2013 is a very trying time to sustain a healthy relationship. Here are some of the reasons that bring people to counseling with me:
- Power and Control Issues
- The economy has many couples stressed out:
· From losing jobs or having hours and benefits cut
· The cost for almost everything is going up yet expectations from kids & partner have stayed the same leaving one person extremely stressed out on how to pay the bills and being held responsible to keep everyone else happy. Often disagreeing over money is a symptom of other things going on in the relationship; lack of honesty, different values, selfishness, passive-aggressive behaviors, etc.
- Communication: Often one partner “under communicates” while the other partner “over communicates” leaving both feeling hurt and misunderstood.
- Emotional Abuse and Physical Abuse (please look at my page on Domestic Violence—Emotional and Physical Abuse are so damaging for the victims and witnesses)
- One partner spending so much free time on their phone or computer on Facebook, online video games, etc. leaving the other partner feeling empty and extremely lonely, even though their partner is in the same room with them.
- Emotional Affairs: Typically Emotional Affairs start from FaceBook, texting, emails and face to face flirting. These are significant barriers to having a healthy relationship. To illustrate the toxic influence Facebook has on relationships, in the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales) in 2011, one out of every three of all divorces (1 / 3 !) included the word FaceBook in the paperwork!
Some men and women brush off emotional affairs as harmless flirting—these are the ones involved in the emotional affairs and they don’t like to admit to the damage they are inflicting in their relationship. The majority of people, men and women, that have been cheated on that I work with usually say they feel just as betrayed by an emotional affair as they do by a physical affair.
- Pornography and Sexual Affairs:
Pornography continues to be a problem that arises between couples. Like many problematic issues or addictions, the person with the problem is in DENIAL of the hurt to their partner and the damage the problematic issue or addiction is causing. One of the most difficult things about pornography addiction is that the other spouse does not feel comfortable talking with friends or family about the addiction; concerned friends and family will consider their partner a perv. With gambling, alcohol and drugs these addictions are not as emotionally charged as pornography addictions and this keeps the hurt partner even more isolated since they don’t feel comfortable seeking support from friends and family.
To repair a relationship that has been damaged by pornography and/or affairs, it is a process and it takes time and a lot of mindful effort. Often the person who crossed the line feels their partner is too angry for much too long, they’re too controlling, too nosy and too paranoid once everything is out in the open.
There are methods I address with people to help rebuild trust and respect. But it requires that both parties are willing to be open and work through the stages of this process.
Blended Families: Blending families is a very difficult thing to do well. Often the kids feels the other step-parent is partial to their children. The kids can be disrespectful to the new spouse or significant other (You aren’t my dad! I don’t have to listen to you!).
Parents and step-parents have different parenting styles, ideas and follow-through. It’s common for one or both parents to get undermined in front of the children.
Establishing new family standards, expectations and traditions can be fun and exciting, but they can also take a deep toll on parents and children. Open and Direct Communication, defining roles in the newly created family and articulating expectations so that both adults and all of the kids are all on the same page really helps in this process.
Ex’s: Dealing with the other parents (ex’s) can also be quite challenging. We all know that it is best when all parents can put the needs of their children first and that other matters to be secondary issues. But the reality is, often there is one birth parent who is more worried about getting their needs met regardless of the pain in causes their children.
The Missing Parent: Is when a birth parent has abandoned the child, or dropped out of the picture completely, Some parents drop out their kids lives when they re-marry and start a new family, some parents simply choose not to be a parent and have no contact with their children.
When a parent drops out of a kid’s life, it is especially hard on a child and teen—it is “the painful gift that keeps on giving.” The abandoned child or teen typically:
Worries about this missing parent too much of the time
Put the missing parent on a pedestal (if I lived with my real Dad, he’d never get mad over my failing grades)
Blame themselves for their parent disappearing out of their lives
They carry an intense amount of emotional pain. That pain often comes out as anger directed at the stable parent.
Kids reacting to these tragic events really benefit from counseling.
These factors can make a person wonder if it is even worth the effort.
Why am I willing to try so hard to make this a great relationship but my partner isn’t even trying?
Do I believe every marriage or relationship is worth saving?
I am very pro-marriage.
Safe and stable marriages and relationships are so much better for children and the adults. But both partners need to feel safe and secure within the relationship and the kids need to be safe and secure. Home should be our safe haven from the world; we shouldn’t have to go to work to get a break from the tension!
If it is toxic or dangerous to remain in the relationship, we can develop a Safety Plan to develop a way to end the relationship as drama-free as possible.
Most marriages and relationships can be saved and greatly improved: But both parties have to be committed to working on their relationship.
Counseling with me can help clarify what the issues and triggers are and can give you the effective tools and skills to drastically improve your relationship.