealing with finances); and  Need for Understanding of Family-of-Origin Issues (affecting, in part, such factors as mental health problems , perceptions of couple relationship and family, one's insight into one/s maladapted schemas, how traumatic and life stage stress is perceived and worked through, and more); Need for understanding of the Giving and Receiving of the Physical/Sexual and Emotional Aspects of the partner relationships (affecting such factors as emotional comfort, sexual satisfaction, a sense of connectedness, growing in closeness by learning more about the partners wants, needs, and desires), and awareness of everything is not within the control of the couple, including Random Events and Tragedies (such as miscarriages, serious accidents, child born with chronic illness, unexpected job loss, etc), going bankrupt, etc.),. Yet the strengths seeded and grown in the other areas can do much to help couples get through such times.
Communication is way in which couples discuss the content of their lives while paying attention to the critical factors mentioned here. 

Couples' issues sound more like the following
when discussed in psychotherapy

Effects on the Relationship by Untreated Chronic Mental Illness (in one or both of the partners) (OCD, ADHD, Substance Use Disorder, process additions, other)


Unhealed Emotional Wounds with one or both partners 

Effects of Unresolved Triggering Events 

Perception of Current Betrayal by Partner

Perception of Old Betrayal by Partner

One Partner Feeling Abandoned by the Other

Lack of Expression of Emotional Intimacy Between Partners (expressed by both partners)

Lack of Expression of Emotional Intimacy Between Partners (expressed by one partner)

Trust has Declined over the Couple's History Together

Trust has Declined Recently Related to Infidelity

One Partner is Eager to 'Move in Together; the Other Wants to Wait

One Partner is Eager to 'Downsize; the Other Wants to Stay in Current Home

Conflict Related to Lack of Shared Plan Regarding Living Expenses 

Conflict Related to Lack of Shared Plan Regarding Children (Will they have children, how many, when, who takes care of the baby/babies, how this will affect careers)

Lack of Knowledge/Unrealistic Expectations About 'The Honeymoon Period'

Lack of Knowledge/Unrealistic Expectations About Feelings (Not Recognizing that Feelings Change and Often Change Back Again)

Couple has stopped working on the Relationship, thinking that 'Love would take care of itself'

Lack of Agreement on Financial Issues (how will they spend their money)

One partner contributing most of their income to their living situation and not knowing what the other person is doing with his or her money


Lack of Agreement About Role of Extended Family in the life of the couple 


Lack of Agreement About Role of Friends (of both partners) in the life of the couple 


Lack of Shared Perception of Monogamy that was not discussed prior to shared commitment


Conflict regarding one partner contacting/sexting others outside the relationship without the other partner's awareness or consent

Conflict regarding partner's drug use. 

Conflict regarding parenting young children

Conflict regarding parenting adolescents/teens

Conflict related to Lack of Planning for existing children before entering a Blended Family

Conflict related to Lack of Agreement Regarding the Care of Elderly Relatives

Conflict related to Partner Not Expressing Compassion during a particular time

Personal fears and insecurities related to issues from Family-of-Origin (one or both spouses)

One or Both Partners not feeling 'Heard, Respected, Validated'.

One Partner wants to break up while the other wants to work on the relationship 


Lack of physical intimacy for prolonged periods of time 

One partner stating that they are not feeling emotionally connection to the other partner

One Partner upset by the level of influence the other partner's adult children have in the relationship

Intercultural Issues 

Failure to set Boundaries that Prioritizes What is Truly Valued

Withholding Secrets; Partner feels 'Gaslit"

Imbalance of Power in the Relationship


Withholding Emotional Comfort and Partner Sex for Ulterior Reasons 

Fertility Issues 

Life Transitions (Moving, New Jobs, New Baby, Loss of Support System, Loss of Job, etc.)

Anger Issues/Emotional Dysregulation (one or bothe partners; The HIGH CONFLICT couple)

Perfectionism in one partner

Experiencing Prejudice and Discrimination from outside the couple/extended family 

Extended Family Alienating the in-law Partner

Lack of Cooing Skills for Blended Family Issues

Physical Abuse by one's Partner

Emotional Abuse by one's Partner

Recent Death in one of the Partner's Extended Family or Close Friendship Group

Unexpected Pregnancy 

Issues Dealing with Partner's Ex-Spouse/s

Lack of Stimulation in Relationship (no shared activities outside home)


Significant Difference between Partners in their Level of Interest in Sex 

Conflict over an Inheritance received by One Partner

Imbalance of Labour Inside the home/Outside the home or both

Financial Stress related to extensive Credit Card debt 

Deliberate Withholding of Accurate Information about Finances (money/debt /credit ratings) prior to commitment of couple


Commitment Issues with one or both of the Partners

Estrangement from one or more children from either partner

Issues with Adult Child/Children

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