Partner Relationships

Partner Relationships

All intimate/partner relationships face challenges and rough patches. Things such as frequent disagreements, differences in values, suspicion or evidence of infidelity and financial pressures can all cause difficulties.

Problems can arise at any stage in an intimate relationship and it’s important to address them when they occur in order to have the best chance of a resolution.

Sometimes one person in the relationship comes to relationship therapy to clarify if they want to stay in the relationship, or if they would actually like assistance with dissolving the relationship in as amicable and appropriate a way as possible.

CATEGORY: Relationships

SOURCES: APS | verywellmind.com | BMD

Number: #7

 

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An Australian Bureau of Statistics’ National Study of Mental Health and Wellbeing released in 2023, of 5,500 people aged 16 to 85 years old during 2020-2021, showed that more than two in five Australians experience a mental health issue in their lifetime and that in 2020–21 more than 3.4 million Australians sought help from a health care professional for their mental health.

The study is published at https://abs.gov.au/statistics/health/mental-health/national-study-mental-health-and-wellbeing/2020-21

With regard to intimate relationships, signs that there are problems include:

 

  • Experiencing feelings of unhappiness
  • Not feeling supported, heard or understood
  • Recurring arguments that fail to be resolved
  • Spending less and less time together and pursuing separate lives
  • Lost feelings of love for each other
  • Engaging in an extramarital affair

 

People in any type of interpersonal relationship, including in intimate ones, need to give and receive adequate support for the relationship to survive and flourish. Some common problems in this area are:

  • Having unrealistic expectations and demands
  • Relying on the other person(s) to meet all your support needs is likely to place too much pressure on them
  • Forgetting or not accepting the fact that the other person(s) are only human and make mistakes, get tired and has their own needs
  • Not effectively communicating your needs which can result in arguments

 

Seeking therapy sooner rather than later allows communication of an issue when it occurs and this allows an opportunity for resolution before the issue compounds. Talking openly with a psychologist can help your partnership grow stronger through a new found understanding of what you want from your relationship and each other. A therapist will not make judgments about who is right or wrong, tell you what to do, or persuade you to stay together or to separate. A therapist can also assist you to end the relationship in as healthy a way as possible if that is what you decide you want to do.

 

These are some of the benefits relationship therapy can offer:

 

Understand each other better: Relationship therapy can help you understand yourself and your partner(s) better. It can help you express your feelings, hopes, fears, priorities, values, and beliefs.

Identify relationship issues: Your therapist can help you identify issues that are leading to recurring conflicts, lack of trust, and feelings of disconnection.

Improve communication skills: Therapy can help you communicate with each other. It can help you express yourself and ask for what you need without attacking or blaming.

Resolve conflicts: Your therapist can help you through your issues and resolve them.

Strengthen friendship and attachment: Relationship therapy can help strengthen the friendship, attachment, bonding, and intimacy between you.

Terminate dysfunctional behaviour: Your therapist can identify dysfunctional behaviours and help eliminate them.

Learn skills: Therapy aims to equip you with skills to help you prevent and manage conflicts that arise down the road.

Improve relationship satisfaction: Relationship therapy can help improve the overall quality of your relationship, so that you are happier together.

 

 

Unfortunately, therapy will not be effective in helping to repair all couple relationships. Successful repair will depend on your commitment to restoring your relationship and making positive changes.

Therapy | Treatment

 

Millions of people engage in relationship therapy every day. Having an objective third party professional help you work through the problems you are having in your relationship(s) can be very beneficial. A relationship therapist doesn’t take sides, they are neutral and their priority is the relationship rather than any one person in the relationship. 

It is not always possible to bring the person with whom you are experiencing problems to therapy, sometimes they won’t come, sometimes they live far away, or there is another reason they cannot or will not attend. It is very like to still be very beneficial for you to attend on your own, so you can work out what is happening for you and what you want to do about it, learn skills you can take home and practice between sessions and access support.

Relationship therapy can give you the opportunity to discuss and resolve issues related to several aspects of your relationship, which can include:

  • Roles in the relationship: Relationship therapy can help you examine the roles you play in the relationship and identify unhealthy dynamics. It can also help address differences in expectations.
  • Boundaries in the relationships: Therapy can help you name, examine and set/reset healthy boundaries in the relationship. These may be around distribution of responsibilities, saying no to things you have previously tacitly agreed to against your will and asking for things you need.
  • Beliefs and values: Relationship therapy can help you discuss your beliefs and values and the implications of these aspects on your daily lives.
  • Finances: Finances can be a major source of conflict in relationships. Relationship therapy can help promote open dialogue and transparency around income and spending habits.
  • Time spent together: You can address issues that have been sabotaging your time together. You can discuss activities that you enjoy doing together and how to make time spent together more enjoyable.
  • Children: If you are not on the same page about whether or not you want to have children or how you would like to raise them, relationship therapy can help you communicate these concerns. It can also help with stressors like difficulty conceiving or adopting children.
  • Familial relationships: Relationship therapy can help you work out issues stemming from conflicts with other family members like parents, children, and siblings.
  • Sex and intimacy: If you are having issues related to sex and intimacy, or infidelity, relationship therapy can offer a safe space for you to share your feelings and needs.
  • Health issues: Physical or mental health issues can be hard on relationships and therapy can help you deal with the stress it puts on your relationship.
  • External stressors: Therapy can also help you deal with conflicts caused by external factors, like work for instance, that can put stress on your relationship.

Throughout the process, psychological treatments such as Gottman’s relationship therapy methodology, cognitive behavioural therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy or solution-focused therapy may be used.

These therapies aim to change patterns of behaviour. Education about proven tools and strategies for enhancing the quality of relationships is another important component of relationship therapy. Skill building will improve your understanding of individual differences and help you gain greater fulfilment in your relationship.