Do You And Your Partner Feel Distant From One Another?
Are you and your spouse having communication issues? Do you feel emotionally disconnected from one another? Maybe it seems like you’re living separate lives even though you share the same bed. Whereas you used to be deeply in love, now you may feel like you’re just roommates. Perhaps everything you say to each other gets misinterpreted, so all your conversations turn into arguments. Or maybe your troubles are more subtle—you’re not fighting all the time, but your romance seems to have fallen into a lull. At this point, it may feel like you’re just not very interested in each other anymore, and you wonder: What went wrong?
Relationships are hard. Two people can fall out of love for any number of reasons—not all of which are easy to recognize. There may be unhealthy patterns that you or your partner carried into your relationship without knowing it. You may not understand each other’s real needs, which leads to constant misunderstanding and resentment between both of you.
But in spite of your struggles, you and your partner may find yourselves still committed to each other, wishing you could renew your love and affection. If this is the case, I am here to support you. By working together, I am confident that I can help you and your loved one learn to empathize with each other and fall in love again.
The Values And Expectations We Have Are Often Shaped By Early Relationships
Every relationship has its rough patches. Conflict is inevitable, as two people bring different values and expectations into any partnership. Oftentimes, those values and expectations are influenced by early childhood relationships.
For instance, if your parents resolved all their issues through arguing or yelling, arguing and yelling may seem like a natural way to solve conflict. Or if you had a parent that was constantly ill and required lots of care, you may find yourself going overboard to take care of your partner’s needs, while letting your own go unfulfilled.
Likewise, adverse experiences and trauma affect how you approach relationships. If you suffered abuse in a previous relationship, you might find it hard to trust your partner. Even repeated rejection can be traumatic and fuel a fear of losing your partner’s love and affection.
In order to improve a relationship, it’s essential to address these patterns and expectations. A huge part of a relationship’s success depends on each person taking care of their own emotional struggles. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to point the finger—most people would rather lay the blame on their spouse than take a good honest look at themselves. For a relationship to flourish, however, it’s vital to grow as a person, too. And that’s what couples therapy and marital counseling gives you chance to do: improve as a couple and enhance each of your own lives as well.
Couples Therapy Can Help You And Your Partner Resolve Conflict And Build Empathy
Let’s be honest: there are probably things about your partner that you wish you could change. In therapy, you may find yourself wishing that I could change them. Even though I am a therapist and I am here to help your relationship grow, I cannot force the change that you would like to see in your partner. Instead, I want to give you and your loved one a chance to approach sensitive issues in a calm, controlled environment. You will learn to resolve conflict, communicate more effectively, and build empathy for each other.
In the beginning, I will often conduct a solo session with each of you separately. This way, I can get a better understanding of the history and background you bring to the relationship. From there, I will meet with both you and your partner together. It’s important to know that I can accommodate couples of any kind in my counseling practice—gay, lesbian, trans, married or unmarried. I want to provide an atmosphere of warmth and acceptance no matter who you are or the nature of your relationship issues.
In sessions together, I will help you and your loved one explore who you were before you met each other and how your past impacts who you are today. We will look at past relationships with parents, caregivers, and partners to see if there are patterns unconsciously influencing your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors today. That said, my ultimate goal is not to dwell on the past. I want to help you and your spouse find practical ways to deescalate conflict and find peace in the present. I will help you model healthier and more effective communication techniques so that you can reduce the chance for unnecessary conflicts to arise. In general, there are six basic things that couples therapy will help you do:
1. Adopt new perspectives
2. Modify behaviors
3. End emotional avoidance
4. Improve communication
5. Reinforce your strengths
6. Identify and build empathy
Scientific research on couples therapy has consistently found that when these six areas are addressed, the healing process goes more smoothly and effectively. By bringing change into every area of your relationship, you can reduce tension and connect on a deeper level.
There is a wide array of approaches I draw inspiration from in therapy. One of the most common is the Gottman Method, an approach that looks at what makes relationships fall apart and what can be done to revitalize them. The Gottman approach to counseling seeks to reduce miscommunication, build empathy, increase intimacy, and remove the barriers that make your relationship feel stuck.
Additionally, I draw heavily from Emotionally-Focused Therapy (EFT). At its core, EFT aims to help you communicate based on your own individual emotions instead of always focusing on your partner’s flaws. If something your spouse does makes you feel frustrated, for instance, EFT will teach you to express how you feel instead of making critical or hostile remarks.
In the end, the goal of all my approaches is to help you and your partner come to love each other in a deeper way. By taking responsibility for yourself and working on your own emotional struggles, you can experience healing, renewal, and peace in your relationship.
You may have some concerns about couples and marriage therapy…
Things aren’t that bad. Why should we seek counseling?
You don’t have to be on the brink of divorce or screaming at each other every day to come to counseling. Therapy is a chance to be proactive and break unhealthy patterns before they get worse. The things you and your loved one learn here will equip you with the strength and resources to weather your storms for years to come.
My partner doesn’t want to go to therapy because they don’t like talking about their feelings.
I will never discuss anything you or your loved one are uncomfortable with. If your partner has a tough time opening up, that’s okay. I will help them improve their lives on their own terms, not mine. That means giving them time and space to explore their feelings at their own pace. Conversely, if you don’t want to go to therapy but your partner does, I encourage you to give it a try. After all, if you don’t like therapy, I can’t make you stay.
We don’t want to stay together, so why should we bother with couples therapy?
Even if you and your loved one are about to go your separate ways, therapy is still important. I can help you uncouple amicably and peacefully, ensuring that there is closure and resolution in your breakup or divorce. What’s more, if both of you have children, therapy can help you maintain a healthy co-parenting relationship going forward.
Come To Love Your Partner In A Deeper Way
If you and your partner feel isolated and distant from each other, I encourage you to take heart. As a couples therapist, I can equip you both with the skills to solve communication issues and renew your affection for each other. To get started, you can call 609-316-6696 for a free, 10-to-15-minute phone consultation or contact me via email or my online scheduling system.
Right now, because of COVID-19, all my couples and marriage counseling sessions are conducted via phone or online.