Is There A Lack Of Love And Connection In Your Relationship?
Are you feeling unloved, criticized or not valued by your partner? Is your once loving and intimate relationship now full of anger, blame and painful conflict? Perhaps it seems like you are fighting all the time or, alternatively, not communicating at all. Is your relationship lacking sex or other intimate moments? Maybe an addiction or an affair has critically damaged trust, causing you to wonder if repairing your relationship is even possible. Have significant life transitions – such as a new baby, a move or a change in career – created more distance between you and your partner? Do you desperately want to reconnect with your partner, but don’t know how?
Your intimate partnership is among the most precious relationships that you will have throughout your life. However, honoring and maintaining that relationship can be hard work. Even relationships that began with the strongest foundation can break down over time. Life brings unexpected twists and turns that can be tricky to navigate both on your own and with your partner. Children are born, parents pass away, careers shift. Over time, negative patterns develop, fears surface and intimate moments occur less frequently and with a fading passion. You may wake up one day and realize that you no longer feel a strong connection to the person you married. You may wonder when it was that you last made love, shared a special moment, or even made a decision without an argument. Somewhere, somehow, your partner became your adversary – or worse – a stranger.
Many Couples Experience Challenges Within Their Relationship
Almost all couples experience times of feeling detached from one another and experience what can feel like unrelenting negativity. Priorities shift, and couples lose their grasp on what initially brought them together.
Your relationship may have shifted from feeling solid and connected to feeling fragile and detached. But, the shift is reversible. In fact, with help, some couples create a relationship that is stronger than it was before.
Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy Can Help You Repair, Restore And Reconnect
Studies show that Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT) is the most effective way for couples to work through painful issues and find closeness again. Studies also show that a strong and loving emotional connection is as basic a human need as food, shelter and sex. ETF addresses our need to feel loved and connected, as well as the conflicts we create with our intimate partner. These conflicts, often turn into negative patterns, can trigger our deepest wounds and make us think, feel and act in negative ways. It’s true that our partners can bring out the best in us, but they can also trigger our worst fears.
When we feel intense emotional pain it is often hard to understand what that feeling is or where it comes from. However, we tend to identify anger, so that is what we show our partners. As your couples therapist, I can help you better understand your intense feelings and address how they lead to conflicts between you and your partner.
ETF Can Help You And Your Partner Move Toward Each Other, Rather Than Away
Our emotionally focused couples therapy will involve two stages.
The first is the “de-escalation” stage, where we slow everything down and address what is underneath the pain, anger and conflict in your relationship. Addressing the ways you and your partner think, feel and act when you are angry or hurt can help us identify the dance – or negative cycle – that you and your partner have created. By slowing everything down, you and your partner can understand what is happening between you. This increased understanding allows for more connection and compassion, which can reduce the frequency and intensity of your arguments.
Stage two of our work begins once you and your partner are fighting less frequently, understand your negative patterns, can talk without intense anger and see yourselves as a “we” again. In stage two, we will focus on the negative cycle that is keeping you apart. The goal is to shift how you and your partner communicate and to make room for a closeness and security that you may have forgotten was possible.
With compassionate support, guidance and a solid ETF roadmap, you can reconnect with your partner – even if it feels impossible right now. Your relationship can be repaired and become stronger and more resilient. Sometimes we are strongest in the places that were once broken. If you break your arm, the healed part of the break often becomes the strongest part. In that same way, the parts of your relationship that feel broken today may one day be the strongest parts of the foundation that holds you together.
But, you still may have questions or concerns…
One or both of us fear that you’ll take the other’s side.
I will not take sides because neither you or your partner is to blame. Nor are you both to blame. I honestly believe that it is the dance, or negative cycle, that you’ve created over the length of relationships that is preventing you from coming together. I believe that you are both innocent victims of the dance you have collectively and unconsciously created.
When you walk in my door, I see your relationship as my client. It is my genuine intent to help you find your way back to each other in a gentle, non-judgmental way.
We both have individual issues that need to be addressed. Should we each go through individual counseling before starting couples therapy?
Our culture tells us that we need to be emotionally healthy individuals before we can be part of a healthy relationship. But, research suggests that the OPPOSITE is true. Humans are biologically created to be in relationships with others, and experience depression-like symptoms in isolation.
We all know that an unhealthy relationship can cause stress, depression and anxiety. But, research tells us that a GOOD relationship can help alleviate these conditions. A healthy relationship can also help reduce PTSD symptoms and heal past trauma. Although individual therapy is sometimes beneficial, I believe that sharing our experiences, feelings and thoughts with the people closest to us can be very effective and healing.
I’m afraid that our relationship is hopeless. I am not sure that anything – even couples therapy – can help.
Even if you are the unhappiest of couples, both you and your partner have invested a lot of time and emotion into your relationship. With the right therapist and approach, it may be possible for you to save your relationship and come together again. If you can, the payoff is huge. Many couples come back from the brink of breakup and report that their relationship is stronger than it could have been had they never gotten to that edge. I strongly encourage you and your partner to try the EFT approach before giving up.
I invite you to download my free report, “Is Your Connection As Strong As It Could Be? 3 Ways To Tell.”