Maybe it seems as though you and your partner can’t have a conversation without it dissolving into an argument. You may feel like you are stuck in the same conflict, but your partner never really hears what you are saying. Maybe you and your partner hardly speak at all, and physical affection between the two of you is a distant memory. Does it feel like you’re living with a roommate rather than someone you love?
Do you wish…
- Your partner could really understand you?
- You felt connected to your partner, like you used to?
- You could get to the bottom of that re-cycled argument?
- You could share more of your hopes and dreams with your partner?
- Your sex life were satisfying?
- You could have fun together?
Struggling with relationship issues can be a frustrating, overwhelming and lonely experience. Maybe your faith in your relationship has hit an all-time low. Perhaps a serious breach of trust has made you question everything you thought you knew about your partner. You may be thinking that it could be easier to cut the ties and just walk away – even after years of working hard to make the relationship last. Maybe you’ve tried couples counseling before and worked on your communication, only to wind up in this place again. Perhaps you think that you just aren’t right for each other.
Many Couples Face Periods of Conflict
Relationships can be some of the greatest teachers in life, but that does not mean they are free of challenges. If you’re experiencing chronic issues in your relationship, such as emotional distance, lots of conflict, incompatibilities with sex or sexual desire, or deeply-rooted resentments that haven’t been addressed, you’re not alone. In the lifespan of a relationship, many of these things are normal and simply point to a place where you and your partner have the potential to grow together.
Often in relationships, our histories and personalities become the perfect crucible for conflict. We’re attracted to our opposite, or to someone who draws out something different in us than what we’re used to, and this dynamic sets the stage for arguments, hurt feelings, disconnection, and in general an ample amount of misunderstanding. Thankfully, with help and support, you and your partner can choose to work through the inevitable conflicts that arise during the lifespan of a relationship and rediscover fun, satisfaction and connection.
As we all know, growth can be painful but the rewards are exponential.
Couples Counseling Can Help You and Your Partner Communicate
So many couples come to me with the same doubts, fears and worries that you are experiencing right now. For ten years I have been helping people identify and better understand the issues in their relationship. Although it can take time, you and your partner can eventually arrive at a place that you may doubt even exists – a place of comfort, compassion and care. I often hear my clients say that they can’t believe how much has changed since they first started coming in.
In couples counseling sessions, I’m direct and will hold you and your partner accountable without taking sides. Ultimately, I have great respect for the journey that you are are on in the midst of relationship difficulties. It takes courage to sit in the fire with your partner, to be honest, and to shed the armor you’ve so carefully donned through the years. The risk is worth it, however, and I’ve seen couples get back in touch with the adoration they once felt for each other; I’ve seen couples at risk of divorce begin to feel confident about being with each other; and I’ve seen relationships deepen far more than two people thought they could go together.
You may believe that couples counseling can help you and your partner work together again, but still have questions or concerns…
What if my partner and I just aren’t right for each other?
Many people believe that there is a “right” person out there for them. I happen to believe that there are many, many people who are right for us, and that too often people exit from their relationships because they believe that there is something fundamentally wrong with it, i.e., that it’s either “right” or “not right.”
We choose partners who are at the same developmental level as we are, and if we want to grow and evolve throughout life, we must do that in tandem with the person we’ve chosen to be with. When we’re in a growth spot — a “growing pain” — it will feel uncomfortable, like there’s distance in the relationship, and like there’s conflict around every corner. It may even feel painful. This is a place, however, where a little work and vulnerability can lead to a lot of wisdom about yourselves, and a deepening capacity for understanding and love. There is enormous potential for healing through the container of a relationship.
What if my partner doesn’t want to come to couples counseling?
Often times in relationships there is one person who feels that counseling can help, and who feels open to coming in and talking with a therapist. Their partner may feel that they can work things out on their own, use a different support system, or may in general feel ambivalent about getting help. If you feel interested in counseling and approach your partner in a way that is blaming, cajoling, or in any way attacking or negative, you have most likely lost the chance to influence your partner into seeing a couples counselor. If your approach is different, however, and includes accountability and responsibility for yourself, the chances are much greater that your partner will not feel defensive and will be open to receiving help from the outside.
If your partner simply refuses, however, there is not much you can do. In these cases there are other options, such as books, support groups, and individual therapy to help you understand and confront the dynamics in your relationship.
What if we invest a lot of time, energy, and money into couples counseling and end up divorced anyway?
Couples counseling is not a panacea. If one person in the relationship is committed to doing emotional work, and the other isn’t, there isn’t a lot we can do to change things. In the beginning of the counseling process I am diligent in finding out how much commitment and/or ambivalence there is to both the relationship and the therapeutic process.
If you’re ready to find the potential that your relationship holds I invite you to contact me for a free phone consultation. I am happy to answer any questions you may have about couples counseling and my practice.