Do you Feel Your Partner Doesn’t Understand You?
- Has the romance and connection in your relationship been replaced with distance and frustration?
- Are you having the same arguments over and over again, perhaps about money, children, household tasks, sex or family issues.
- Or, does it feel like you rarely talk to one another at all—at least not in any meaningful way?
- Has a betrayal of trust made you feel that you don’t even know your partner anymore?
- Does it seem that loneliness and anger have come to define your relationship?
If you are struggling with relationship issues, attempts to connect with your partner might leave you feeling sad and lonely. As time goes on, you might feel more and more certain that things can’t continue this way—you can’t settle for a lifetime of tensions and conflict.
But, you might also think back to the beginning of your relationship and long for the person you fell in love with. Perhaps it’s difficult to understand how you and your partner got here. What happened to the support and connection you used to share?
Almost All Couples Experience Conflict
We are born in relationship, we are wounded in relationship, and we can be healed in relationship. — Harville Hendrix
If your partnership currently feels very different than the one you envisioned for yourself, you might feel defeated and isolated. Like so many others dealing with arguments and silent treatments, you might fear that you or your relationship are damaged.
In truth, although relationship issues are undeniably painful, they are also extremely common. You are not alone.
All people learn about relationships from what we see and experience as we grow up. As we watch our family members navigate—or perhaps avoid—conflict, we learn how to interact with others. We also learn what to expect from relationships, as well as how to deal with difficult emotions.
For example, if your parent was generally distant, but prone to exploding in anger at the first sign of conflict, you likely learned that conflict is dangerous—perhaps even physically. You might not always feel safe expressing your needs, thoughts and feelings. And, when your emotions inevitably build up, you might find yourself lashing out, even when you don’t want to.
Maybe your partner had a similar upbringing. Or, perhaps they grew up with emotionally expressive parents. They might not understand why you don’t want to talk about your emotions. And so, as you try to navigate these very different ways of relating, you might be caught in a cycle of lashing out and shutting down.
Regardless of the your specific ways of relating—and whether or not you’re completely aware of them—like all people, you have your unique relationship issues. And, your partner has issues of their own.
Sometimes, you both might be communicating from places of old hurt and pain rather than responding to what the other is actually saying. This can make maintaining a healthy adult relationship incredibly difficult.
Thankfully, you don’t have to stay stuck in these frustrating, hurtful patterns. By working with a skilled couples therapist, you can find new healing and lasting intimacy.
Couples Counseling Can Help You Rebuild Your Connection
For over 18 years I have helped hundreds of couples make significant changes, develop a stronger relationship foundation and reestablish connection. In a non-judgmental and safe place, you and your partner can work through negative dynamics and develop greater empathy for one another.
I have extensive experience and training in both Imago and Emotionally Focused Therapy, two approaches that are highly effective for helping couples deepen their connection. In our work together, I will guide you to work through unresolved conflict in a respectful, productive way.
In sessions, you and your partner can stop blaming each other and start understanding where the other is coming from. You can also find and practice new ways to communicate, so you can feel heard and get your needs met, even when discussing sensitive issues.
As you and your partner learn to be both more assertive and more vulnerable with one another, you can start to develop practical solutions and a new sense of closeness and trust.
The goal is to help you both gain insight and awareness into reactions and behaviors so you can transform the dynamics in your relationship. As dynamics shift and you start to experience your relationship differently, you can develop greater physical and emotional intimacy.
Although couples counseling is most effective at the start of contention and conflict, it’s never too late to seek help. By working with an experience relationship therapist, you can rebuild and strengthen your relationship.
You may have questions or concerns…
What if you take sides?
As a couples therapist, it’s my job to be non-judgmental and objective. I create a welcoming environment for each partner to share their reality and experience. Taking sides can hurt the relationship—and I am on your relationship’s side. So, rather than assign blame, I will encourage honesty, empathy, communication and balance.
What if my partner doesn’t want to come to counseling?
It is not uncommon for one partner to be uninterested in participating in couples counseling. But, counseling can be viable even if both partners don’t attend and participate.
As you work on your own issues and reactions in individual sessions, the changes you make can have a significant impact on the relationship. Often, when one person in a relationship starts shifting the tone of interactions, the overall tone of the relationship shifts as well. Or, the other partner can become more interested in changing too.
The change and growth that results from therapy can help you present your best self to your partner, which can help move the relationship forward.
What if couples therapy makes us realize we want to break up?
Ultimately, how you and your partner move forward is always up to you. I am here to help heal your relationship, but I cannot tell you what to do.
As you discuss your deepest wants and needs, you might discover that it’s time to go your separate ways. Therapy can help you make this decision in a measured, compassionate way. You can end your relationship amicably, which is valuable for every couple, but especially those with children. And, by learning more about yourself and how you operate in relationships, you can empower yourself to form healthy connections in the future.
Reach Out and Reconnect.