“Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don’t know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings“. Anaïs Nin!
We live in a pretty stressful world today that makes it more challenging to maintain a healthy, loving relationship. Statistics show that 60 percent of marriages end in divorce and the average couple might be unhappy for over six years before seeking counselling. By this stage, one partner may have emotionally left the relationship, core problems become harder to identify and get them fixed. Seeking professional help earlier might have saved the relationship and rebuild intimacy.
How do you know that it’s time to seek help?
If you are constantly asking yourself: ‘is my relationship in a rut?’; ‘why are we always fighting?”; ‘why there’s no spark in my life and relationship?’; ‘why can’t I find a satisfying relationship?; ‘why am I always attracted to the wrong person?‘ and if the answer is ‘yes’ to any of these questions, you are likely to benefit from individual, relationship or family counselling.
By all means make your best effort to improve your relationship and repair what is broken on your own. However if the negative patterns keep recurring, then it’s time to seek professional help. The more entrenched the problems, the longer it takes to resolve them, and in some cases irreparable damage can occur if the situation undergoes extreme deterioration.
Signs you might need professional help:
- When you are not able to talk to each other freely and respectfully about anything in your relationship.
- When one partner feels judged, shamed, disregarded, insecure or constantly walking on eggshells.
- Loss of intimacy / connection; secrets are kept from your partner.
- Contemplating or are having an affair.
- Relying on drugs & alcohol to relieve stress/numb your feelings.
- Living separate lives, you are becoming like roommates than a couple.
- You feel everything would be OK if he/she would just change.
- Same issues keep coming up again and again in disagreements but they never got resolved.
Be clear about what you really want to get out of the couple counselling process.
Couples come into counselling with a wide range of intentions, some conscious, and some unconscious, some shared, and some unshared. Some people are content to simply deal with the issues that brought them to counselling and get back to their “normal” level of relatedness. Others may be looking at ways to enhance and transform their relationship into a more fulfilled and intimate one.
Give some thought to what are your goals in coming to couple counselling, as this will help the process to move along quickly. Keep in mind that it is normal for even the clearest intentions can change in the process and if that happens you can extend or adjust the goals. You are not permanently locked into anything that you say in response to the “goals question.” But it’s a very good place to start.
My role as a couple therapist is to assist and guide you to explore new ways of looking at things, to redirect the focus of your attention – away from your partner’s behaviour and more towards yourself and the relationship. We can’t control other people’s behaviour but we can change our own and in doing so will change the dynamics of the relationship.
I can offer you tools or suggestions that you may not have previously considered. Your job is to be as honest and engaged as you can be and to explore new possibilities. Many of us try to minimise our vulnerability and insecurity, especially when we have been emotionally wounded and scared. However these are the key factors in the healing process.
Please remember that relationship counselling is not just for couples: it can also be very helpful in other types of relationship, such as with a parent or sibling, an employee, or even a friend.