Problem Solving Inside a Relationship

Solving problems in a relationship is fundamental to its success. Here are the basic steps to problem-solving and keeping your relationship on track.

Problem-solving has a time and a place. Problem-solving has an agenda. Problem-solving is task-oriented; it is not a power struggle. Problem-solving has two distinct phases: a problem definition phase and a problem solution phase.

When defining a problem:

  • Be specific (refer to what both partners can observe)
  • Be brief
  • Express your feelings about the behavior which is the subject of the conflict

When solving problems:

  • Brainstorm solutions
  • Evaluate their costs and benefits to each partner and to the relationship
  • Decide on the best solution
  • Be willing to compromise; problem-solving involves give-and-take

Also, when defining and solving problems:

  • Discuss only one problem at a time
  • Paraphrase what you hear your partner saying and check the accuracy of your paraphrase

Remember, the attitude with which you approach problem-solving is very important. Problem-solving requires collaboration and problem-solving requires that each problem being discussed is seen as a mutual problem.

APA Reference
Staff, H. (2021, December 24). Problem Solving Inside a Relationship, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 23 from

Last Updated: February 11, 2022

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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