Published in Blog by Yvonne Filler on September 20th 2022
Yvonne Filler, Relationship Counsellor at Tavistock Relationships’ City Wellbeing Centre, examines some of the tell-tale signs that your relationship could benefit from the support of a neutral, non-judgemental professional and explains why seeking relationship support early can make resolving difficulties easier.
Many of our clients say they wish they had come to therapy sooner. A large majority talk of neglecting their relationship, and a failure to recognise they weren’t as close as they once were, until the situation had become really quite difficult.
Most of the time we don’t even notice that we aren’t investing time and effort into our relationship.
The arrival of children can change relationships. It can be easy and natural to be swept up in school runs, weekends of activities and parental responsibilities. Most of the time we don’t even notice that we aren’t investing time and effort into our relationship. We’re functioning, but the quality time, intimacy and communication is no longer there. But at what point should we think about getting help?
Relationships are complex and different for everyone, but here are a few of the tell-tale signs that your relationship could benefit from the support of a neutral, non-judgemental professional:
Do you feel all your energy is focused towards your children, work and housework? And it doesn’t feel like there’s much time left to spend together as a couple anymore?
This is perfectly normal. But without time as a couple, we slowly become disconnected. We don’t notice it happening, but gradually we lose closeness and before we know it, our relationship doesn’t feel as strong as it once did.
How many of the conversations you have with your partner are quality interactions, where you are sharing your thoughts, opinions and feelings? Do you feel understood by your partner?
Parenthood can mean we focus more on logistics and less on listening. There is a greater propensity for misunderstandings and frustrations, and the harder conversations are put on hold. We push down irritations and resentment and this creates emotional distance. This inevitably leads to conflict and we struggle to communicate in a way that restores and rebuilds our connection.
Do you have very different opinions on things, and do your arguments go round in circles? Does starting to work through these issues seem too difficult, so do you push them to one side and carry on?
All relationships have difficult obstacles to overcome. But it’s how we deal with them that can make or break the partnership. If we can’t find a way through something that has had an impact on the couple relationship, the associated negative feelings can breed resentment and have a detrimental impact on our relationships.
Do you feel disconnected from your partner? Do you find it hard to find the energy and time to dedicate to intimacy in your relationship?
Both emotional and physical intimacy protect the bond in a couple relationship. We get our emotional intimacy from quality communication and a connection that, as we have seen, can be hard to nurture with the pressures of family life. Without communication the desire for intimacy wanes, we feel disconnected and the cycle deepens.
It’s easy to see how all of these problems are related. If we don’t spend time with our partner, we don’t feel connected. Without that connection, communication can feel difficult, disjointed and we can lack the confidence to be vulnerable and honest, especially around a big issue. Without the emotional intimacy that communication brings, physical intimacy can be limited.
We can make excuses to ourselves and others as to why a relationship just doesn’t feel the same anymore - especially when we’re busy with family life. But the earlier we address any issues, the easier it can be to work through them.
Counselling is a great way to start a conversation no matter what the difficulty we are experiencing.
Counselling is a great way to start a conversation no matter what the difficulty we are experiencing. Trained counsellors ask the right questions to help us think and talk. The impartial, confidential and judgement-free sessions help us in a way friends and family can’t.
Talk to our team about our range of counselling and psychotherapy services for clients experiencing challenges in their relationships, sexual lives and their parenting. Contact us today.
If you'd like to know more about counselling and psychotherapy courses or a career in counselling, come to one of our open events and learn more.