The chance of a 1st. marriage ending in divorce, over a 40-year period, is 67%. So it is not uncommon for relationships to break down and highly common for relationships to go through difficulties. Whether it is constant arguing, stonewalling, gaslighting, psychological abuse, coercive control or domestic violence, relationship difficulties arise when either party is not getting their needs met in balance.
For example: one partner comes home from work needing to relax and unwind after a highly stressful day and they are met with the other partner’s need to offload about their day. 1 partner’s need to relax and unwind and the other partner’s need for attention/to be listened to means that both are likely to be disappointed, neither get what they need in order to destress and negative emotions escalate. If nothing changes this can become a repeated unhealthy pattern of behaviour. Ultimately they can dread coming together after the work day and find ways to avoid each other.
It is very often competing needs that lead to difficulties in relationships. One partner’s need to feel secure can lead to controlling behaviour which can undermine the other partner sense of autonomy. They may start to feel the need to escape from the suffocating relationship and become physically or emotionally distant. This can be the beginning of a downward spiral if nothing changes, resulting in a dangerous escalation of control or break up.
Often marital or relationship problems arise when one partner has suffered trauma or abuse in the past and this is impacting on their relationship in the present. Previous abusive relationships can leave an emotional imprint and unconsciously affect emotional responses in new relationships.
The problems may be exacerbated by poor communication or poor conflict resolution.
How Couples Therapy can help:
- I might do an Emotional Needs Audit with both partners to identify how well needs are being met in the relationship
- Explore ways that you can help your partner get their needs better met in healthier ways
- Help you learn how to deal with conflict more effectively
- Help you learn how to communicate better as a couple
- Enable you to understand the differences between the male and female brain and how that understanding relates to your situation
- Help you manage anger and stress and learn to relax
- Rehearsing successful changes through guided imagery
- Explore solution focused strategies to keep your relationship on track