Do You Feel Lonely, Unsatisfied and Unheard in Your Relationship?
Does it feel like you and your partner don’t have fun together or even enjoy each other’s company anymore? Is increased disconnection, strain and silence making it feel as though you are living with a roommate rather than with the person you fell in love with? Maybe you feel like you are talking to one another, but not communicating, and you wonder if your partner truly understands or cares about you. You and your partner might be clashing in repetitive, frustrating conflicts about money management, child rearing, household responsibilities or other disagreements that seem to have no resolution. Perhaps even the littlest things lead to arguments and mutual anger, disappointment and hurt, and you’ve begun avoiding conversations in an attempt to maintain peace. Do you feel disillusioned and misunderstood by the person who you long to feel closest to? Do you wish you and your partner could foster effective communication and lasting intimacy in your relationship?
Facing relationship issues can be a confusing, overwhelming and disheartening experience. It may be that you and your partner are getting along well right now, but you worry that you are steadily falling into patterns that could lead to future conflicts and resentment. Or, perhaps you and your partner have experienced a significant life event, such as a move, the death of a loved one, newly blended families, the development of new life goals or a struggle with addiction, and now you feel like the security and stability you once enjoyed is gone. Your relationship may have suffered from a breach in trust, leaving one or both of you feeling betrayed, angry, wounded and ashamed. Alternately, you might not know why you and your partner can’t seem to connect, but feel stuck in a distressing cycle and unsure how to break free.
All Couples Face Disagreements and Challenges
Regardless of what is happening in your relationship, if you are feeling distressed and insecure about your shared future, you are not alone. When couples first come together, they often enjoy a rush of new energy, attraction and excitement. Think back to when you were first getting to know your partner. You likely wanted to impress him or her, spend as much time together as possible and dedicate your attention to your developing relationship. While this honeymoon stage can be blissful, it’s usually not sustainable. Insomuch, the ways partners pay attention to each other when they first start dating is rarely the way they pay attention to each other after months, years and decades together. This does not mean that there is anything wrong with you or that relationships are doomed to fail. Life gets busy, and when other opportunities, passions and obligations arise, it’s natural to gradually stop giving so much of your energy to your relationship.
However, just because this shift is understandable, that doesn’t make it any less difficult. As couples move out of the initial honeymoon phase and start worrying about children, finances, careers or other daily responsibilities in their shared lives, unexpected challenges can appear. Over time, many couples lose sight of one another – especially during periods of transition, grief and stress – which can leave one or both partners feeling alone, uncared for and rejected.
Relationships are like an accordion. As life ebbs and flows, people grow together, grow apart and then come back together again. What’s most important is how you come back together. With the help of a skilled, experienced couples counselor, you and your partner can develop the understanding and tools you need to come together now and build a solid foundation for your future.
Couples Counseling Can Help You Rediscover the Person You Fell in Love With
Through couples therapy, you and your partner can discover new ways to resolve conflict, rebuild your bond and reignite passion and love in your relationship. As a solutions-focused therapist, I offer guidance, support and effective strategies to help you shift your thinking away from the conflicts and hurts that are keeping you apart so you can better recognize and nurture everything that is keeping you together. I can help you identify the harmful patterns keeping you stuck, get to the issues at the root of your disconnection and develop problem-solving strategies to stop cycles of conflict and avoidance before they start.
In addition to solution-focused counseling, I am trained in Emotionally Focused Therapy and the Gottman Method, and I will draw on my experience and skills to tailor-create a therapy plan that best suits you and your partner’s personalities, needs and shared dynamic. I will honor each of you as an individual – without taking sides or assigning blame – while working to support you as a couple. And, I will work with you collaboratively to establish comfortable, achievable benchmarks to ensure that you both are meeting your therapy goals, whether you are searching for a way to heal from deep hurts or hoping to enhance the connection you already have.
In sessions, we will investigate how you and your partner communicate, including how you actively listen to, respond to and engage with one another. As we look for areas of potential growth, I will help you both discover your existing strengths as a couple. Often, during periods of conflict and strain, couples feel overwhelmed by the negative and lose sight of the positive patterns between them. For example, is your partner physically affectionate with you? Does he or she take care of chores around the house or provide financial stability? There are so many ways partners demonstrate that they care, and therapy can help you recognize how your relationship is already working.
As you nurture the strengths in your relationship and build resiliency and connection, you can replace old, unproductive patterns with new, positive ways of expressing your needs with honesty, compassion and vulnerability. Emotionally Focused Therapy can help you better understand and communicate the hurts and desires at the heart of your conflict. You and your partner can stop rehashing the same surface arguments and start implementing solutions that can lead to positive growth and deep, lasting healing.
There’s no wrong time to seek support and strategies to navigate relationship challenges. It is possible to create a joyful relationship guided by mutual respect, understanding and honesty. You and your partner can enjoy the intimacy and harmony you crave.
I think that couples therapy can help me and my partner resolve our issues, but still have questions or concerns…
I already have one foot out the door. What’s the point of couples therapy now?
As a couples counselor, I want what each couple wants for themselves. I am going to help you get where you and your partner need to be, without ever pushing my own opinion or trying to force you to do things you don’t want to do. If the relationship needs to end, therapy can offer you a safe, nonjudgmental space to navigate an amicable separation. Solutions-based couples counseling can help you discover why you are keeping one foot in the door. In sessions, we can refocus on what is going well between you and your partner and come up with realistic, effective plans to nurture those strengths.
My partner doesn’t want to come to couples counseling.
For relationship counseling to work, it is important that both you and your partner attend. You both contribute to your shared relationship dynamic, and for real healing to occur, you both have to share the commitment and willingness to grow together. However, if your partner is resistant, but you crave support and guidance for yourself, I encourage you to consider individual counseling. You can make positive, profound changes in your own life.
If I’m vulnerable in sessions, I’m worried that my partner will use what I say against me at home.
From the very beginning of our work together, I will ask you both to agree that nothing shared in sessions can be used as ammunition at home. Similarly, the therapy session is not a place to continue the same old arguments you’ve had at home. Therapy is about creating new patterns, not falling back into old ones. In sessions, you can learn ways to take a time-out during moments of heightened emotions and how to respect one another’s need for space and understanding.
There Is Hope for a Positive, Loving Relationship
I invite you to give me a call at 714-783-8500 or contact me for a free 20-minute consultation. I am happy to answer any questions you have about marriage counseling, couples counseling and my practice.