While individual counseling is helpful, it’s challenging to fix relationship problems from only one side. When the focus is relationship problems, if both parties are willing to attend counseling, then success comes faster.
You just want to bridge the gap; to not feel the distance and separation that you feel now. Relationships take constant maintenance, and sometimes life can get the better of you. Even good stress is still stress!
Perhaps you’ve finally decided to have a child, and now that you have, you’re struggling to adjust to your new roles. It could be that you’re merging families, and everyone is reeling from the stress of blending families. Perhaps things are just stressful, and you find that you’re arguing more, or worse, not communicating at all. Maybe your partner was unfaithful, or maybe your struggle I something less serious. Whatever happened, it’s possible to get to a better place.
Two Become One
When two people merge their lives, things can get chaotic. You are two individuals with different cultures, families of origin, lifestyles, preferences, and personalities- of course, merging into one life is going to be a struggle!
Everyone comes to the table with their own baggage. We are all raised in different ways, and behaviors are modeled for us. Our cultures play a factor in what is and are not acceptable behavior. Through our parents and families, we learn gender roles, appropriate responses, expectations, parenting, attachment to others, and more. Finding a mate and creating our versions of a family with two individuals who come from differing backgrounds can be difficult with so much input, but it isn’t impossible.
In any relationship, it’s important to be heard. However, when that doesn’t happen, things can go south fast. If one or both partners aren’t able to communicate needs, wants, and desires, things like scorekeeping, resentment, criticism, and contempt can develop. This spells disaster for a relationship.
Learning just a few basic communication techniques can really help get you back on the same page.
Whether parenting as a couple or co-parenting as a separated family, raising a child is a difficult task. We all come from differing backgrounds that set expectations for behaviors. If both parents are not on the same page, life can be very difficult and confusing for the child. Confused children act out and cause
family stress, and nobody is happy! Being able to communicate expectations, rules appropriately, and discipline is critical in every family.
We’ve mentioned above that several factors come into play in a successful relationship. One struggle that often goes unacknowledged is time. Time is a finite resource. With jobs, children, socialization, and personal interests, it can be challenging to find time for each other. Sadly, in many relationships, “couplehood” comes last. Therefore, this is a real problem because the couple is the foundation of your life! Learn to put yourselves first and find time for one another. This includes therapy: If you can ‘t be in the same place at once, we have online options for this. Don’t let time be an obstacle.
Secrets and Trauma
Many times, when a relationship is struggling, one or both partners have not been entirely forthcoming. This is rarely due to sinister aims. More often, factors like guilt, shame, and fear of rejection create the inability to discuss happenings that have caused problems for the individual partner. Therapy can be a safe space to disclose, address, and work through these difficult conversations.
Sex is critical to any relationship. It fosters bonding, releases stress, and makes for a happier couple. Sexual problems are common in relationships that are struggling. If the problem isn’t physical, then it is possible that, as the difficulties in the relationship resolve, your sex life will improve.
It is a myth that infidelity has to kill your relationship. Many couples can and do recover after one or both cheats. This is not to say that straying from a relationship doesn’t cause a great deal of turmoil. Therapy can offer a space to communicate and work through complex feelings and move on from the injury. How you work it out and where you go from here is a personal decision up to each couple.
Should I Stay or Go?
When a relationship is struggling this question often rears its ugly head. Making such a difficult decision can weigh heavily on anyone’s conscience. A little guidance can go a long way in sorting out personal feelings and in determining which way to go.