I get it.
Once upon a time, you and your partner were everything you ever wanted in a relationship. But now, you’re having days where you muse the once unimaginable possibility of a future life without them.
It seems you argue about anything.
You want different things that appear to test your compatibility. The usual culprits are children: should you have them or not? How, between you, will you look after them? Should they go to this or that school? How much latitude vs discipline should you be giving them? Money: do you have enough? How can you get more? How are each of you spending what you have? Where to live: should it be here or there? In this kind of house, or another?
Often, these things rankle without resolution.
But it’s most likely bigger than just that
Conflicts from extended family situations can also run roughshod over your romance. Maybe your parents don’t like your partner. Or have opinions on how the pair of you ought to be running your life that they feel hellbent on letting you know about. Or there’s an ex in the picture who is not, how shall we say, getting on with their own lives in the way you’d hope after a previous relationship breakup.
An unforeseen crisis can tip you as a couple into questioning your togetherness. Fertility issues, or the death of a child, for example, can understandably put huge pressure on a couple. The loss of an important dream – a business or career failure, for instance – can be just as damaging.
An affair can often expose any weaknesses in the fabric of your relationship and will almost certainly challenge trust. A concealed addiction, for example, to gambling, drugs and or alcohol, pornography, sex or food, may have a similar effect, when discovered.
All these challenges will affect you
As time goes by, they’ll cause you to feel depressed, withdrawn even. Your confidence can suffer. You may feel more and more stressed, meaning that, eventually both your mental and physical wellbeing take a hit.
Which is sad. Because relationships are where we each hope to meet our basic human needs for love and belonging.
Working with a therapist helps
In couple therapy, you get a chance to say to one another, maybe for the first time, what’s really going on for you.
It’s my job to help provide the structure and safety to help you do that.
Together, we seek to understand the complex dynamic that right now feels angsty. What’s going on? How are you each contributing to the current scenario? How does understanding your own part enable you to shift your perspective or behaviour?
Sometimes, awareness without judgement brings its own healing. Often, you’ll be challenged to dig into yourself to find qualities and resources that are currently buried or unexpressed. To relearn what it means to love. And to practice behaviours that, till now, have felt alien.
It’s all part of doing the work of healing.
Now and again, it’s clear that things will not work out in the long term for whatever reason. In which case, I support you to part in the most loving way you can.
But, for the most part, I see couples use their current impasse as a way not only to strengthen and deepen their relationship, but to gain insight and understanding about themselves. Hence, to grow as a couple.