Relationships often go through many different phases when you are together for a long time. At the beginning of a relationship, couples often go through an intense period of time when they feel a deep affinity with their partner. Over time, you might notice that those strong emotions that you felt in the beginning start to wane and be replaced with a steadier sense of affection. While it might be hard to realize that you and your partner have drifted apart, it doesn't mean that it has to be the end. Going to couples therapy provides benefits that can help you turn this new phase of your relationship into a new beginning.
Get to the Root of the Problem
Long term relationships often involve both people going through many different changes that can impact their interactions. For example, one of you might be struggling to cope with your children moving out of the house. Or, job loss might have caused one of you to reinvent your lifestyle. When one or both partners are unable to adjust to the changes or you change in different ways, it is common to encounter feelings of distance. Your counselor can help you identify what is really causing you two to drift apart. Then, you can work on solutions together that bring you closer.
Learn How to Improve Your Communication Patterns
Couples also tend to develop their unique way of communicating with each other that might not always be positive. For instance, couples who get together when they are very young might still talk to each other like they did when they were teens. It is also common for one person in a relationship to be less forthcoming with their feelings. Couples therapy is designed to help you learn how to share your deepest thoughts without fear of the other person's reaction. This adds trust and honesty to your relationship that makes it easier to overcome challenges.
Identify New Things to Do Together
There is also the possibility that you've started living separate lives. One of you might have gotten so involved with childrearing that the other started to engage in hobbies on their own. Couples who have jobs that involve one person traveling might have also started to feel the strain of physical distance on their relationship. Therapists who specialize in working with couples know how to help you dig deep to find new things to do together. They can help you to take a personality inventory or even do specially assigned homework that helps to reignite that sense of companionship that you've lost.
After developing a chronic physical illness, I soon began realizing that the disease plagued my mind almost more than it did my body. While my illness is not life-threatening, it was very difficult accepting that I would have to take medication for the rest of my life and eat a strict diet. After a year of depression, I finally overcame my fear of "exposing" my feelings to others and made an appointment with a mental health counselor. With her help, I was able to see the "silver linings" in life that I had greatly taken for granted before I became ill. I now encourage anyone who is battling an illness of any type to seek the psychological help they need. I plan to post lots of little mental health tips and tricks on my new blog along with advice for choosing a good counselor. Please come back soon!