For some people a loving, trusting romantic relationship can be one of the foundations of a fulfilling life. Unfortunately, many of us struggle to feel connected to our partners. Sometimes that distance comes from the unspoken, as we may quietly feel taken for granted by and resentful of our partners. Other times it can come from the heated, as we find ourselves repeatedly caught in intense arguments that leave both sides feeling hurt and aggrieved. Whatever our struggles may be, we often end up feeling distant, dissatisfied with and trapped by our romantic relationships. Making matters worse, these challenges often manifest in our intimate lives, where we may also struggle to connect physically.
If this sounds familiar and you are feeling demoralized know that relationship counseling can help. Together we will get to the heart of your emotional challenges and help you learn how to express yourself in ways that create the closeness, affection, and excitement you want.
Signs that counseling for your relationship could be useful
It’s not always easy to tell what is a normal part of the conflict that comes with being in a romantic relationship and what is a sign that something might need to be more actively addressed. Here are some signals that it may be a good idea to reach out for assistance:
Feeling afraid to express your feelings for fear of reprisal
Not feeling comfortable asserting your needs or setting boundaries
Feeling chronic resentment
Feeling periodic moments of rage
Feeling frequent insecurity and jealousy
Feeling lonely even when your partner is with you
Feeling trapped or stuck
Regular bitter arguments, even over seemingly minor issues
Physically withdrawing from one’s partner and speaking with them less
Regularly being the recipient and/or expressor of derogatory language
Engaging in acts of emotional and/or physical infidelity
If you are also experiencing difficulties connecting physically with your partner, you are not alone–emotional issues frequently impact a couple’s sex life. While it’s a good idea to check with a doctor that intimacy issues are not being caused by an underlying medical issue, these challenges are often psychological rather than physiological. Here are some ways that people may struggle with physical intimacy when they are not feeling connected to one another:
Reduced desire for physical intimacy
Significant performance anxiety before, during, and/or after sexual activity
Pain during sexual activities
Erectile dysfunction, such as difficulties maintaining an erection or reaching orgasm
Addressing one’s blocks to emotional closeness and trust through therapy often helps these types of challenges diminish or resolve completely.
Relationship and intimacy issues can be highly demoralizing. At times they may feel outright in-surmountable, but there is hope–therapy can greatly help a person get their relationship on the right track.
Having emotional clarity is an important part of forming a healthy relationship. Relationship counseling can help a person better understand their own needs, as well as ways that their own relationship history has made certain aspects of intimacy threatening and what they can do about that. It can also help a person get a better sense of what aspects of relationship distress are about their own emotional challenges, and what aspects may be a reflection of their partner’s challenges. People often struggle to differentiate these and as a result carry an outsized sense of responsibility for issues that are co-created, which further discourages them.
Clear communication is the other foundation of a healthy relationship. Therapy can help a person understand what it is that they want to communicate, and can help to address the anxieties that may be getting in the way of opening up. It can also help a person develop the language to ex-press themselves constructively. Being able to identify and effectively express one’s needs can be especially beneficial to improving physical intimacy, as that part of a relationship can feel so emotionally loaded that many people find it very hard to talk about without assistance.
At its core, counseling for relationships is a way of better knowing and expressing oneself. From this place of insight and empowerment a person can begin to foster the trust and affection they want with their partner. Reach out and let’s talk about how I can help you develop the clarity and confidence to thrive with your partner.
“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking with which they were created.” - Albert Einstein
People seeking relationship counseling may at times be struggling with other emotional challenges. They may find that anxiety is inhibiting their ability to express their needs. Ingrained communication patterns may make it difficult for them to constructively express their anger. People who have experienced trauma may find themselves repeating problematic relationship behaviors that are shaped by their hurtful experiences. Couples therapy may eventually be a useful complement to people who are working on their relationship difficulties in individual therapy.