Do You Feel Your Relationship Isn’t What You Want it to Be?
- Do you and your partner have trouble communicating?
- Do you feel like you’ve been growing apart?
- Are arguments and fights becoming more frequent?
- Is sex becoming less frequent or non-existent?
Are you and your partner avoiding talking about problems? Do you worry that addressing problems and bringing them out into the open will only make things worse? And the ultimate fear, do you fear that talking about problems will inevitably lead to a painful breakup? Do you and your partner address problems in indirect or passive aggressive ways? Do you or your partner shut down or give the silent treatment as a way to convey upset?
Not talking about problems may be causing you to drift further apart. Not talking about problems can result in a lack of intimacy, affection, and mutual understanding – and can sometimes even lead to affairs.
Perhaps you and your partner can talk about feelings, but you do so in non-constructive ways. Do you use provocative language ort resort to blaming and criticism? Do you say intentionally hurtful things or use a tone of voice or body language that undermines constructive communication? Do you find yourselves getting into a hurt-and-be-hurt kind of communication? Do you try to win arguments? Or are you and your partner simply drifting further and further apart?
With the help of a couples therapy, I can help you learn the tools necessary for communicating in compassionate, non-aggressive ways so that you can begin to cultivate an environment of mutual respect and intimacy.
All Couples Have Challenges
We all know the stories in which the couple meets, falls in love, and lives happily ever after. If only it were that simple! The reality, however, is that long-term, satisfying relationships take work. All relationships have their ups and downs. Problems, misunderstandings and hurt feelings are inevitable in any long-term relationship. The important thing is how do you, as a couple, deal with them?
Many couples haven’t learned that talking about their feelings in healthy and productive ways can actually bring them closer together and make them a stronger and happier couple. Other couples struggle to talk about their problems with sensitivity and empathy. Talking to your partner the way you want to be talked to is more productive than overpowering your partner with aggressive words and actions. However, this is easier said than done when you’re feeling hurt or angry. And if you grew up in a family where your parents didn’t have good communication skills, then it’s understandable that you never really learned how to talk out problems in a constructive way.
Thankfully, couples therapy can help you learn how to improve your communication and deepen feelings of closeness and intimacy.
Couples Therapy Can Help You Improve Your Relationship
Common things couples struggle with often include sex, money, parenting, infidelity, not feeling understood, lack of closeness, or destructive arguing and fighting. Oftentimes, however, these arguments are really about needs that not being met in the relationship. In therapy sessions I give couples the opportunity to take a deep, introspective look at themselves and to get to the heart of the issues that are driving their arguments in a safe and respectful environment.
For example, after three years of marriage, Mary and John were finding themselves increasingly distant from each other. They stopped having sex and started to become more like roommates. John began fantasizing about having an affair with one of his co-workers while Mary devoted her attention to the kids. After starting couples counseling, Mary and John realized that unspoken hurts and resentment had had built up over time, resulting in each of them pulling back emotionally and looking outside their relationship to get needs met. Being able to acknowledge these feelings and communicate them to each other allowed Mary and John to reconnect emotionally, including the return of their sexual passion for each other.
How Does Couple Therapy Work?
As a couples therapist I help establish a safe space to talk openly and honestly about what is going on in your relationship. Respect and sensitivity are key components of this safe space. Our work may involve helping you to put your feelings into words so that your needs, feelings and perspective can be heard by your partner. It might also involve helping you hear what your partner is trying to tell you.
Couples therapy can also help to identify patterns of relating that go back to your parents and early childhood, which can help free you from repeating problematic behaviors that you’re not aware of. Some couples are helped by homework assignments. Others need a safe place to practice new ways of communicating before they are able to do so on their own. Every couple is different, so what actually occurs in sessions can vary, depending on what is needed.
I help couples address these concerns by:
- Creating a safe space in which you can talk about difficult feelings
- Identifying and discussing problematic patterns that keep getting repeated
- Helping you learn better ways to improve communication
- Deepening your understanding of each other’s perspective
- Working to create more satisfying and enriching intimacy
Think of couples therapy as an investment in your relationship and a commitment to doing all that you can to make your relationship as fulfilling and as satisfying as possible. You and your partner can send yourselves a powerful message by deciding to seek help together, one which says that this relationship is important enough to put your time, money, and heart on the line. While it’s common for couples to feel anxious and perhaps a kind of defeat in deciding to see a couple’s therapist, the ultimate statement you are making is that you want to make this relationship work.
I’ve been working with couples for over 30 years. I’ve helped many couples resolve problems that enable them to be more open with each other and to feel closer and more loving.
Common Questions About Couples Therapy
If we need couples therapy, does that mean we have a bad relationship?
People come in for couple counseling for a variety of reasons. Some couples are in a crisis or have specific issues they need help with, but they have difficulty constructively talking about the problem. These couples have a basically good relationship that needs help to either get through the crisis or to be more effective in resolving the problems that are going on.
I feel my relationship is beyond repair. Can couples therapy still help me?
Some couples have relationships in which there is not a good match or where problems have gone on for so long that it’s not really possible to salvage the relationship. For these couples, couple counseling can provide support to navigate the painful process of separating in as sensitive way as possible.
I feel I have an okay relationship, but I sometimes think it can be better. Can couples therapy help?
Couples therapy is not just for relationships that are having problems. Many couples view couples therapy as an essential way to ensure that an already strong relationship remains strong. They make use of counseling as a “tune-up” or as a way to improve on what is already a committed and rewarding relationship. Your car needs periodic maintenance to keep running smoothly—relationships can benefit in the same way.
Couples Therapy Can Help You Get Your Relationship Back on Track
If you’re thinking about seeing a couples therapist, my advice is to do so now. The longer you put off getting help, the more problems have a chance to grow roots and the more difficult it can be to work things out. Setting up an initial consultation will give you and your partner an opportunity to talk about what’s going on, and will give me an idea of how you interact as a couple. You’ll also have the opportunity to find out how I think and work with couples. If it feels like a good fit, we can then put together a game plan for moving forward.
To ask any questions you have about my practice or to set up an appointment, please feel free to contact me by clicking on the button below.