Many couples recognize they have different feelings about their partnership, but they hesitate to seek expert help. When you're feeling trapped in a loving relationship, you could resort to behaviors that break your typical pattern. These behaviors could make it hard to live in the same household. They may hurt you and your partner in ways that feel impossible to fix. Try these tips to keep your relationship from completely breaking down as you consider couples therapy.
Beware of Negative Thought Processes
As the new behaviors continue between you, it might seem like your relationship cannot be saved. If you allow yourself to engage in negative thought processes, then you could quickly jump to conclusions. This could result in you making accusations against your partner, which will not be received well. Accusations are common when one or both partners feel that the trust has been broken, but these types of statements put the relationship more quickly into a downward spiral. Please consider whether you need couples therapy to stop any hurtful patterns that are occurring. In therapy, you can both talk about the most pressing issues and try to resolve them. Minor issues can be saved until your joint communication pattern has improved.
Recognize Things Have Changed
Many people enter a long-term relationship feeling positive about the future, but their lifestyles may change over time. Imagine that your kids have moved out and now there are just two of you in the home for the first time in decades. If you begin to doubt a future with your partner because of new developments, including lack of communication and sleeping in different rooms, it will be hard to focus on what your partner needs. It is understandable that your distressed relationship now makes you feel sad, angry, hurt, depressed, or resentful. It's common to search for Band-Aids to get through these rough patches, but, the long-term damage to a relationship is tough to repair. Without both partners making changes, it could be difficult to save the relationship.
Commit to Changing Your Own Behavior
If you recognize that there is trouble on the home front, then you must commit to changing your behavior. You cannot blame all of the relationship problems on yourself or your partner. Both of you have to recognize what you are doing that is hurting the mutual bond. If you can stop doing certain negative things, then you can start couples therapy. Refraining from negative behaviors can give couples therapy a chance to work! On the other hand, not changing your behavior could limit the progress you both will make in therapy sessions.
Learn New Patterns of Communication
When you consider entering couples therapy, you could find yourself working with different types of therapists. Some therapists talk a lot, and others only occasionally give their perspective of what is going on between you. Some therapists will give you workbooks or journals to complete prior to each therapy session so you are fully prepared to discuss the topic on the agenda. You and your partner need to find a therapist who makes you feel comfortable and that it's safe to share without fear of shame or blame. If you and your partner can learn new patterns of communication and avoid your go-to behaviors, then you might not require therapy the next time that your relationship faces a crisis. Go-to behaviors are what we resort to when we feel overly stressed or on the defensive. Some ways that we communicate go back to issues from our childhood or how we communicated in past relationships. You can change behaviors and develop new habits that facilitate honest, constructive communication. Don't hold things back because you are trying to be kind. Don't say hurtful things to steer the conversation away from the issue at hand.
For more details about scheduling couples therapy, please contact me today!