The relationship storms
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Graeme Orr MBACP(Accred), UKRCP Reg. Ind. Counsellor
17th September, 20130 Comments
Every relationship has its trials, yet most relationships have a certain toughness about them that can withstand most storms thrown at them - so long as the partners are willing to work at the problem. Yet most counsellors will tell you that couples come to them when the relationship is on the critical list. People are reluctant to get help early. The reasons behind this are many and varied; it may be seen as a sign of weakness, or that a perception that you shouldn't talk about your problems in public. Whatever the reasons, we need to understand that is a good thing to ask for help in your relationship, and the sooner you ask the easier it will be to overcome problems.
Every couple fights - some would say that conflict to some degree is a sign that a relationship is healthy. That because where there is conflict, the partners are talking and care about how they act in a relationship. Clearly, however, as the level and duration of conflicts rises the relationship can get into difficulty - perhaps as the result of deeper problems - and the moment this is noticed is perhaps the best time to seek help.
Conflict can happen for a variety of reasons. There are huge threats to relationships if one partner is unfaithful or has an addiction or perhaps acts without agreement; yet other seemingly small things can cause problems too. It may be you feel your identity is lost in the relationship, or that you are being asked to change to much. This fear can produce a source of conflict too.
Transition points in our lives can also produce conflict. A theme for many comedy writers is who gets up to feed the baby at 3am every morning - yet if you are in that situation you fail to see anything humorous about it as you have to get up every night while your partner is blissfully in the land of nod. It is not hard to see how that can easily jump to resentment and conflict. Similarly, life events like moving house or Christmas with the in-laws all put pressure on relationship. This may be because we have less time for each other, or the change means that we take on a different role and if our partner is not on-board with the change it is easy to see how conflict arises.
Of course, the key to many of these problems and indeed the continuing good health of your relationship is to keep talking to each other. Through this and, of course, being consistent with your actions, you build trust in one another. This means that you are more likely to be prepared to compromise with your partner; after all, you trust that perhaps next time it will be you who needs them to compromise.
During times of relationship trouble, if you are communicating well you will be able to talk many problems through. However, if it is proving too difficult, see it as a success that you and your partner can at least agree that you need help and that if you get it early you will be able to work through this.
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