Intimate and committed relationships present several interesting and unique paradoxes. On one hand, such relationships can provide a strong foundation of joy, comfort, and safety while, on the other hand, also overwhelm us with fear, frustration, and powerlessness. Like an individual who is allergic to his or her favorite food, the very things that we crave in a committed, intimate relationship (acceptance, validation, connection, intimacy), also expose our deepest vulnerabilities of fear, shame, and inadequacy.
Over the course of months and years, these paradoxical “double binds” often lead to:
- entrenched patterns of contempt*, hostility, indifference, and avoidance that, over time, begins to feel “normal”
- an erosion of the relational foundations of safety, trust, respect
- chronic maladaptive communication, conflict management, and negotiation patterns
- repetitive violations of the relational boundaries (infidelity; addictions)
- chronic neglect of relational roles (i.e. parenting, finances, household management, etc)
- significant worsening in manipulative, secretive, and deceptive, and behaviors
- chronic escalation in frequency, intensity, and duration of controlling, offensive, and abusive (emotional, verbal, physical, sexual) behaviors
Regardless of your relationship status (i.e., dating for several months or married for many decades) or the nature of your current concerns (i.e., infidelity, communication, intimacy, conflict resolution, etc.), couples therapy can help.
My goals in working with couples are simple and straightforward: “unpacking” the various dynamics of your relationship; “identifying” the self-defeating relational patterns that have contributed to the current concerns; “expanding” both partners perspective and mindset regarding their vision of change; and “empowering“ both partners to create and implement a plan of change that is relevant, practical, and sustainable.