Lesson 4 of 7  - optimize your relationships

Nine Barriers to
Satisfying Relationships

Are they stressing you?

By Peter K. Gerlach, MSW
Member NSRC Experts Council


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  The Web address of this article is https://sfhelp.org/relate/keys/barriers.htm

Updated  April 11, 2015

      Clicking underlined links here will open a new window. Other links will open  an informational popup, so please turn off your browser's popup blocker or allow popups from this nonprofit Web site. If your playback device doesn't support Javascript, the popups may not display. Follow underlined links after finishing this article to avoid getting lost.

      This is one of a series of articles in Lesson 4 - optimize your relationships. It proposes nine common social-relationship stressors, and links to solutions for each of them.

      To get the most from this article, first read...

  • the intro to this Web site and the premises underlying it

  • self-improvement Lessons 1 thru 3

  • requisites for a satisfying relationship

  • these Q&A items on relationships

  • options for analyzing most relationship problems

      All healthy adults and kids seek satisfying relationships. Learning to maintain satisfying relationships and to resolve relationship problems takes years of experience. Our feel-good, warp-speed culture doesn't prepare most young adults for this vital task very well. That's partly why this educational Web site and its guidebooks exist.

      This YouTube video provides perspective on what you'll read in this article. The video mentions eight lessons in this Web site - I've reduced that to seven.


      Think of the relationships that have the greatest impact on your daily life and contentment. Then identify and significant problems you're experiencing with any of them. With them in mind, compare your beliefs with these...

      1)  A relationship exists when the presence, actions, and personality of person "A" has a "significant effect" on person "B." Significant is a subjective judgment.

      2)  A relationship problem occurs when either person feels their key relationship needs aren't being met well enough.

      3)  Relationships decay or thrive depending on whether both people can problem-solve (fill unmet needs) effectively or not.

      4)  There are many kinds of social relationship, and a wide mosaic of surface needs that they fill. Most surface problems are caused by a mix of nine core factors. Each factor ("barrier") affects the others.

      5)  If one or both partners are psychologically wounded and unaware, they will usually have great difficulty managing the other barriers. This is a major reason for psycho9logical and legal divorce.

      6)  Our society currently doesn't teach people (like you?) (a) to be aware of these relationship barriers or (b) how to manage them well enough. This inexorably promotes the lethal [wounds + unawareness] cycle.

      From clinical experience with over 1,000 typical women and men and research since 1979, I propose effective resolution options for eight of these relationship barriers. Click on any barrier to learn more about it and these options. Note that dishonesty is not included because that's usually a surface problem.

      The most effective way to start reducing these barriers is to study and apply...

  • Lesson 1 - assess for and reduce psychological wounds,

  • Lesson 2 - learn to use effective communication skills,

  • Lesson 3 - learn and apply healthy-grieving basics; and...

  • Lesson 4 - learn and practice healthy-relationship basics.

      Reluctance to invest time and energy in these Lessons is usually a sign of psychological wounds and unawareness.

  Learn something about yourself with this 1-question anonymous poll.


      This Lesson-4 article proposes that most social and innerpersonal relationship "problems" result from up to nine specific barriers. Seven are symptoms of two primary stressors: (a) psychological wounds and (b) unawareness in one or more people.

     Based on 36 years' research and experience, this 7-lesson self-improvement course offers practical ways to reduce these relationship barriers and protect kids from inheriting them.

      Pause, breathe, and reflect: why did you read this article? Did you get what you needed? If not, what do you need? Who's answering these questions - your wise, resident true Self or ''someone else''?  

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