Hi everybody, here are a few English idioms to talk about when two people in a relationship are having problems. They’re not getting along, they’re having some trouble between them.

Usually it’s used for people in a “couple” like husband/wife or, you know, boyfriend/girlfriend.

The first two have to do with boats and water and ships. I don’t know why, but a lot of idioms come from boats and water and ships.

The first one is they have a “stormy relationship” or a “rocky relationship”. Rocky like the boat is rocking. “Rock the boat” is an idiom I talked about in a different video.

A rocky relationship means it’s rocking or a stormy relationship meaning a storm, you know, thunderstorm, lighting, thunder; the weather is not peaceful in this relationship. It’s a stormy relationship: they fight a lot. They don’t get along. It’s stormy.

And the second one is to be “on the rocks.”

“Oh, they’re on the rocks.”

A boat on the water doesn’t have any problems, right? But if the boat suddenly hits some rocks and there’s a boat that’s up on some rocks- that’s not a good thing. That’s a lot of trouble.

So if the relationship is “on the rocks” then they’re going through some difficulty.

The “rocky relationship” that I talked about before, it might also have this image of a boat being on the rocks. It’s rocky, it’s not floating on the water. So you could think of it a couple of different ways: rocky meaning the boat is rocking or it’s on the rocks- I don’t know.

But a rocky relationship is a relationship that is not smooth, not harmonious. They’re not getting along.

So, first it was a “stormy relationship” or a “rocky relationship”. Second one was they are “on the rocks” and the third one is not about boats or water, it’s called being “in the doghouse”.

And usually- I don’t know why- but usually it’s used for the man in a man/woman relationship: the husband or the boyfriend.

“He’s in the doghouse” means his wife is really mad at him. It’s kind of funny, it’s not really serious. He’s in the doghouse.

So if you imagine there’s a house, they live in the house. But then behind the house there’s a little dog house where the dog has some shelter. So if the wife or the girlfriend is mad then the husband, the boyfriend, he goes out. He’s in the doghouse. He’s not living in the house, he’s living behind the house with the dog in the doghouse. He’s in trouble, right?

The relationship is on the rocks, it’s stormy, and he’s in the doghouse.

So that’s three idioms, maybe four, about having some problems in a relationship: a stormy relationship, a rocky relationship, they are on the rocks, or he’s in the doghouse.

I don’t know why it’s generally the man that’s in the doghouse. It just sounds strange if the woman is in the doghouse. I don’t know. These idioms, they’re old, you know? It’s just the way it’s usually used: he’s in the doghouse.


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