Relationships in crisis

The Office for National Statistics [ONS} revealed at the start of the year that there was a 5% increase in the divorce rate. If we translate this into figures it means the average marriage lasts a little over 11 years. Indeed there is evidence that couples are shunning marriage because they fear the costs of divorce both financial and emotional. With a real average cost of £38,000 it is easy to see where those fears come from

What are some of the causes of couples splitting up especially after a long period of time and what can you do to save your relationship?

The ONS suggested that the economic situation in the country could have contributed to the increase. Undoubtedly financial pressure does just that it applies pressure to the relationship and if partners are not able to deal with the issues it throws up it can lead to separation. Typical of this type of behaviour is one partner who is spending money the couple don’t have, be that on clothes, gambling, alcohol or socialising. Additionally with unemployment a spectre that haunts many families there is extra pressure on communication. Unemployment has been shown to cause depression and anxiety and this can be a difficult condition to live with because the communication breaks down at a time when communication is the key to both living and finding a resolution.

Yet the financial crisis cannot take all the blame, as long as there have been couples there has been betrayal when one partner goes and is with someone else. In today’s internet lead society there are many new ways to ‘cheat’ with people perhaps having relationships over Facebook, Facetime and through pornography sites.

It would be easy to fill several volumes of reasons that relationships fail. However a common factor in many of these situations is a breakdown in communication. It is an almost gradual process where as time goes on you talk to your partner less, it becomes difficult to raise issues that you know that they won’t understand you on or that you will feel judged on. Then a major problem hits and you have nothing to fall back on especially if there are feelings of anger or betrayal around.

It is in this context that more and more couples are turning to therapy to help them work out their difficulties. It is perhaps the silver lining on the cloud of divorce and separation that faith is put in trying to fix the relationship.

What can you expect from relationship counselling? The main thing that you get is a counsellor who comes from a non-judgemental standpoint, who seeks to find out what the couple needs and helps provide a space in which honest open communication can happen. It is important to realise that they are not a referee and they don’t have all the answers or indeed set rule, but rather works with the client’s requirements and needs. At the outset though clients need to realise that not all couples find a solution and the breakup continues, but even here the counselling can help to get the clients to a ‘better’ ending.

The counsellor will work with the clients to understand what they feel and help the couple to communicate effectively and efficiently by exploring what is said making sure it is heard. Often there will be three phases the first is about getting to understand the couple and their processes, then averting or working on the immediate crisis and finally working towards skills that will ensure a stronger relationship in the future. Necessarily these overlap and can come in a different order but all will usually be present

Perhaps you are reading this because you are in difficulty in your relationship. Perhaps it’s not got to crisis point yet. Perhaps you wonder if counselling can help. Hopefully what proceeds has given you a start. You will find that most relationship counsellors are willing to discuss how they work and what you might expect for your circumstances. So consult a directory like the counselling directory and give a few counsellors a call, you have everything to gain and nothing to lose.

Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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Glasgow, G46

Written by Graeme Orr

Glasgow, G46

I am an Accredited Member of BACP offering counselling for both individuals and couples on the Southside of Glasgow. You may be struggling to cope with difficult thoughts or feelings. It can feel a very lonely place, with nowhere to turn. Problems happen to us all and at any time in our lives. If y...

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