Often people think that having a healthy relationship means you don't fight. With couples being admired for "never fighting," and relationship advice like, "never go to bed angry," the message is clear: if you fight, your relationship is in trouble. But, this expectation of being in a conflict-free relationship sets us up for failure and ill-equips us for when conflict does arise.
One thing I know as a therapist and a human is that if you are in a relationship, you are going to have disagreements...it's normal! It isn't about avoiding conflict, it's about how you handle the disagreement when it happens and the ways you repair your connection afterwards that really matter. In couples therapy with me, you get a chance to practice handling conflict so that when it happens outside of the therapy session, you are better equipped to deal with it. You will learn concrete skills to help you be gentle with your partner in the midst of disagreements, how to share your vulnerable emotions, and how to tolerate both your emotions and your partner's.
Have you started feeling more like a "roommate" with your partner than a spouse? This is a common feeling I hear from couples. Maybe it's the result of months or years of having the same argument over and over and you feeling unheard, slowly pulling away from your partner and becoming resentful. Or, it could be that you can't quite pinpoint why or when this happened, but the busyness of life and the multiple roles you each play (with work, children, aging parents) seems to have gotten in the way or made it more difficult to feel connected. Therapy can help you re-prioritize each other and rekindle the passion you once felt for one another. I will work with you on concrete ways to strengthen your friendship, show appreciation for one another, talk gently with one another about your needs, and reconnect both emotionally and physically.
Recovering from infidelity is one of the most difficult challenges a couple faces. Learning of the betrayal by your partner can leave you feeling many complex emotions and asking difficult questions. Most likely, you feel blindsided by the affair or maybe you feel embarrassed for not seeing the signs. Maybe you feel ashamed for wanting to stay and work on the relationship, but know that you're not ready to walk away. It's easy to fall into a cycle of demanding answers and feeling the need to check up on your partner with them becoming uncertain of how many details to share or if they can tolerate the level of anger, sadness, and fear they feel from you. This hesitancy to talk about everything only fuels your fear that there is more to the story and that you are still being lied to. I want you to hear that you are not alone. This is a very common cycle that couples dealing with the aftermath of an affair find themselves in.
Navigating all of this is difficult without the help of a trained professional.
It is possible to heal from this level of betrayal in a relationship and to create a new (and often times, even stronger) marriage. Using the Gottman Method Couples Therapy approach to healing from an affair, I work with couples to learn how to talk openly with one another about the infidelity, how to tolerate the intense feelings that infidelity stirs up for each person, and how to regain trust and closeness in the marriage or relationship.
DEPRESSION OR ANXIETY
It could be that you have battled with anxiety or depression most of your life, or maybe this is a new experience for you. Either way, feeling anxious and/or depressed can leave you and your partner feeling very alone. It can lead to you pulling away from the things that matter the most in your life and your partner feeling abandoned or uncared for when that's the farthest from the truth. Using research backed methods, we can work together to help you better cope with these feelings and ultimately get to a better place.
Being an adult is hard. Sometimes it's downright exhausting. And, with the stresses of life, it can get easy to get bogged down in the heaviness of life and forget to have fun and take care of yourself. Maybe you used to take time for yourself but don't any more, or maybe you never did because you grew up feeling like you didn't deserve to be loved, even by yourself. Therapy can help you learn to make yourself a priority and teach others to do the same, or it can help you realize that you deserve this both from yourself and others.