Are you and your partner engaging in a series of ongoing cycles of conflict, unable to come to any sustainable or meaningful compromise or resolution? Do you often feel lonely, unheard or undervalued in your relationship? Perhaps attempts to express needs or connect meaningfully end up in arguments with you both feeling triggered and angry. Or maybe you’ve given up trying to communicate and connect for fear of a fight and now avoid any heated issue and even each other. Do busy schedules, kids and careers consume the time and energy you once reserved for each other? Has an infidelity, emotional affair or another breech of trust shaken the foundation of your relationship? Or, are you beginning to wonder if you and your partner ever really built a solid framework for your relationship to expand upon? Do you wish you knew how to connect with your partner in meaningful, thoughtful ways and feel confident in your collective ability to weather the ups and downs of navigating a life together?
Feeling disconnected in an intimate relationship can be a lonely, confusing and stressful experience. Relationship problems can consume a lot of mental and emotional energy and affect all areas of your life. You may struggle to stay focused on important tasks or to be present with the other people in your life that you love. And, your self-worth and self-esteem may be impacted as well, especially if you are trying, without success, to connect with your partner and reignite the spark that once drew you together. You might wonder if you really know your partner anymore, if he or she really knows, understands and values you and if healing and reconnection are even possible.
All Couples Bump Up Against Challenges
If you’re struggling to communicate and connect with your partner, you are not alone. Once the honeymoon ends and couples have spent real time together, the darker, more unregulated sides of each person’s personality inevitably come to the surface. The relationship and engagement becomes less fresh and more anticipatory, especially if and when fears or aggression have been expressed. It’s normal and natural for these darker sides to play out in intimate relationships. And, the “shadow side” that our partners often trigger is not bad. Rather, it is the piece of ourselves that needs attention and healing so we can feel whole. In a sense, we hire our partners to help us expose and tend to the darker sides of ourselves. And, when we understand and begin to process our triggers, real healing and growth can occur—both for us as individuals and for our relationship.
We also live in a culture that is busy and demanding. Trying to raise children, excel in a career, co-mingle and manage finances, maintain a healthy sex life and foster a healthy, connected relationship is no easy feat. Most of us end each day feeling depleted, leaving little time to connect emotionally or intimately with our partner. And, we often not only expect too much of ourselves, but also of our partners. After time, even though the desire to connect may still exist, it can be difficult to find our way back.
The good news is that there is help and hope. With the guidance and support of an experienced and compassionate couples therapist, you and your partner can get to the root of your issues, your relationship and yourselves. It is possible to come to compromise, resolution and create a thoughtful and connected path forward.