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Relationship Issues

Crisis Times for Couples: the main times for problems to emerge

The initial stages of love leave us blind to each other's faults and the realities of life.  As these emerge the painful job of adjusting starts. Learning to deal with conflict and to negotiate can be taxing, and it may feel that all the love is lost.

Most couples move through several 'dark troughs'. Some people can trust that the relationship will be good again and will adapt to the demands, others despair.

There are classic crisis times such as

•   the first year of living together
•   the birth of the first child
•   illness, debt or redundancy
•   children leaving home
•   retirement and ageing

How a couple adjusts and copes with conflict and change is the hallmark of the strength of the relationship.

In films and books it appears that partners sprout wings to help each other in times of stife.  In reality the struggle for self survival often leaves nothing spare - and bitterness can ensue.  A sympathetic ear and an impartial perspective, in the form of counselling, may help.

Examples of relationship issues:

Abusive Relationship?
Is your relationship abusive or just conflictual?  Early family patterns and issues of powerlessness, anger and fear often surface and need to be understood.  Whether the abuse is sexual, physical or emotional it can be explored.  It is advisable to attend counselling individually in this case.  Good websites can help with initial exploration, see my links at the bottom of this site.

An Affair or Betrayal
The initial anger and shock may be difficult to work through.  Can trust be rebuilt? Why did it happen?  
There are answers and there is a way forward but they require patience and improved communication.  The majority of couples do work through and for many it can be an opportunity to reach a new level of understanding.

Arguments & Anger
Learning to manage the realities of life is tough.  Dealing with conflict is central to this.  Arguments are healthy - they allow you both to be heard, but they do not need to be destructive.  You can learn the skills to manage conflict so you can be heard in safety together or alone. Letting go of anger is essential to allow relationships to flourish.

Depression & Anxiety
These are the most common forms of mental distress, experienced by 40% of the population.  Understanding and managing them can minimise the impact on the relationship.  Through couple work real movement can be achieved.

Divorce & Separation
What is the cause of the unhappiness?  Do the roots go further back than you realise?  Is the problem fundamental or is change possible?  Can the bitterness be let go?

The decision to separate can involve huge practical consequences.  Explore your options with an impartial, experienced counsellor.  Separation Counselling can allow you to move forward in a positive way with resolution.  The important question to ask is "If I leave the relationship, will the problem be left behind?"

Will I ever recover?
Grief and loss are a part of life as we mourn for what has gone.  It is a natural process which follows a cycle of numbness, shock, disbelief, anxiety and anger then acceptance.  Sometimes we get stuck and cannot move, particularly if the loss impacts on an earlier one and grief turns to depression.  Sometimes professional help can allow life to move forward.

Loss of Desire
Sex is an important part of most relationships and it can be fun.  It is often what drew us to each other. But if one partner loses desire for the other extra stresses emerge.  Is the cause physical?  Or does it reveal a deeper lack of intercourse, lack of trust or expression of anger?

Jealousy is a primitive emotion which can quickly get out of control.  It is an essential part of most adult sexual relationships and adds a frisson of excitement and passion. But when it gets out of control is can be destructive.  
Jealousy is simply the perceived loss of love.  It can be understood and jointly managed in all but the most extreme cases.

How can I improve my relationship?
All relationships hit difficult patches. The key to recovery is better communication.  This allows one person to state where they are and acknowledge where the other is.  Understanding can be improved and healing begin as unmet needs are acknowledged and conflict is resolved.
We usually inherit our patterns of communicating from the families we grew up in; but effective skills and techniques abound - and they are easy to apply and they work.

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Couples Counselling, Relationship Issues
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