Do You Feel Alone In Your Relationship?
Do you feel uncertain about the future of your relationship? Perhaps you and your partner have been together for some time, but something is keeping you from taking the next step toward commitment. Or, perhaps you’re living together or married, but as time goes on and life gets busy, you feel more like roommates than lovers.
It’s possible you’ve tried to revitalize your relationship with date nights or other efforts, but your increased time together seems to be hurting rather than helping. Your interactions may be shaped by repetitive, circular arguments or long spells of silence. More and more, it seems like your partner doesn’t seem to listen to or respect your perspective.
You and your partner may not understand what’s pushing you apart. But, in the midst of everything going on—raising children, growing your career and everything else—you may have little time or energy left to improve your relationship. Or, there may be an identifiable stressor impacting your relationship, such as a career change, a move, the loss of a loved one, financial struggles or something else, and you don’t know how to overcome this obstacle.
Especially if issues have persisted for quite some time, you may not know if the relationship can be fixed. At this point, you may simply want clarity about the future of your relationship.
You Are Not Alone
If you and your partner feel distant, you are certainly not alone. Every committed relationship encounters issues at some point. Experts even say long-term couples have many different forms of their relationship within their one relationship. In other words, as both partners inevitably continue to develop and change as individuals, they also have to actively continue learning how to be with one another.
These changes can sometimes cause discord and disconnect, especially for the countless partners struggling with old, unresolved relationship problems. On average, couples wait up to six years before seeking out couples counseling. That means most people wait until issues are well progressed before they try to understand the problem and heal.
There are a number of other reasons why modern couples drift apart.
With the prevalence of social media and technology, it’s becoming increasingly common to engage at a distance. When that face-to-face connection is lost, you lose sight of meaningful bonding. You may be texting throughout the day to coordinate a variety of errands, without ever really connecting with your partner.
And, so many couples nowadays balance hectic demands and schedules, especially here in the Tri-State area. You may be balancing a career with home responsibilities, raising a family, and a lot more. At the end of the day, you may not have energy to attend to your partner because you’re completely depleted.
Especially when you’re in a long-term relationship, it’s common to take communication for granted.
After so many years together, you have a fair idea of how your partner will react if you bring up something that bothered you or hurt your feelings. At the end of another long day, you may find it easier to avoid confrontation all together. Or, you might approach conversations defensively, already assuming that your partner is going to lash out or shut down. This creates a cycle of poor communication that can be difficult to break.
Many of these behavioral patterns actually come from our earliest caregivers. Our family of origin taught us how to communicate from a young age—and sometimes, how to avoid communication. If your partner has a different communication style than you, it can literally feel like you’re speaking two different languages.
The good news is that you can come to learn about your unique communication style, as well as what you both need to connect and communicate better. It’s possible to feel heard, seen, valued and loved by each other again.
Couples Counseling Can Strengthen Your Bond
If you and your partner are both motivated to recognize and change unhelpful patterns, there’s hope that you can come together as a connected, supportive, strong couple.
In therapy, we examine the behavioral patterns that no longer serve your relationship. Collaboratively, we bring awareness and compassion to these patterns and begin to replace them with techniques that foster love and acceptance.
We work from a family systems perspective, suggesting that every family operates as a system on interlocking parts. If you change one aspect of that system, then everything changes in response. In sessions, we work to uncover the roles you both play in your unique relationship system. As we change aspects, like communication, you’ll also see change and growth in other areas, like intimacy.
Many couples believe that therapy is a somber experience, which isn’t the case!
We try to incorporate humor to lighten the mood. We’re also deeply interested in getting to know both of you as individuals. This is not a cold or distant experience. It’s an opportunity to learn about yourself, your partner and what your relationship needs to grow.
We are also strength based therapists, meaning we seek to identify what’s working (as much as what’s not) and highlight and congratulate those areas of strength. As therapists, we are trained to help you recognize and nurture positive patterns, providing you with effective, tailored insights and skills that work to bring you closer together.
We may practice a variety of skills to achieve closeness, such as reflexive listening, so that you both truly feel heard. We may also set healthier, more realistic boundaries. Whatever your relationship needs, we’ll identify it and work toward increased love, appreciation and respect.
Studies show that couples who are motivated to make changes often thrive in therapy. If you’re ready to take the next step into a happier, healthier version of your relationship and life, it is completely possible. By the conclusion of our work, you’ll both know what you need to foster a safe, secure, healthy relationship.
You may still have questions about couples counseling…
What could a couples therapist tell me about my relationship that I don’t already know?
It’s common for couples to become stuck in patterns that are not necessarily conscious. For example, you may react in certain ways simply because that’s what you’re used to. Here, we can begin to identify those subconscious patterns and change them for the better.
Couples therapy is about more than feedback. Although feedback is important—and we focus on the positives as much as the negatives—here at Brave Minds, we provide you with tangible skills to apply to your everyday life. In other words, we’re not just talking to you about your relationship. We’re giving you concrete ways to improve it.
My partner is the one who needs therapy.
In school, we’re often taught to logically solve problems. If your partner is causing you problems, it makes sense that you want your partner to change.
However, the couple dynamic is not as simple. Both people contribute to the cycle. And, how you respond to your partner’s struggles is likely part of the solution. Wouldn’t you like to gain insights into your dynamic and find ways to communicate with one another better?
I’m afraid I’ll do all the marital counseling work while my partner just complains about me.
Couples therapy is a collaborative and supportive process. Personal attacks don’t have a place here, as they are not productive. In order for this work to be effective, you both have to be motivated to find new, healthier, more connected ways to communicate and love. With commitment and practice, it’s completely possible to reshape your relationship and live happier lives.
You Can Heal Together
If you are looking for relationship help and support, please call (908) 242-3634 or use the contact form for a free 20-minute consultation. We are happy to talk with you about how couples counseling can help you identify and achieve your goals. We are proud to be located in both Scotch Plains and Branchburg, NJ. Online therapy services are offered for the state of New Jersey.
Other Counseling Services At Brave Minds Psychological Services
At Brave Minds Psychological Services, we offer a variety of services from our licensed therapists in order to get you on the right path to healing. Our therapeutic services include anxiety treatment for children, child sexual abuse therapy, therapy for teens, anxiety treatment for teens, teen social phobia therapy, adult anxiety counseling, counseling for parents, postpartum counseling, birth trauma therapy, sexual assault counseling for adults, food allergy therapy, and group therapy. We also have a blog where we write about a variety of different mental health subjects. If you’re interested in learning more about our services here at Brave Minds Psychological Services or online, please contact our Scotch Plains and Branchburg counseling offices! Proud to serve Fanwood, Westfield, Cranford, New Providence and surrounding areas as well as Somerville, Bridgewater, Raritan, Readington and surrounding areas.