Are You And Your Partner Struggling To Connect?
Do you feel alone or dissatisfied in your relationship? Perhaps you feel invisible, as though your feelings and needs don’t matter to your partner. You and your partner speak to each other in clipped, angry words. You can’t discuss who should have bought the milk, picked up the kids, or initiated sex without you both feeling more alone, more angry, and more disconnected. Or, maybe you hardly speak at all. One, or both of you, may have checked out of the relationship.
Maybe you and your partner have a solid “working relationship.” You’re good at coordinating schedules, sharing chores, and responsibilities, and you respect and love each other, but you both know something is missing. When you come home from work at the end of the day, it may seem like the dog receives the warmest greeting.
Have you experienced a life event that has stressed your relationship, such as the loss of a loved one, a health crisis, or caring for an aging parent? Or, perhaps there has been an affair or another breach of trust.
Even a positive transition, such as returning to school, changing careers, or pursuing a hobby can put a strain on your relationship. If one or both of you has recently retired, suddenly all that extra time together can feel like too much.
Maybe you don’t see eye to eye on how to raise the kids, religious or cultural expressions, or how to handle ongoing issues with family. Or, if your children have grown and flown the nest, you might both be looking at each other thinking, What happened to our relationship?
Regardless, by now the wounds may feel deep, and you cannot seem to heal them. Maybe you’re considering separation, but the very idea only worsens your heartbreak. Or, maybe you are already separated and wondering if you can find your way back to each other.
Experiencing discord in a long term partnership is often a painful, isolating, and confusing experience. You want to feel valued, loved, heard, and seen, but you can’t seem to connect, no matter how hard you try, emotionally or physically. You want to be there for each other, to turn to each other for love, safety, support, and comfort, but you don’t know how.
You Are Not Alone
Couples often develop negative patterns that leave them feeling angry, alone, and disconnected. Day to day issues can blow up into major arguments as the cycle takes over. A typical negative cycle may have one person angry and critical, while the other withdraws and shuts down. And as painful and destructive as this negative cycle is, most couples appear to tolerate it a long time. According to John Gottman’s research, couples wait an average of six years before they seek help. The longer you’re caught in this pattern, the more difficult it is to remedy on your own. And, the longer and stronger your negative cycle develops, the more desperate, alone, hopeless, angry, and unloved you will feel.
The good news is, help is available. If you want to have a connected, loving, warm relationship with your partner, it’s entirely possible. Working together, we can reduce the conflict between you and your partner, deepen your intimacy, and strengthen the bond between you.
Couples Counseling Can Help You Heal, Grow, And Thrive Together
Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT) is extremely effective in helping couples repair and strengthen relationships. Clinical research indicates that 70-75 percent of couples move from distress to recovery. Approximately 90 percent show significant improvements. Early on in treatment, many couples find they are able to recognize and often stop persistent negative patterns, and from there, move toward developing healthier patterns, deepening their connection, and strengthening their bond.
Couples and marriage counseling is a collaborative process, in which you, your partner, and I will explore issues in your relationship, understand your negative cycle and what drives it, and learn how to reach for and respond to each other, so that you both feel connected, secure, and loved. Together, we will approach the issues in your relationship with care, compassion, and respect. And sometimes, we are even going to laugh together. Believe it or not, couples therapy can actually be fun! Like many of the couples I work with, you might even start to look forward to it.
I am very transparent about the process. Every step of the way, I’ll let you know how and why therapy addresses your unique challenges. I’m not a wizard behind the curtain who can magically fix your relationship (although wouldn’t that be cool!). Instead, I’m a guide who can help you identify and shift unhelpful patterns, deepen your understanding of yourself and your partner, and support you as you learn new ways to communicate your needs.
During EFT therapy, neither of you will be blamed or shamed. Instead, we identify the negative cycle at the heart of your relationship problems. Each of you will understand and recognize your role in the cycle and how your actions serve to protect you from the risk of being hurt or disappointed. At the same time, you’ll see how those actions leave you disconnected from each other. You will learn what behaviors lead to disconnection and how to replace them with positive communication and actions that will strengthen your relationship immensely.
With the guidance of an experienced relationship therapist who has advanced training in EFT, it’s possible to experience profound improvement in your partnership. Most of the couples I work with come in with significant levels of distress. Through the process and completion of EFT couples counseling, these couples report increased emotional and physical intimacy, greater ability to manage conflict, and the ability to form a strong, loving and secure bond.
You may still have questions or concerns about couples counseling…
I’m worried relationship counseling isn’t going to help us.
If your unhelpful patterns have persisted a long time, you may feel hopeless that things can change for the better. You may even be close to giving up. With that being said, I have advanced training in emotionally focused couples therapy, and EFT has a very high success rate.
Even if you’ve been to therapy before, and it didn’t help, you can expect different results here. Plus, you’re looking at this page for a reason, so part of you believes there is still a fighting chance. Why not give it a try? Why not fight for your most important relationship?
I’m worried about bringing up hurts from the past.
If there’s something from the past that is affecting your relationship in the present, it’s helpful to clarify exactly what’s going on. Although this may seem scary, especially if you’ve never spoken to anyone about this, know that therapy is a safe, supportive, compassionate space.
Here, we can carefully address unexpressed pain and fear that’s driving your disconnection and work at healing it. When we’re able to accomplish this, you will experience a reduction in fear, pain, and anger, making room for the love and support you long for and deserve. You will no longer mask the real issue with the negative strategies.
My partner is reluctant to participate in relationship counseling.
It’s very common for one or both partners to be resistant to therapy. If your partner is less than excited, tell them that you want support in reducing the arguments and distance between you and in increasing the joy and passion in your relationship. If that doesn’t work, have them call me, or ask if you can try just one session together. I can help dispel any misconceptions and create a greater level of comfort about the process.
If your partner is really unwilling to come, we can pursue individual counseling, which can provide you with support and guidance to navigate your relationship more effectively.