One of the most frequent reasons people seek counselling is relationship problems. Whether it be with partners, bosses, parents, children, or friends - we need to be able to relate to others in a meaningful and mutually co-operative way. For the purpose of this article, I will focus on personal relationships.
Often a client will say: 'my partner and I have grown apart', 'we row all the time', 'the magic has gone'. This could, of course, be an indication of serious relationship breakdown. But more often than not, particularly in the cases of those who seek help, it's a time for reflection and reassessment. It's also not always necessary for a couple to seek help together for the situation to improve. One half taking time out to work through what's troubling them, often alleviates the pressure on the relationship.
Sometimes couples need more time together, perhaps in the first year after having a child: 'All we talk about is the baby'. Other times couples need more time away from the relationship: 'I don't know who I am any more', 'we don't have anything to say to each other'. It's all too easy for us to forego our own interests and friendships to please our partner.
We live in a fast, disposable culture and the Internet provides us with so many transient pleasures, it seems easy nowadays to search for a quick way out of a troubled relationship. People often have affairs because they're bored or frustrated with their current partner. 'My partner doesn't understand me' may sound like a cliche, but when couples stop talking and listening to each other, that's how it appears.
It takes time and effort to seek help, but it can be very worthwhile. Often sessions with a professional counsellor can help clarify the situation and give space to feelings that have been locked away.
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