“When marriages fail, it is not increasing conflict that is the cause. It is decreasing affection and emotional responsiveness…” – Sue Johnson, Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love
Think about it… which way would you respond?
Tonight is “date night” and you two are supposed to go out for a romantic dinner. Your partner comes home late. How would you respond?
(A) You are angry. As soon as he opens the door, you go in for the kill.
“Late again? You think I am going to spend night after night waiting for you?!”
He responds, “Screw you! I work hard. The least you can do is understand this, but all you care about is you, right?”
The argument extends late into the night and nothing gets resolved.
B) You are anxious and insecure. He has been coming home late a lot recently and you wonder whether he is actually working or having an affair.
He enters the room, apologizing. You smile and accept his apology, although you can feel your stomach in knots. Without talking about any of this, you freshen up and you two leave together for dinner.
You spend the rest of the night talking about other things and you find yourself trying to play up your strengths for him, as he appears distracted.
C) You are wrapped up in your favorite show when he comes home. You don’t realize he is late until he acknowledges it, anxiously apologizing.
You tell him everything is okay and freshen up while you really wish you didn’t have to go out tonight.
Your favorite show is on and you know he wants to go out just because he is feeling insecure about the relationship. And why? You wonder. It’s not like he doesn’t know you love him.
D) Again! He is late again. You tell yourself you shouldn’t care.
After all, you have been chatting regularly with your ex-boyfriend from 2 years ago. You don’t say anything to him when he enters the room apologizing for his lateness.
But you do leave your laptop open to the last chat for anyone to see.
If you can relate even slightly to any of these scenarios…
… your relationship might be in distress.
Maybe you are just beginning to realize that you and your partner haven’t been connecting the way you used to.
John* and Kiara* have been together for 3 years and have a 5-month-old. It seemed like they fell in love as soon as they met. Both very adventurous, they spent their time together rock climbing and traveling to foreign countries. They laughed together. The sex was passionate and frequent. They each “knew” the other was the right partner for them.
Now John describes their relationship as being “more like roommates” and admits sometimes he wonders if the marriage will last. They haven’t had sex in months, don’t talk much anymore, except about the baby. Kiara admits she has not been intimate with John in some time, because baby Bekka demands so much from her. She feels completely overwhelmed and powerless about the relationship.
Or maybe you are starting to accept that it was never very good…
Rachel* and Cameron* have been together for 10 years. Rachel sought therapy out because she feels very lonely in the relationship and is considering ending it. Upon exploration in couples therapy, Rachel states Cameron has always been “distant” but that she had hoped this would change over time. She had convinced herself that she could get Cameron to “open up.”
Cameron denies being distant. Further exploration reveals that Rachel used to be very critical of Cameron and jealous of other women. Cameron reacted to this by pulling away and shutting down. Over the past two years, Rachel has given up and no longer tries to engage much with Cameron.
Regardless of where you are at, it isn’t how you pictured it would be.
Lots of relationships endure distress. I can help you through it.
I practice Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) for couples. This approach to therapy assumes we all have very deep needs for emotional connection and contact. When those needs are not met in a relationship, we can develop very negative patterns of interaction that further damage the relationship.
During EFT sessions, I help each person understand and express their more vulnerable emotions and desires to their partners, enabling their partners to more deeply empathize and thus respond in more loving ways. Over time, with enough practice, couples are able to have these types of intimate conversations outside of the therapy room, which creates more loving and authentic connections.
EFT can help you and your partner feel more connected to one another, so that you are both more able to resolve these conflicts and experience more intimacy within the relationship.
It’s time for you to reconnect to your partner.
Whether you miss the intimacy you used to have with your partner, or mourn the connection that has always appeared just out of reach, your relationship can improve.
If you this is what you want, call me today for a consultation: (562) 375-4389.