Common relationship problems

People, whether in monogamous or open relationships, can come with all manner of relationship problems. Part of our assessment will be to identify whether it is a couples problem or whether it is an individual problem that is impacting the relationship. Typical problems in marriage and long-term partners include:

Lack of Communication: Couples frequently experience a lack of (successful) communication, where you don’t feel heard and understood, and can’t hear or understand your partner. Couples counselling can greatly help improve how you talk together and make it safe again to communicate.

Lack of Intimacy: Relationships often feel a loss of love, from the whirl of infatuation to the finding yourselves as companions or like flat-mates. Comfortable together, but not really close. Relationship counselling can bring you back in touch with what it was that first brought you together.

Emotional Literacy: Many people aren’t comfortable sharing their emotions, or even having them. But emotions are central to how couples communicate, how we know if we’re doing the right thing, or not. Couples therapy can make it safe to share emotions, and emotional literacy work can quickly help remove the fears about being emotional.

Sexual Mismatches: Too little or too much, or a mismatch of sexual desires can undermine one of the important glues than hold a loving relationship together. These can be very difficult to talk about and can be filled with shame and guilt. Counselling can create a safe, judgement free space where we can sensitively explore these issues.

Arguments (usually the same ones) : Anger, fear, bitterness, walking-on-eggshells, even the threat of violence or an angry tantrum all have a corrosive affect on a relationship. Couples therapy can help you look past the content of each angry exchange, and instead examine the process – not the “what”, but the “how” you argue, to untangle how you become so tangled up.

How to Divorce / Separate Well: Going your separate ways can be the best thing for a relationship. Divorce is easy to do badly, with bitterness and anger and unreasonable behaviour. It can cost many thousands of pounds. It can cause much wounding. If there are children involved, it can hurt massively, and detracts from putting them at the heart of any settlement. Relationship counselling can work to help you separate gracefully, and to create a new relationship for the children. You do not have to end up bitter enemies.

Control: Over control or lack of control, Counselling can help you look at the fears that drive controlling behaviour and the beliefs the tend to cause a lack of control.

Joylessness: When you find your Prince of Princess, it’s usually the end of the story. You are just meant to live happily ever after. But joylessness in our hyper busy, stressed, over committed lives is quite common. Counselling together can examine priorities and work to create a space where joy in each other can flourish again.

No longer a team anymore: You pick each other as partners with the very best of intents, but events and personal agendas can change the relationship, until it feels like you are no longer working together. Couples counselling can check what is drawing you together and what is pushing you apart, so that you can be clear if you’re a team or not.

Struggling to commit: Both short-term and quite long-term relationships can struggle to commit, whether the commitment is to live together, get married, or have children. Couples counselling can help you honestly explore and face up to the things that are dividing you and analyse where the gulf is, and how it might be bridged.

Middle Life Crisis: Is this it? Have the rails been set in stone and your life on a one-track journey to old age? Relationship counselling can help challenge you to either change your life, or accept your life as actually pretty good, or create a new life for yourselves.

Got married and it didn’t make a difference: Sometimes long-term partners decide to get married in the hope that it will bring them closer together. If it hasn’t worked, couples counselling can help you make sense of your relationship, how you do stuff together and how it is not satisfying what you both need from a relationship.

Children: Can be extraordinarily stressful. So much of your hopes and desires, and effort and resources, can be invested in trying for a child. Fertility treatments, miscarriages and difficult births can have a profound impact on a couple. While the impact of a baby can utterly change the relationship of a couple. Couples counselling can help couples adjust to these changes and deal with the problems they generate together.