I built up an incredible amount of frustration stemming from my partner’s behavior. No matter what I said to him, I could not, for the life of me, get him to hear what I was trying to communicate. In those early years, I knew I wanted him to be “the one,” but I had never felt so lonely inside a relationship!
Criticism, desperation, and anxiety flooded my body when he would detach. No matter how articulate and well-intentioned my interventions, I consistently found myself feeling alone, even if we were sitting on the same couch.
To be honest, it took us a very long time to find a good couples therapist, someone who had heard of dilemmas and challenges like ours many times before. But when we did, it was gold!
At iAmClinic, we believe that there is hope for your relationship. Here are some ways that couples therapy can improve your relationship:
- Practice Feeling Understood
Efficient communication in stressful times is an art form. In self-defense, we want to protect ourselves and defend our perspective, and we wonder why our significant others can’t bend and flex, especially when they are wrong. Couples counseling is a great place to learn how to communicate so that your partner can hear what you’re really needing them to understand. As a third-party, objective listener, a couples counselor can help you avoid the common booby traps and get to the heart of what you need your partner to understand. When you and your partner have a new rhythm and style of communicating, you’ll experience a healthy teamwork budding between the two of you. You’ll find a rhythmic and exciting new way of connecting.
- Tackle Scary Problems in a Safe Way
Falling in love means trusting someone with the direction, plans, and ultimate dreams you have for your life. As a couple integrates their lives, the weight of major changes can be crippling and scary! Thinking about moving in with one another, approaching marriage, or opening up your relationships can be petrifying for many. Couples counseling provides the type of safety you need to approach major challenges without furthering the damage or losing your voice in the process. It allows you to highlight the important factors that need to be considered, as well as the fluff that is just getting in the way. When approaching serious matters, couples therapy creates the safety you need to find stabilizing peace of mind and constructive ways to create your dream life together.
- Make Big Changes in a Small Amount of Time
Sometimes differences in opinions, perceptions, or priorities leave a couple hopeless. Feeling stuck in a worn path of tracks that lead to Boringville, many partners can’t see the forest for the trees. Negotiating and coming to an agreement or creating a much needed change might require a new approach, an increase in empathy, serious creativity, inspiring awareness, or a change in behavior. Couples counseling can help you and your partner find clarity by identifying what will help create the smooth-sailing, highly functional resolution for your ever-evolving lives. Many say that change is the only constant, and if that’s true, learning how to create change, live in its flow, and stay happy are very important skills to acquire. Couples counseling can give you the tools to make big changes and find your passion in the least amount of time.
- Learn About Your Invisible Patterns
Arguments carry a heap of data and insights, but you need objectivity to see them. A couples counselor listens not with the intention of playing referee, but to help you build life-changing, relationship-saving self-awareness that can be found tucked into the angry lines and desperate hopes of an argument. For a well-trained, seasoned couples therapist, it is easy to recognize a repeating behavioral and emotional pattern we call the Performer/Dreamer Cycle. While one tries to rescue and perform for their partner, the other demands and criticizes. The Performer may eventually tire and avoid any pain, leaving the Dreamer panicked, angry, or incredibly scared. One is checked out and the other is anxiously checked in. The couple may not recognize it, but the all-too-common Performer/Dreamer pattern is at play. Gone unchecked, it can plague the relationship for days, months, and even years. Learning to see the pattern that lives under an invisible cloak can change your life. It did mine.
Couples counseling saved my relationship. It taught me how to communicate in a way that allowed me to feel understood, but it also helped me understand my partner, his needs, and his personality. It gave me the safety to approach aspects of our life together that scared me and made me wonder if I was making the right decision to stay and if I would be safe enough with him; not just in a day-to-day kind of way, but in the existential, my-life-is-yours kind of way. But please believe me, I had to learn how to keep my sassy tongue in check, hop out of Dreamer mode, and be kind to my partner, even when I took his behavior as hurtful. All in all, couples counseling helped us improve our relationship, transforming it from the inside out. I can’t remember what it felt like to be that lonely guy, sharing the couch with an emotionally distant partner. And to be honest, I don’t want to. I love who we’ve become, thanks for couples counseling.
© iAmClinic - LGBTQIA+ Therapy, LLC 2022