Relationship Issues

Q: My relationship is a disaster! Can you help?

While every relationship, and every struggling relationship is unique, there are some common dynamics that are often in play. For most people, the beginning of a relationship is a magical time. The world seems to feel and look different, your partner seems to be surround by an aura of specialness, and life is simply amazing. While some couples are able to hold onto that magic, most cannot. As the relationship settles in and settles down, there are conflicts, arguments, and disappointments.

At this point, some relationships grow stronger, while others weaken. Most often, communication, learning to set and maintain healthy boundaries,  and individuals states of psychological health are the key factors. When relationships sour, most often it is one (or more) of these three areas that need work.

Another important factor is how deep the damage runs and how difficult the problems are to solve. While some relationships need relatively minor tweaking to be set on a stable a growing path, others simply seem to ultimately be past the point of no return. The way to identify if a relationship is salvageable is to do a thorough assessment of the factors involved. Then, with a clear eye as to the true state of the relationship, the answers often become clear.

Q: What if my partner doesn't want to come to therapy?

One of the fortunate things about relationships is that both partners have strong effects on each other. And so, even if one partner doesn't want to attend therapy, if the other partner is coming and making real changes in how she or he interacts in the relationship, the relationship as a whole will ultimately change.

In some cases, that change is for the better. Things improve, conflict and difficulties lessen, and the relationship stabilizes. In other cases something quite different happens. As one partner changes and learns new healthy relationship behavior, the other partners response makes it very clear that the relationship has no future and that it's time to end things. In either case, instead of being stuck in a stagnant and broken relationship, one is able to move forward on the path of life.

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