Common Relationship Barriers and How to Overcome Them

Oct 1, 2015 by

Relationships are difficult enough as it is without major barriers to inhibit them, but when things like differing beliefs and past baggage enter the picture, it might seem like giving up on the relationship is the best option. However, more relationships face major barriers than you might think, and working together to overcome these barriers could help your relationship become stronger than those that had no barriers in the first place.


So what are these relationship barriers that you should try working through if you think you’re in a relationship that might stand the test of time? While of course it would be impossible to come up with a comprehensive list that details all of the hardships that relationships face, these are some of the most common differences that arise, along with insights as to how couples work through them.

You have differing political beliefs

This might not be much of an issue if both of you tend to keep to yourself about politics—voting is a private activity, after all—but if you both are rather strongly politically minded and tend to voice your political opinions, this is something you’ll want to address. Many couples of differing political views, for example, understand that differing opinions are not to be taken personally. You might stand on some different foundational values, but that doesn’t mean that the two of you need to look down on one another.

In addition, it’s likely that there are some things that you can agree upon, even if those things pertain to more abstract values. Many of these couples also choose to save their major political discussions for time with others who might have similar views. If you know it’s going to stir up conflict, simply don’t talk about it. (Just don’t let secret resentment grow below the surface as you do this.)

You have differing spiritual beliefs

Having different religious or spiritual beliefs can also be a major barrier, and it looks a lot like the barrier of differing political beliefs. As with differing politics, many couples with different religious views choose not to take it personally, and they look for things that they can agree upon. If you’re committed to maintaining the relationship despite living by different set of beliefs, simply not bringing religion up often might also help; but this depends on how each person involved comes to terms with their own spirituality, and whether reflecting about spirituality regularly is a deep and inherent need for one person or both people.

Aristotle may have put it best when he said this: “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” If you find yourself in a relationship with someone who believes differently from you and feel that you want to have deeper spiritual conversations with that person, you may still be able to have those conversations. You need not compromise your values when having these conversations with someone who sees the world differently from you.

He or she has a past addiction

Some see a past drug or alcohol addiction as a red flag, but this is also something that you can work through without the relationship developing into codependency. There are many things you can do to build a strong relationship with someone who is recovering from addiction, such as learning about their addiction and understanding their need for introspection.

He or she has financial setbacks

Planning for a future together can be extremely difficult when one person in the relationship has financial setbacks, such as unresolved debt, poor credit, or an addiction to spending money. Of course, the best course of action here is to make a plan together for helping the one in debt get back on top of finances, creating a budget and holding one another accountable for making smart financial decisions. There is one advantage here for the person in debt: your outings and time together can be planned with a budget in mind, and when you’re with someone who understands your financial situation, you’re less likely to encounter the awkward scenario of having to declining invitations to expensive things.

This article explains more on how to build relationships with recovering addicts.

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