I was published in Style Magazine again! Check it out! ^_^
Couples Therapy: 5 Relationship Questions Answered
Just like I did with the last article that was published in Style Magazine, the following is a copy of the original article…with a couple videos and 6 questions answered instead of five, because I couldn’t decide on which to use :-p
5 Common Relationship Questions
Why do we always repeat the same pattern?
All relationships have negative cycles. This tends to take the form of one person being the “distancer”, and the other being the “pursuer”. When the distancer feels unsafe/disconnected he/she withdraws and becomes unavailable. When the pursuer feels unsafe he/she reaches out to his/her partner to be comforted and reassured. When the two get triggered and enter into their negative cycle they feed off of each other and end up feeling more disconnected. In therapy we work on recognizing our negative cycles, stepping out of them, and reconnecting in a better way.
I do so much for him/her and he/she doesn’t seem to appreciate it. Why?
You may have differing love languages. We all express love and perceive it from others in different ways. The five main love languages are gifts, kind words, acts of service, physical, and quality time. Take some time with your partner to discover each other’s love languages. You might be bringing her flowers when really she just wants you to hold her hand and hug her more often.
Read more about love languages in this blog post I wrote on the subject.
Is this thing my partner is doing normal?
In a relationship it is less important if something is “normal” and more important to discuss how you feel about it and if it’s within the rules of the relationship. It is very common for people to get upset at their partners thinking “if he/she loved me he/she wouldn’t do that”. We assume that there is a concrete idea of a “good relationship” that we all share. Every relationship is different and you need to talk about what is off limits for you and build empathy for each other in these regards.
I get so angry sometimes and I say things that I regret. How can I change that?
Anger can come from all kinds of places, but the most common case I see in therapy is when a person doesn’t feel heard and understood in their relationship. One of the most important things in any relationship is your ability to be vulnerable with your partner. For some people this can feel scary/unsafe. Sometimes it can feel easier to blame and yell at someone rather than saying that you’re feeling hurt, scared, and disconnected. You need to find coping skills and work on expressing your emotions in a vulnerable, constructive way.
This video talks about the negative effects of blaming
You can read more about this in my blog post on blaming that is centered around this video
The breathing exercises I go over in the blog post linked to in the picture below can help with anger management.
Something bad happened between us. How do we “get over” this?
Be open, vulnerable, and patient with each other. It’s important for the person who was hurt to be able to express their emotions, and for the other person to be able to hear and empathize with what the other is saying. Trouble happens when one person doesn’t feel heard and the other feels irritated, gets impatient, and thinks “why can’t we just move on?” It is hard, but in cases like this it often becomes one person’s job to try to be vulnerable again, and for the other person to be patient with being distrusted. Both are painful experiences and push on our inner need to fight or flight.
This is a brief video on healing after affairs, by Sue Johnson, the founder of emotionally focused couples therapy
Should we separate?
There is no universal answer to this, but barring the presence of abuse, I generally believe that all relationships can be saved. The question is if you really want to save it. Often times we become hurt and distant in relationships and feel like our partner is a completely different person from the one we fell in love with. You can reconnect and repair. It’s all about being vulnerable and expressing your emotions in a healthy way. This is how couples therapy helps.