Are You And Your Partner Struggling To Communicate And Connect?
Has your relationship begun to feel unstable, disconnected or unfulfilling? Are you and your partner perpetually angry with each other? Maybe you are beginning to fear that your relationship is beyond repair? Do you wish that you and your partner could find a way to communicate thoughtfully and care for each other with openness, acceptance and compassion?
Perhaps you and your partner are experiencing challenges with communication, commitment, trust, intimacy or respect? One of you may desire a deeper level of connection in your relationship, while the other is consumed by his or her work and not showing up for the relationship or household responsibilities. Maybe one of you feels overwhelmed by demands and/or accusations and feels smothered. You might be having a hard time talking to each other and find that conversations either end in heated arguments or never address important or emotionally charged issues..
Struggling within your intimate relationship can be a highly frustrating, lonely and stressful experience. One or both of you may feel like your needs are going unmet. One partner may be feeling frustrated by the other’s apparent lack of commitment to the relationship and your home or family. At the same time, the other partner may be feeling pressured by too many demands, choosing to retreat and avoid conflict. If this sounds familiar, you are not alone. This common dance of approach/avoidance impacts countless couples. Like many others, over time, you and your partner may have lost touch with what initially drew you together and fallen out of alignment.
Almost Every Couples Bumps Up Against Challenges
Conflict is inevitable in intimate relationships. In fact, you could almost say that it is part of being in a relationship. Our partners unavoidably trigger us in places that few others do because they hit the hot spots of unresolved feelings, issues and wounds from the past that make us feel threatened, scared, abandoned or betrayed.
When we are first attracted to our partners, it’s not unusual to see a lot of what we like about ourselves in the other, which can initially feel fulfilling. But, after time, we also see all the things that we don’t like about ourselves, as well as other things in our partner’s way of being that we did not see in the beginning. We then become confused, trying to figure out why the spark has dimmed or why we are constantly on each other’s nerves. We think that the other person has changed. The truth, however, is that he or she has not—at least not drastically. What has happened is that we are beginning to see each other through a more realistic lens, and that’s when the trouble usually starts.
The good news is that rather than continuing to engage in unhealthy methods and patterns of communication with your partner, an experienced and compassionate couples therapist can help you and your partner better understand yourselves and shift your relationship dynamic into a place of security and connection.
Couples Counseling Can Help You And Your Partner Reconnect
In safe, nonjudgmental couples counseling sessions, you and your partner can develop a better understanding of each other as well as increased self-awareness about your own past and current experiences.
Our first meeting serves as an introduction into the issues both of you are struggling with and to address the goals you each have for couples therapy. Next, I will meet with you individually to get your personal history. Once you come back into sessions as a couple, we will work in the moment to explore the patterns and dynamics that that cause friction, mistrust, disappointment or disconnection. As you both begin to better understand where your partner is coming from—including his or her anxieties, uncertainties, fears—walls begin to come down. This kind of openness and vulnerability not only encourages empathy, but it also develops trust. And, you can learn that being in a partnership means making room for both people’s needs and that creating balance can be rewarding rather than threatening.
Through this work, you can broaden your perspective on your relationship and change the lens through which you look at each other. Once you develop a deeper mutual understanding, you can begin to approach each other and yourselves with greater empathy and both of your needs can get met. Your partner can begin to take ownership for what he or she brings to the relationship and start making the changes to better support and care for you. You too can take responsibility for your own past, better understand your triggers and communicate your needs more efficiently
Benefits Of Couples Counseling
- You will have your needs acknowledged and taken seriously.
- You will find out why your partner doesn’t give your needs the importance they deserve.
- You will learn how to communicate your pain, frustration and wishes to be attended to in ways that get you results.
- Your fears about being open and honest will be reduced so that you can finally say all the things you have been holding in for ages.
- You will learn how to focus on your underlying grievances, heartaches and unfulfilled wishes instead of getting trapped in the same meaningless argument.
- You will learn how to read the nuances of each other’s facial expressions and body language.
- You will see why your communications with each other feel unsatisfying and learn new ways to get through to your partner and feel seen, heard and attended to.
- You will get to know your partner from the inside out and learn things about his or her deepest feelings and wishes that will free you of your preconceived notions that act unproductively as battle armor.
I am a warm, insightful and compassionate therapist with years of experience. I take a nonjudgmental, direct approach. I give gentle, honest feedback and believe that the only way to become unstuck is to truly confront and address the challenges and patterns that are no longer serving your relationship for you as individuals. The good news is that I know this approach works and that you and your partner can feel empowered to make significant, lasting changes in your relationship. It is possible to learn and express the language of emotions in effective ways by sharing feelings in the moment. Then you can create more room for play, affection, connection and love in your relationship.
You still may have questions or concerns about couples counseling…
I’m afraid that if we go to couples counseling I’ll learn that most, if not all, of our relationship problems are my fault.
If you are scared that it’s all your fault, then you are taking on all the responsibility, which is too big a burden for you to carry. In couples counseling there is no accusation or finger pointing. As a couple, you both share equal responsibility for the communication patterns you use and their consequences. The issues you are now dealing with are due to the dynamic you’ve co-created, which is what we’ll delve into in sessions, looking at what’s useful and what’s destructive. Then you can both make other choices.
I think that we desperately need couples counseling, but my partner refuses to attend.
In all honesty, couples counseling is most effective when both partners are willing and present. And, while I’d encourage you to invite your partner again to attend, it’s best not to push or threaten. If your partner remains resistant, you can come in on your own and use the sessions to look at what you’re bringing to the relationship and develop skills that can help improve communication and connection. Also, when one partner attends counseling, the other often sees the new commitment and positive change, doesn’t want to be left out, and eventually decides to follow.
What if we discover that we’re no longer suited to be in relationship with each other?
When you met and decided to get together, you were different people, in a different stage of life. You were attracted to each other at that time because you both saw and recognized something that you needed. No doubt, you both have grown since then, and your needs have changed. In couples counseling sessions, I can help you and your partner name these changes and talk about how they may threaten the status quo. Once you spell out the fears you have about your partner outgrowing you or vice versa, you are in a better position to figure out if you can adapt while still feeling attached to your partner. If so, I will help you develop and practice being flexible and inclusive so that your core relationship stays intact. It takes a strong desire and attachment to adapt and grow with your partner and, if you do, you will have found the secret to longevity in your relationship.
If one or both of you don’t feel that you can include and adapt to the growth that you have both made, then couples counseling can help you navigate a type of connection that respects your differing needs in ways that are comfortable and acceptable to you. Many couples I see who don’t feel they can handle the new needs in their partner use counseling to separate but remain connected as individuals with long, deep and meaningful histories. They give up the romantic commitments, but reshape the relationship to suit the different place they have both come to.
If you decide that you are no longer a good match, I can help you amicably and thoughtfully navigate the end of your relationship. Either way, the couples counseling process can help you both figure out what you want so that you can cultivate fulfillment and happiness in your life.
You Can Communicate With Passion And Compassion
I invite you to take the next step and call me at 310-985-2491 to schedule an initial appointment. You, your partner and your relationship are well worth investing in.