Several times this week I have found myself talking to new couple clients about their relationships, and how hurt has caused them to feel withdrawn from their partners. Sometimes this distance has lasted for years, the human need for support, connection and understanding no longer expected from their spouse.
of the most important aspects of relationship repair is the willingness
to risk being open to a partner who has been months or years at odds
with our needs and hopes. Couple therapy at its best keeps both people
focused on their individual efforts, while being confident, through
actions and words in the therapy room and out, that the partner is doing
the same hard work.
can feel like being open to injury. Like you are just asking for your
partner to hurt you again. Many people resist, and for every right
reason! But repairing such pain means turning toward your partner and
feeling what you feel, expressing your hurt and disappointment, asking
for what you need again, and being willing to see if your openness can
be met with a similar effort of apology, repair, and affection by your
partner. That's what a good couple therapist does every day with
couples, with compassion, encouragement and patience. It's not a
free-for-all in therapy sessions. If it is, run in the other direction.
deciding whether to go to couples therapy, this is one question you
will need to answer: am I willing to be open again to this person, this
one I once loved, and see what I feel, what they have to say, what they
have experienced, and work together for new, common ground?