hether your relationship is rife with conflict and unhappiness, or you simply feel stuck in a rut and have stopped having any fun together, problems in your primary relationship can begin to feel all-consuming and cast a cloud over day-to-day life.
Relationships evolve and life happens. What worked in the beginning may not work now. Other distractions and life events mean the relationship can fall to the bottom of the ‘to do’ list. But neglecting to invest in each other, update and adapt will inevitably lead to problems. Have you both swept things under the carpet that actually need to be aired out and worked through? Are you avoiding the elephant in the room?
There will always be times of conflict between two separate people each with their own needs and wants, along with all the other responsibilities of life. How you deal with this is important. Walking on eggshells and avoiding conflict can be as damaging as constant volatility. Knowing how to communicate and argue well, create intimacy through honesty and understand the various phases of relationships is vital.
Be curious rather than furious.
Louise Tyler | MBACP Accred.
Counsellor / Relationship CounsellorGet In Touch
I offer 3 types of relationship counselling:
Have you lost the spark in your relationship/marriage?
Are you constantly bickering about the same issues and going round in circles?
Are one or both of you critical, defensive or refuse to engage in discussing important matters?
Have you lost sight of each other as adult partners amongst the fast pace of everyday life – work, kids, responsibility, chores, bills, caring, exercising, socialising? Has your relationship fallen to the bottom of the ‘to do’ list?
Do you just take each other for granted and don’t make any effort with each other?
Do your colleagues, friends and family get the best of you, while your partner is left with the last drops of your energy(if any) at the end of the day?
Are you rarely affectionate with each other with little or no physical or sexual intimacy in the relationship?
Have you become like flatmates or colleagues in the business of life or has the relationship developed a parent/child dynamic?
In Couples MOT sessions we look at what motivates you to work at your relationship. Identifying this can be the first step on the road to recovery.
Once you get stuck in a cycle of resentment and miscommunication, overwhelmed with the details of day to day life, it’s easy to forget the positives. Thinking about what first drew you together and what’s positive now can be a great starting point.
I help clients learn to start really listening to each other and communicating, addressing issues in an open, honest and respectful way.
Conflict is inevitable, it’s how you deal with it that matters. Relationship counselling teaches the skills to communicate effectively, listen properly and argue well.
I guide couples through the different stages of a relationship and help them identify and cope with life stages and outside stressors.
We explore themes such as feeling unappreciated, family issues, parenting styles, money and sex.
I help clients understand what personality traits, attachment styles and past learnt behaviours they unconsciously bring to the relationship, so that they start to recognise each other’s triggers and stress factors.
The sessions will enable you to move your relationship forward to a more positive and fulfilling one, in which you prioritise each other and build a loving partnership.
Have you stopped trusting, respecting or liking each other?
Have your arguments become like a court of law, each submitting evidence of each other’s wrongdoing with neither of you being able to see the others’ viewpoint?
Are you constantly criticising your partner and focussing on the negatives? Are you forgetting your partner’s strengths and achievements, the initial attraction and what drew you together? What they bring to the relationship rather than what they don’t?
If there is something specific your partner does that makes you feel unhappy, scared, lonely or taken for granted?
Are either of you self medicating your unhappiness with alcohol, drugs or other addictions?
Are one or other of you engaging with someone outside the relationship on an emotionally intimate level? Is this/was this relationship a secret?
Has there been sexual infidelity outside the relationship?
Do you speak to your partner with contempt in a way you wouldn’t speak to anybody else?
Have you got stuck in a cycle of blame, retaliation and playing the game of ‘the more, the more’……..the more you ask, the more I won’t do it, the more you hurt me, the more I’ll hurt you.
In Couples SOS sessions we go back to basics, beginning with creating a new respect for each other as two individuals, with all the experiences, feelings, stressors and personality traits we bring to the relationship.
We look at themes that have consistently come up in the relationship yet have never been properly addressed, along with issues that have been swept under the carpet for some time. This is done with respectful honesty, listening to each others’ needs, hopes, wants and fears.
We locate the ‘fuse box’ in each other, recognising triggers and vulnerabilities and understanding their history.
We explore pressures outside the relationship.
We acknowledge that neither partner is a mind reader and look at ways of improving communication even when the subject matter is sensitive and difficult (eg sexual intimacy, money, family issues).
If there has been infidelity, counselling offers a calm, mediated space to try to work things through without things becoming so heated that dialogue is all but impossible.
Separating With Dignity
If the relationship ultimately can’t be saved, then counselling can help you to negotiate a new future with calmness, clarity and respect. This is particularly important when children are involved. There will inevitably be anxiety, sadness, anger along with emotional, practical and financial upheaval for the whole family unit. Sessions with a counselling mediator can help you to:
-Make sure your children don’t become caught up in the crossfire by identifying all the issues that will affect them and finding ways to resolve these that are in THEIR best interest.
-Minimise hurt and hostility by helping you both to make sense of what has happened, take responsibility, understand each other’s’ practical needs and try to come to a workable solution.
-Help negotiate clearly defined, tolerable channels of communication when this has all but broken down.
-Find some sense of closure and the defining of a new way of being in each other’s lives in relation to the children, new partners and extended family.