Feeling Uncared for?
Couples Counseling Can Help!
One of the most meaningful relationships you can have in your life is the one you have with your lover. We share ourselves emotionally and physically in a romantic relationship in ways we never would with another person. We feel more intensely and tend to be more vulnerable with our partners. Think about those early days of your relationship – they were great, right??? Time passes by like it doesn’t exist, you can’t stop touching each other, you can talk for HOURS… Those amazingly positive experiences lead to falling in love. It feels like nothing can ever break you apart!
But of course things change. They always do. The change is absolutely normal – but it sure is painful! This same person who is your EVERYTHING and who you have opened up to in ways you never thought possible now does something hurtful. You react in defensiveness or anger. Soon a conflict starts. Before you know it, you both are feeling alone, hurt, and misunderstood. You want to repair the conflict, but that means being vulnerable. Before, being vulnerable was a good thing. Now, it hurts and you’re starting to second-guess being so open.
All Couples Face Problems in Their Relationship
It is normal to have conflict or hurt feelings in your romantic relationship. This is because being truly close to someone also makes you more vulnerable to being hurt. As you move out of the “high” and unconditional acceptance of the early part of your relationship, a subconscious anxiety creeps in that you will be rejected for the flaws YOU know you have. You become sensitive to criticism. You begin to see the other as no longer a supportive and loving partner, but instead as some type of enemy who is there to hurt, criticize, and attack you.
Eventually, instead of being open and caring, you are defensive, worried, shut off, or angry. Your relationship becomes characterized by conflict (or avoidance of conflict) and lack of trust. Things start to feel increasingly difficult and it becomes hard to just talk. You become very aware of the “dangerous” issues and you either dance around them (with resentment bubbling underneath) or they come bursting out in hurtful fights.
Couples Counseling Helps You Learn How to Communicate and Can Renew Your Relationship
At the Salt Lake Relationship Center, we are not just therapists who happen to work with couples. Couples counseling is our specialty! This means we have extensive experience and training specifically in the problems you are facing. Our focus is on helping you succeed as a couple. We do this by holding hope for your relationship even when you may not have any. We find creative ways to look at and work through your issues by customizing our approach to meet your specific needs.
The couples therapists at the Salt Lake Relationship Center support you in identifying problematic communication patterns (like blaming, criticizing and defensiveness), and replace them with supportive listening and understanding. You will learn how to confidently talk about difficult topics through:
- Practicing communication exercises
- Learning how to listen effectively
- Self-soothing while partner is talking
- Identifying and talking about your own feelings
- Talking without blaming
We help you uncover and make sense of underlying “back and forth” blaming or avoidance patterns of your relationship. This takes you out of a “stuck” place and moves you firmly into a situation where
you feel more in control. You will gain tools to do something positive and productive. We identify root causes of your individual behaviors and joint interactions, helping you to better understand why you each behave the way you do. This information is powerful because, armed with this knowledge, you can make different, more positive, choices.
It is not uncommon for couples to come to counseling feeling hopeless and lost. Therapists at the Salt Lake Relationship Center help you rediscover those places in your partner that led you to fall in love in the first place. Will it be exactly like it was in the beginning? No. But in many ways it can be better. Because now you can develop a deeper sense of trust and love that was not possible back then. Our goal is to help you reach a place where you can be vulnerable and intimate with each other physically, emotionally, and sexually.
Taking the step to start couples counseling can be a life-changing experience. Many do not realize they are capable of achieving the level of closeness and connectivity they end up reaching through this process. When you open your heart and let down your guard with an experienced therapist guiding your way, amazing things can happen! Suddenly your partner is no longer mean, distant, angry, and hurtful. She is supportive, fun, and loving. He is kind, attentive, and attractive. Spending time together becomes enjoyable. You no longer fear or avoid conflict. It really is possible!
Couples Counseling Sounds Like a Good Idea, but You May Still be Unsure About Taking this Step….
– I’m worried about cost
There is no getting around the fact that couples counseling is an investment in time, effort, and money. But like anything worthwhile, it is an investment that has payoffs, some of which are priceless:
- Feeling consistently supported and loved by your partner
- Knowing how to confidently communicate
- Feeling close and connected in your relationship
- Living a happier, more peaceful, and healthier life
– We’ve been to couples counseling before, and had a bad experience. Why will this be any different?
Just the fact that you are considering trying again is a good sign! You are willing to keep working, even when faced with past setbacks. Negative couples therapy experiences can happen for many reasons, but it usually is due to three factors:
- Lack of couples therapy experience/training by therapist
- Poor fit between you and your therapist
- You not being quite ready to make changes (because frankly, change is very hard!)
We obviously cannot guarantee that your counselor at the Salt Lake Relationship Center will be a perfect fit or that you are ready to make changes, but we are experts in working with couples. We will bring our thorough understanding of how relationships work to your situation. Further, if we sense that we are a poor fit or that therapy is not working for you, we will recommend other options.
– I really want to come to couples counseling but my partner refuses. What should I do?
This is a difficult situation, as it is much harder to make significant changes in your relationship when only one of you is on board. We recommend that you schedule an appointment anyway. You will learn strategies of how YOU can change, which more often than not, leads your partner to change as well.
It is also extremely common for partners to want to come in after you attend an initial appointment, because they see how truly serious you are about shifting patterns in your relationship.
Other options we offer that can help in these situations are:
- Discernment Counseling, a type of specialized short-term counseling specifically for couples where one of you wants to work on the relationship and the other does not
- Relationship Counseling for Individuals, which allows you to explore and change the dynamics of your relationship even if your partner does not participate
- A brief, no-cost phone consultation for your reluctant partner – this can make all the difference in removing discomfort or fears about the therapy process
– I’m worried that couples therapy might make things worse
This is a common concern because it can feel scary to start dealing directly with the issues in your relationship. Without therapy, many couples fall into a pattern of avoiding difficulties which, over time, DEFINITELY makes things worse. Counseling may feel hard at times, but there is no doubt that it is setting you on a path to making positive change. Change will happen whether you want it or not, but couples counseling gives you more confidence in how you move forward in your relationship.
It is Possible to Have a Close and Meaningful Relationship
We are ready to support you and your partner in shifting to deep and lasting change. We are ready to teach you new communication skills. We are ready to show you how to REALLY connect with your partner.
Are you ready?