Couples Therapy Can Help You Restore Intimacy & Connection
Whether you have been with your partner for months, years, or decades, you may feel as though you are drifting apart. Maybe you used to talk about everything, but now you only seem to discuss the dishes. You might feel as though you take on the majority of household responsibilities while your partner takes your efforts for granted. Maybe little things frequently build up into big arguments, and you feel as though you are never really heard.
You might feel lonely, even when you are in the same room as your partner. Talking to your partner might be about to-do’s vs. connection. Perhaps your partner seems to pay more attention to his or her TV, phone, or computer than to you. You may wonder why you bother going home after work. Maybe your partner has violated your trust, and you aren’t sure how to feel safe and secure in your relationship again. You might just want to feel appreciated and special again.
Many Relationships Change Over Time
Bonding with others is incredibly important to human begins. A romantic relationship is often the deepest bond or connection we have. When we have built a connection with another person and something disrupts that connection, we can feel angry, scared, or unsafe. Sometimes, you might find yourself reacting to those emotions by shutting down or snapping at your partner. It’s not uncommon for couples to get stuck in a pattern of bickering and negativity.
“Working with our couples therapist, we’ve learned tools to use during tough times to prevent arguments.”
It’s also very common to experience tension in a relationship after the “honeymoon phase” has ended. You and your partner might neglect to take the time to show love and appreciation to one another in the same ways or frequency you did when you first fell in love. As time passes, many people grow, change, and develop new values or new desires. Significant life changes and stressors, such as the birth of a child, a move, or financial worries, can also weigh on a relationship.
Everyone wants to feel loved and valued, but not all of us are skilled at communicating our needs. Many people lack positive communication role models. Others simply struggle to identify and articulate their emotions. But, with help, you can learn healthy ways to express your feelings, communicate more effectively and reconnect with your partner.
Rebuilding Trust After Infidelity
Trust issues should be taken very seriously in a relationship. Trust is the key to connection, safety, and partnership. If you’ve noticed recently that your partner won’t answer the phone in front of you, or hides the phone when you’re around, you may have concerns. Or perhaps you’ve noticed that your partner is staying up late at night on the computer. Whether you suspect that an emotional or physical affair is taking place, or you know that infidelity has occurred, hope is not lost. Couples therapy can help you and your partner heal and restore your relationship. It takes time to rebuild trust, but it is possible!
Couples Counseling Intensive
A typical 45-minute session every week may not provide the necessary time to work through all your concerns especially after infidelity or when one partner is deciding whether to leave the relationship. In these cases, you might consider doing a couples counseling intensive, which is an extended session lasting 2 hours or even longer. These extended sessions allow you and your partner enough time to get to the root of the issue and begin the process of repairing your relationship. A couples counseling intensive is hard work but it can save a relationship.
With Couples Therapy, You Can Rebuild Your Relationship’s Foundation
At the Houston Center for Training & Supervision, Robin Exum M.Ed., LPC-S, LCDC, NCC is specially trained in couples therapy. We can help you clear away the anxiety, fear, anger, and sadness that may be blocking your way to healthy expressions of deeply held emotions. If you are clouded by negativity, you might feel hopeless and disconnected. But, you can learn to express your needs and truly know your partner again.
Robin Exum is non-judgmental, compassionate, and understand how the brain responds to social and relationship cues. If you feel as though you and your partner have been having the same old argument over and over,Robincan help you develop tools to recognize and break out of that pattern. He wants to help both you and your partner communicate without fear of blame. Robin can help you learn the language of open and honest communication, which is free of criticisms, defensiveness, or personal attacks.
“I can honestly say we haven’t been happier; all the things we’ve learned in therapy so far have really helped.”
In couples therapy sessions, you and your partner can learn to clarify your needs, communicate them, and listen to one another. Robin will help you both implement healthy habits to meet your needs, as well as your partners. For example, you might ask for a “Thank you” to show appreciation. Your partner may need a daily kiss to show love. Robin will also assess how each of you handles conflict and identify strategies to reach effective resolution.
Every couple and person is unique, so Robin will help you identify the specific places that feel unfilled in your relationship, whether it be in physical intimacy, emotional intimacy or communication styles for example. In sessions, Robin can help you remember what first drew you to your partner and made you fall in love. With communication training and practice, you can develop a deeper and more fulfilling relationship.
What if My Partner Doesn’t Want to Come to Couples Therapy?Even if your partner is resistant to the idea of couples therapy, you are still welcome to come and work through your relationship issues. You can learn communication strategies that can help you communicate more effectively with your partner. You may also learn how to get your needs met in the relationship while increasing the connection between you both. You can’t force your partner to change or to join you in sessions, but you can bring positive lessons back to your relationship.
I’m Afraid I Won’t Be Understood or Listened ToMany people worry that they lack the ability to articulate their needs. Sometimes, it might feel like your partner is good at verbalizing, so he or she will dominate any conversation about the relationship. We value both partners. We can help you learn how to express yourself and feel understood. In sessions, Robin can help to balance the conversation so that the needs of both partners are heard and explored.
I Don’t Want to be Villianized or BlamedIt’s common to worry that your therapist and your partner will gang up on you if you speak honestly about your feelings. However, Robin will not take sides. He wants to hear both partners’ fears, hurts, and hopes. You and your partner are both human, with flaws and strengths. In a relationship, assigning blame can perpetuate negativity and disconnection.Robin understands that no one is right and no one is wrong.
What if It’s Too Late for My Relationship?Restore the connection you once had. If there has been a serious violation of trust in your relationship, restoring intimacy might seem impossible. It might feel too hard or too time-consuming. However, couples therapy is not about making a huge change to your relationship all at once. Instead, you can learn to put little strategies in place to show your partner that you are willing to try. The small things you do each day can make a huge difference in your relationship. In sessions, you can focus on taking steps toward rebuilding security, trust, and connection.
What are the Benefits of Couples Therapy?Our romantic relationships can have a significant impact on our health, well-being and life satisfaction. Yet, we receive little education in relationship and communication skills. These skills aren’t a given, particularly if you were raised in an environment with poor relational skills or simply the stress of outside adversity such as poverty, job loss, trauma, war, mental illness or other environmental influences on relationships. No matter what stage your relationship is in, couples therapy can help protect your relationship for the long-term. The benefits of couples therapy are the skills you learn, based on years of couples research, that you haven’t learned anywhere before. It’s normal to need to learn skills to be successful in your relationship just as it is in any other area of life that is important.
You Can Connect With Your Partner AgainRobin Exum believes that you have the power to make a positive change in your relationship. Robin Exum at the Houston Center for Training & Supervision can help you access that power and put it into action. You don’t need to feel lonely, hurt, or frustrated by the person you love any more. You can begin to strengthen your bond again and build a healthy relationship together.
Individual Mental Health CounselingThere are also times when you might choose to explore your concerns in individual therapy. Perhaps you’ve experienced a trauma, or are struggling with greater than usual stress at work? Maybe you’ve struggled with depression, anxiety or an addictive disorder for years and are ready to make some changes? However, while you may decide to pursue individual counseling, including your partner in this process or addressing your concerns in couples therapy can be beneficial. In this way, you are including your partner as a supportive member of your team. Further, you can understand what impact it may have on your relationship as well as your partner’s role. Improving your relationship can also lead to you feeling more supported overall.