No one is perfect. The best path to a happy and committed relationship is not to ignore what bothers you, but to work it out together…while still making time to enjoy the things you already love.

How do you manage a partner who is a little too clingy? Or has an annoying habit of picking his teeth in public? Or sometimes doesn’t really listen to what you’re saying?

The best way is to be straightforward and work with the behavior or issue head on. Here are five common relationship complaints and a good place to start working on each.

  1. Cruise control after the chase. Are you in a relationship where your partner isn’t pursuing you as much as he used to? Are you starting to feel as if he doesn’t care? Approach him and say, “I’m feeling insecure in our relationship. I want you to make an effort and plan the next date.”

  2. Tuning out. Did your partner start out as a good listener but somewhere along the way the listening stopped? Do you feel disconnected? Let your partner know. Sometimes it’s better to address the issue in the moment than to start a more general conversation. When you have something to share, make time to share in person rather than over the phone. Once you have eye contact, try sharing. See if you get different results. If not, it may be time to talk about how you want to be heard. Explain that you value reflective listening and an engaged partner, and tell him how it makes you feel when he listens to you.

  3. Growing the career but not the relationship. Is your partner professionally motivated but relationship passive? Share with him that when he puts work before you it makes you feel unimportant, disconnected and unsatisfied in your relationship. Don’t let someone hide behind his work. Help him understand how you feel. With your feelings in mind, he may be motivated to make a change.

  4. Unintentional selfishness. Many people who have been single and on their own for a while fall into this common issue. This trait isn’t always a deal-breaker. Before you break up, try speaking about the behaviors that bother you. You could say, “I feel frustrated and I want you to speak with me before making plans for both of us.” When you have expressed yourself, try setting relationship goals. As soon as you go from dating to being in a relationship, it’s time to set some goals. Make a list of ways you want to see your relationship grow. Pick one way (perhaps the easiest one) and talk to your partner about it. Spend a week or a few weeks working on each goal. Shared goals are a great way to change the focus to “we” rather than “me.”

  5. Unengaged or scattered. You might feel like you’re the only one putting effort into things lately. Or your partner might be so full of ideas that it’s hard to pin him down on one. A good place to start for either of these is speaking with him and expressing your feelings. (Notice a pattern?) Share what you’re feeling and what you need. Knowing how you feel taps them into you, and knowing what you need gives him the opportunity to fulfill that need. Then try shaking up your relationship routine. If you always go on the same dates, try going to different places. If you’re always talking about the same things, get a book or game of questions to help you change up the subject. Don’t assume you know everything there is to know about your partner.

May you find ways to grow your relationship, develop good communication and have fun along the way.