THE SYMPTOMS OF RELATIONSHIP STRUGGLE
- Do you feel stuck in your relationship?
- Do you seem to end up in the same situations again and again?
- Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed, powerless, explosive, or detached?
- Are you not getting what you want?
- Is it hard to know what you want or how to ask for it?
If you struggle through every fight and the good moments are few and far between, you probably feel alone and in need of help. Intimate relationships challenge us in ways that we don’t experience in our other relationships. We let our partners close to our most vulnerable, most essential selves. You and your partner both have needs and it can feel like a great effort to make each other happy.
You may worry about reaching milestones like being ready for marriage or children before your partner is. You may have chronic doubt about your partner being “the one.” You and your partner might be struggling with recovering from an infidelity, wondering if the relationship can survive. It is common for partners to struggle with a mismatch in intimacy, physical affection, and desire for sex and that can feel like an unbreachable chasm. Perhaps these problems have lead to frequent fighting and having the same arguments over and over. You might feel that one of you has angry outbursts or blaming that make effective communication impossible. Or perhaps it is hard to put your finger on what the problem is and you feel distant from your partner, feel like your needs aren’t being met.
If you’ve been hurt in the past, these relationship struggles can cause unbelievable pain. You may want to advocate for your needs or stop the cycle of fighting but you just don’t know how. You may feel isolated and be unsure of what your relationship needs to make it through. You might feel like you’ve tried everything but the same problems keep returning. Despite all the struggle and heartache you probably still want your relationship to survive and eventually thrive.
RELATIONSHIPS ARE HARD WORK
I often say, “Intimate relationships aren’t for the faint of heart.” When a blowout fight happens or you find yourselves having the same problems it feels like you must be crazy for staying with your partner. Maybe you find yourself asking if the relationship is worth it and wondering if you have an exit strategy. This is normal.
Relationships can be both challenging and rewarding at all stages of life. At the start, a new partnership is exciting and requires a lot of work to build trust. Once you’ve been together for a while, there are few differences to sort out but you may start to feel stuck in a routine. Even the best relationships aren’t carefree. A partnership is an investment in each other, which means you have to pay into the relationship with effort and care in order to reap the returns. Your hope for relief from your problematic patterns means you have the determination to work on your bond with your partner.
REPAIRING THE RELATIONSHIP
A relationship usually has problems for a reason; we can think of them as symptoms of underlying concerns. Once we identify those concerns, we will be able to teach you skills and offer healing so that you can bring your best self to your relationship. Some areas that we may focus on are:
- Attachment Styles. Attachment style describes your desire for closeness, how you cope with uncertainty, and how you communicate your needs in a relationship. Your attachment style is the window through which you view the world of intimate relationships and you can learn to harness the strengths of both your and your partner’s attachment style. If you worry about your partner leaving, fear rejection or confrontation, struggle with intimacy and closeness, are highly critical of yourself or your partner, or retreat from your partner, this approach can help you.
- Healing Trauma. It’s difficult to arrive in adulthood without sustaining emotional injuries from past relationships. Understandably, you and your partner may bring these painful memories into your relationship. Together, we can offer healing to your scars and teach you how to cope more effectively with your partner’s past hurts.
- Improve Communication and Intimacy. We will work to improve your communication with your partner, identify your triggers, and learn to heal them, putting a halt to downward spiral arguments and stalemates. We can improve the emotional safety and connection in your relationship, fostering greater closeness, care, and intimacy.
Even if your relationship has painful moments, it does have multiple strengths. Together, we can identify those strengths and learn to build upon them, giving your relationship a steadier foundation from which to grow.
I believe that individual therapy can be the best couples therapy. We can create a safe space for you to voice your concerns and hurts and formulate strategies to reduce fighting and distance while increasing care and closeness.
Sometimes, despite our best efforts, a partnership is just not the right fit. Deciding to leave a relationship is not a failure; it’s important to know when something isn’t working. You will need to grieve the loss and give yourself time to heal. If you find yourself overwhelmed and trying to figure out what went wrong, therapy can help.
“ISN’T IT ALREADY TOO LATE?”
It’s a common misconception that if you need professional help to better your relationship that it’s already too late. This couldn’t be further from the truth. If you are willing to put the hard work into healing yourself and your relationship then you are already dedicated to the relationship’s survival. This is essential. There would be no progress if you didn’t want to work for it.
“WHAT IF I’M NOT IN A RELATIONSHIP?”
Whether you are presently in a relationship or not, psychotherapy can help you identify what you want in a partnership and how to get it. Together we can identify patterns in your past relationships that point to your particular vulnerabilities. Perhaps you have noticed that you tend to frantically reach for your partner and often fear that they will leave. You may be aware that you keep partners at arm’s length and use anger and distance as a way to remain in control. All of these are common patterns that speak to your particular struggles and vulnerabilities. Therapy will help you identify these patterns and heal your wounds.
I use an LGBTQ-affirming approach and welcome clients of all orientations and preferences.
HELP YOUR RELATIONSHIP THRIVE
You can help your relationship become more trusting and positive. To learn more about relationship repair therapy I invite you to visit my blog. There you can read about techniques to improve communication and understand each other better. If you think we may be a good fit for your growth feel free to call me at (201) 674-5603 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation. I’d be happy to answer your questions.