At the start of a relationship, you feel important, valued and accepted. You feel you’ve found safety and are complete and understood. Life is good, stress decreases, you are content, and you worry less. You are connected to this other person, and you find joy in sharing your experiences with them.
After Some Time…
Life circumstances begin piling up, and because it is often hard to communicate about the small, day-to-day trials, they drive little wedges between you over time. It starts to seem like your partner pays more attention to kids, pets, friends, work and other responsibilities than you. Maybe it feels like your partner is nicer to everyone else, and takes their frustrations out on you. You begin to feel hurt, alone, disrespected or unappreciated.
If you share these feelings with your partner, he or she gets defensive and feel criticized or attacked. You speak about the same issues repeatedly, with no resolution. You have lost that feeling of connection, and something just isn’t working anymore. You feel lonely even when your partner is near you. You may begin to question your compatibility with your partner, and think you are no longer in love.
Are You Constantly Unhappy, Worried Or Lonely In Your Relationship?
Are you and your spouse or partner constantly arguing about the same issues without any effective or sustainable resolutions? Do you feel distant from or less affectionate with your spouse than you once did? Perhaps you’re fantasizing about someone else or suspect that your partner is – or, worse, perhaps an infidelity or another betrayal has shaken or even destroyed the trust in your relationship. Or maybe you and your partner are considering taking your relationship to a more committed, deeper level and want to develop skills and tools to keep your relationship healthy and fresh. Do you desperately want your partner to really hear you and be empathetic to your needs and feelings? Do you want to feel confident in the strength of your intimate bond, fully believing that you and your partner can weather the ups and downs that so often come with long-term relationships?
It’s not uncommon for people considering marriage to question if they’re well suited for the long-term. You may wonder if your communication, parenting and financial styles will be in sync. Or, if you’ve been divorced in the past or are a child of divorce, you might be fearful about entering into marriage. Whether you’re still blissfully happy in your relationship or if red flags have started to creep up, you may feel a little on edge about deepening your commitment without skills and tools in place.
In longer-term relationships – especially ones that have had more bumps than smooth runs – it’s not uncommon for one or both partners to question if they still want to be with each other. If you’ve been in relationship for a long time, you’re most likely all too aware of the many challenges that can arise and become aggravated over the years. You may be struggling to communicate with your partner, feel isolated or lonely and experience ongoing frustrations when your needs go unmet. An infidelity may have broken trust or perhaps trying to juggle kids, careers and everyday tasks has left little time for you and your partner to connect. You may sometimes even wonder if you still know the person you were once madly in love with and/or if he or she still truly knows, values and loves you.
Almost All Couples Bump Up Against Challenges
Relationships can be hard work. At some point all couples will struggle with something – be it communication breakdowns, decreased sex or intimacy or disharmony over how to manage money, parenting or daily responsibilities. To try and understand these difficulties, we often make up stories that can have a negative effect on our marriage. We may think that our partner is intentionally doing something to hurt us. Or, we place ourselves in the role of victim and begin asking if we are incompatible. When we justify our anger or our actions toward our partner, we lose touch with the ability to be vulnerable and accountable in our relationship.
Our relationships are affected not only by what we say, but how we say it, and effective communication can be difficult without the right tools in place. The good news is that couples counseling can help you learn the skills you need to heal and strengthen your relationship.
Couples Counseling Can Help You Reconnect with Your Partner
Couples face challenges for a variety of reasons. Considering why you want to be with your partner can be a valuable exercise in understanding the difficulties in your relationship. In compassionate, nonjudgmental sessions, I’ll help you and your partner identify, explore and address the issues that are contributing to the negative patterns of discourse or miscommunication you are experiencing. Each member of any relationship brings his or her own history, feelings, goals and fears to the experience. When you recognize the behaviors and patterns that you and your partner each bring to your relationship, you can begin developing more effective, lasting solutions.
Marriage can introduce new complications into your relationship. Your finances are now the family’s finances, and changes in one member’s career or personal life directly impacts the other. These challenges can create distance or tension between you and your spouse, to the point where you wonder if you would leave the relationship were it not for your children, assets or religious beliefs. During our couples counseling sessions you can learn to recognize and address the recurring issues in your relationship. When you and your spouse develop understanding and empathy for one another, you can begin to communicate in healthier, more meaningful ways and meet each other’s needs more effectively.
I have worked with couples for more than 15 years. In that time, I have seen countless couples – even those struggling with significant betrayal issues – rebuild trust, strengthen their bond and develop a stronger, more harmonious relationship. Many of my clients have reported that our couples counseling sessions saved and healed their marriage. A stronger, more balanced and connected relationship is possible for you, too. With the guidance and support of an experienced couples counselor, you can reconnect with your partner and strengthen the love you share.
But, you may still have questions or concerns about couples counseling…
I’ve heard that couples counseling can be expensive…
Couples counseling can be costly, but it is important to remember that you are investing in your future and the future of your relationship. Additionally, if the issues aren’t addressed, you and your partner could eventually be headed toward a much more expensive divorce.
My partner refuses to come in for couples counseling. What can I do?
If your partner or spouse doesn’t wish to come in, we can begin by meeting independently. In sessions, I can help you better understand yourself and what you bring into interactions with your partner. With increased self-awareness, you become more able to see patterns and make healthy changes. Often, when one person in a relationship enters counseling and begins to learn and grow, the idea of therapy becomes less threatening to the other. We can also discuss why your partner may be unwilling and explore ways you can encourage him or her to join you in counseling so he or she chooses to attend rather than feeling forced.
I’m worried therapy will bring up deeper issues and make things worse.
While painful issues may surface while in therapy, both you and your partner will have the chance to talk through them in a safe, supportive and guided environment. As an experienced third party, I can help you better understand the challenges you are facing, both individually and as a couple, and guide you through the deeper issues that may be causing many of the challenges in your relationship.
You Can Strengthen Your Relationship
If you are ready to build a stronger, lasting bond with your partner, or if you still have questions about couples counseling, I encourage you to call (847)274-8423 to schedule an appointment.