Relationships are complicated. To thrive in them we have to able to identify and express our own needs, as well as understand and respond to the needs of our partners. We need to be able at times to compromise and at other times to hold firm to our desires of how we wish to be treated. We have to learn how to recover from inevitable disagreements in ways that foster openness and communication, rather than withdrawal and resentment. Mastering these challenges is no easy task, and when we feel hurt in our relationships we often adopt ways of protecting ourselves that make it even harder for us to ultimately be vulnerable with our partners in ways that foster intimacy. It makes sense then that many of us find ourselves either stuck in an unsatisfying relationship and unsure how to improve it, or else find ourselves in a cycle of brief unsatisfying relationships that end hurtfully.
Therapy can help us clarify what we are longing for with our partners and how to communicate our needs to them. It can help us notice ways that we may be inadvertently tripping ourselves up in our relationships and how to relate differently to our partners to foster deeper connection. And it can help us to define what behaviors from our partner we will and will not accept, and how to move forward if our partners ultimately cannot relate to us in a way that makes us feel secure and loved. It takes courage to come to therapy to look at ourselves and our relationships so we can make changes, but it can be one of the most rewarding things that we ever do.