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Have you been feeling like, you alone, are responsible for saving your relationship because your partner seems to make no effort? Do you sometimes feel like it’s your fault entirely? Are you feeling alone in your efforts to improve things? Do you feel disconnected from your partner? Maybe you feel like you are carrying all the stress of the relationship on your shoulders, alone. Or maybe you yourself are afraid to address the situation because you fear the worst: that for you and your relationship, it may be too late.
Don’t give up, I offer relationship counseling in Denver.
Diana Pitaru, M.S., L.P.C. is a relationship counseling expert practicing in Denver, Colorado. She has helped many individuals and couples improve their emotional connection and the quality of their relationships by exploring how past and present actions and experiences have affected their relationship and giving them the necessary relationship skills to succeed long term.
Everyone deals with relationship problems at one point or another and if there is one thing that you must remember, it’s that relationship problems are normal. You may be comparing yourself or your relationship to others’ and it seems like each time you do that, you always lose. You look at those who seem successful at long term relationships and you can’t seem to figure out what it is they are doing right, how come they don’t have any problems? The truth is, successful relationships are not problem free…on the contrary, they face problems just like you do in your own. The difference though is not the lack of problems, rather how you choose to deal with those problems.
Many times we may forget that there are two people in a relationship, with two of everything: life experiences, perceptions, sometimes mental health issues, and more. That is to say that when you begin a relationship in the present, both partners bring their pasts along with them. We bring our thoughts of what an ideal relationship is or isn’t based on what we witnessed as children. All the past hurt from previous relationships, the lack of trust in those partners, the fears you felt and for which you built new defense systems, guess what? All of these, although in the past, affect your present relationship: your communication style, your behaviors, thoughts, and feelings and even the choices and decisions you make.
Along with the past, it is also important to remember that you and your partner, like any other human being, keep growing and changing with time. You are not exactly the same you were a year ago, and the same is valid for your partner. As you are changing, you are both –sometimes without realizing- finding ways to adapt, and to maintain your relationship in a state of balance despite the trepidations caused by the changes you each are undergoing. Simply put, as you grow, your relationship grows; when you stagnate so does your relationship, and when you are moving backwards, so is your relationship.
The climate of your relationship mirrors your and your partners’ attitudes, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
The other thing to remember is the concept of familiarity. The longer we are in a relationship the more we become familiar and comfortable with everything, even if or especially when there are a lot of things that may bother us. It’s easier and less scary to deal with “the devil you know” than having to go outside of your comfort zone to a place where you challenge yourself to look what’s not working in the face and deal with it right then and there.
It sometimes feels easier to disconnect and get on auto pilot. However, successful relationships take effort to maintain and require that both partners are connected with each other emotionally. People disconnect emotionally from the relationship from a variety of reasons including boredom and lack of interest, to escape, to heal, etc. When there is hurt or a lack of trust involved, the idea of emotional connection implies a sense of vulnerability you don’t feel capable to attain so you disconnect. When you resolve your feelings of pain, hurt, resentment, and anger surrounding your relationships you will be able to remain connected and have a healthy relationship.
Sometimes relationships are faced with a form of conflict that focuses on money. Many believe that this conflict stems from a difference in how each partner sees value. Contrary to popular belief, money problems in relationships stem from the inherent dynamic of the relationship. Basically, the level of power each partner has in the relationship becomes disputed out of internal disagreement to the situation. When there is a sense of equality and respect in each partner, money problems tend to vanish.
Affairs take their toll on relationships, but they are not impossible to deal with. This is the first time when we feel like we become “truly” aware of the reality surrounding us. An affair brings about doubts and fears and it throws us into the deep dark unknown. Both partners have a distinct set of issues they have to sort through and in the meanwhile the relationship continues to deteriorate. It is possible to work through an affair, by going beyond the details of it to the root of what caused it.
During your relationship counseling sessions, you focus both on the symptoms (the problems that brought you in) as well as the root causes of those issues. Relationship counseling helps bring insight into why your relationship is not where it should be and it gives you the tools (communication, problem solving, trust building, etc.) you need to work through those issues. Relationship counseling helps you in the long term, because once your feelings of pain, anger, resentment, and lack of trust are resolved, they will no longer cause any issues. That is not to say that once in a while you won’t be dealing with some relationship issues. You will, and you will use the insight you gained the first time you used relationship counseling, to do it on your own, in the safest and healthiest way possible.
Remember: When change occurs at the surface, those changes will be short lived and superficial; when change occurs at a deep emotional level, those changes will be long lasting and future challenges easier to handle.
Relationship counseling focuses on all aspects of you and your partner: your personality, perceptions, values and beliefs, cultural differences, sex life, etc. The goal, in this situation, in relationship counseling is to help you find the balance: what works and doesn’t and how everything fits together so that you get the most out of your relationship.
What if things get worse before they get better? Is it worth the pain?
When we hang on to our feelings and repress them over long periods of time, there is no telling what will come out and you are right to feel scared or concerned about it. The decision to face the truth and stare your problems in the face is one that doesn’t come easy.
Few believe they have the inner strength to face “the ugly” but what I notice is that what my clients believe about themselves is very different than what they are truly able to do. You’ve been going through a lot in your life, and the relationship issues you are facing right now are part of it. Pushing them away or trying to ignore them is not the same as solving them.
You take the decision.
There are many things to take into account and balance in order to figure out what is important to you: is the sense of security and the familiarity of your relationship (happy or not) more important than your willingness to be happy? There is no right or wrong answer to this question, although it is very important to answer it clearly so that you understand the consequences of the decision you’ll be making.
What if my partner won’t come to relationship counseling?
You can’t force your partner to come to relationship counseling. I know you wish you could do something about it, but chances are that the more you push your partner to do something he/she doesn’t want the more they will resist you. If your partner won’t come, come alone. This is what I call Relationship Counseling for One and it is meant not to help you fix the relationship by yourself (that’s not possible) but to get to understand where you are in all of this. Relationship problems affect us deeply and sometimes we can’t even distinguish what our thoughts and feelings are.