If you’ve found this page you are likely troubled, confused and worried about your relationship. Perhaps you are thinking of separating. Perhaps you or your spouse has been having an affair. Perhaps you have woken up and don’t recognise the person you have shared your life with. Perhaps your partner is behaving in a way that is making you feel unsafe in your relationship.
Relationship problems are stressful. They have the capacity to wreak havoc not only in the relationship itself, but in our own sense of well being and self-esteem, and our ability to enjoy work, recreation and other relationships in our lives.
Relationship problems are very, very common. Engaging in couples or marriage counselling is a brave and important step.
Arguments, heated discussions and hurtful words emerge in most relationships at some point in time. However problems tend to emerge when there is a breakdown in communication over important issues. What are important issues? That varies from couple to couple, but some issues that tend to arise include:
- Intimacy and Sex.
- Life transitions (including birth of a child, death of a parent, unemployment).
- Relationships with extended families (in-laws, siblings, children from previous marriages etc).
Underlying these, and any other, issues, is usually an unhelpful way of relating and communicating. Each partner has come into the relationship with their own patterns and ideas on how relationships operate (often unconsciously). When either or both partners begin to relate from a rigid and inflexible standpoint, it is only a matter of time before problems start to emerge and communication breaks down. Perhaps you and your partner have been feeling repeatedly misunderstood.
Why does communication breakdown?
At the start of a relationship (the honeymoon period) we idealise our partners – we think they are the most wonderful person who will do anything for us. Holding such an inflated view allows us to downplay their flaws and to easily consider our partners perspectives and ideas.
Over time, we begin to realise that those little flaws that never bothered us at the start become more and more aggravating. It also becomes apparent that there are times our partner is not as considerate of what we want and in fact can seem quite selfish. If there isn’t a way to resolve these inevitable ruptures, resentment, anger and hurt can fester away, silently eroding the goodwill in the relationship.
Eventually conditions can deteriorate to the point that both partners are more invested making themselves right and their partners wrong, each partner shuts the other out in various ways, and there is a loss of love and spontaneous playful engagement. In other words, self preservation becomes more important than understanding and respecting our partner’s opinion. At this point it is essential to eliminate blaming, shaming and naming.
Relationship Counselling and Therapy can help!
If you’ve reached the point in your relationship where you can’t resolve an impasse and there is no way to communicate, couple counselling can help. Here is what you can expect in a relationship counselling session:
- Your counsellor will listen to both parties in an empathic an non-judgemental way.
- Your counsellor will encourage you to speak openly and honestly in a way that is emotionally safe for all parties.
- Your counsellor will help to identify patterns of communication and relating that are interfering in the resolution of anger, hurt, frustration and other emotions and patterns adversely affecting the relationship.
- Your counsellor will help you to move forward so your relationship can evolve into a more mutually rewarding and enriching experience where both parties are happier.
- Your counsellor may identify issues that are affecting the relationship that require individual counselling. This may include anger management, binge drinking, addiction to pornography, compulsive lying and unresolved trauma and loss.
Here at Bayside Psychotherapy we have a number of qualified and experienced counsellors and therapists who can help your relationship thrive and flourish (regardless of the nature of your relationship, e.g. same sex partner, marriage, etc). Sessions are held at our Melbourne practice. However if you or your partner can't get to Melbourne, contact us about Skype sessions.
Call Bayside Psychotherapy on 9557 9113 to make a confidential marriage or couples counselling appointment.