In order to have a healthy relationship one needs to care for and nurture it. Harmonious relationships don’t just happen by themselves, they take time, energy, focus and commitment. When a person doesn’t look after their partner the connection generally starts to break down. Neglecting a relationship is a sure way to create problems in the partnership or marriage. It doesn’t matter if the people in the relationships are young, middle aged, old, same sex, in the first marriage, third marriage, or de-facto, everyone needs their partner to care for them and receive the message “I love you and you are important in my life.” As much as possible we need to fully engage when we are with our partner, rather than half listening to them or paying attention to something else.
Unresolved ConflictConflict happens in almost every relationship. Whilst it is present in most relationships, resolution of the conflict can be difficult to achieve. Typically people disagree about issues, become hurt, frustrated and disappointed. They often fail to talk about it or they may say things that are hurtful and this only takes them further away from finding a solution. When this happens people often participate in what is referred to as the “blame game” and believe that if only their partner would change then the relationship would be so much better.
Criticism of one’s partner often becomes a pattern of behaviour that is most destructive and unhelpful. When one is criticised a common reaction is to become defensive and/or critical of the other person. Often at this point people can do and say things that they later regret, which leaves the other person feeling hurt, rejected and misunderstood. A couples counsellor can help people to identify and rectify these destructive patterns and assist the couple in achieving more harmonious interactions.
ExpectationsAnother area where problems can occur in relationships is where people hold expectations of their partner that are unrealistic or unachievable. If one person thinks that something needs to be done a certain way and their partner’s view is different from theirs conflict and tension can arise. It is recommended that when in a relationship you share with your partner your expectations and develop ways in which you can work together as a team.
Partners can also experience conflict around aspects of life such as the raising of children, parenting methods, sexual interests, financial management, choice of school, household tasks, holiday destinations, etc. It is important to keep the lines of communication open about these aspects of life rather than assuming that both of you will be in agreement regarding such issues.
Every relationship has its ups and downs and invariably people may experience difficulties in sexual interactions at varying stages throughout their life. Things such as our family background, religion, personal experiences and the portrayal of sex in the media can have an impact upon our view of sexual interactions and how we believe they ‘should’ be.
Common sexual issues people may experience that can have a negative impact on their relationships are porn addiction, erectile issues, desire issues, premature ejaculation, orgasmic difficulties, and vaginismus. Seeking help as soon as you recognise such problems can make a drastic difference to the quality of your relationship. Early intervention can save a lot of unnecessary pain, embarrassment and unpleasantness in your relationship.
Recovery from an affair
When a partner chooses to connect with another person outside of their relationship, a great deal of pain is usually caused within the relationship or marriage. It is possible however, to recover from this challenging time in one’s relationship and believe it or not, it is even possible for your relationship to improve and to become healthier than it was before the infidelity. After an affair, the sooner you seek therapeutic intervention, the faster your relationship will recover.
When do we get help for our relationship?
All relationships face difficulties that are often resolved over time. Often the sooner you seek assistance the better. However, if the unhelpful patterns of communicating, interacting, and behaving becomes entrenched, it is time to seek professional support through a professional before the patterns become entrenched.
Many relationship problems can be resolved through actively participating in marriage therapy or relationship counselling. Sadly, many people wait until they feel desperate in their relationship before they seek couples counselling or individual therapy. Early intervention with relationship therapy is most beneficial.
If you are able to solve the problems that arise in your relationship by yourselves that is fantastic. However, if you have tried and your attempts have been unsuccessful then engaging in couples counselling can be of great assistance in moving your relationship forward and freeing yourselves from the confines of the negative patterns that have formed in your relationship.
In an ideal world, both people in the relationship would be willing to seek assistance through relationships counselling. However, sometimes one partner is not open to the idea. Surprisingly even if only one person within the relationship is willing to attend counselling it is possible for that person to work with the therapist on ways to achieve positive change within it.