Article - How can we fix our relationship?

14 - Mar - 2016

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This is probably one of the most frequently asked questions and of course there is no one single easy answer.. or is there? 

Well what I can say is that there is a state of trust and a quality of communication that I think is definitely needed in order to restore or heal a damaged relationship and I can explain more about that. 

Meanwhile my experience is that whilst the therapeutic process can facilitate change the route will depend upon an endless amount of variables. If you have not had any experience of therapy before it can be a very challenging experience and ultimately you will need to start to consider and behave differently with your partner.

And because it will be up to the two of you to be different with each other you will need to have the desire and the energy to make the changes that will be required. You will also need courage. I think the hardest thing about therapy and making any significant change in life is that it requires us to let go of ways of thinking and behaving which are familiar to us, have served us well in the past in other situations and ultimately we need to start doing things differently - something that we naturally think of as risky and frightening.

We have to accept change all the time, every day and in every way because change happens and there is nothing we can do about it except try and manage ourselves so that we can cope and continue to live a positive life. Then of course there is our potential for changing things - all the choices we make every day that change the course of our lives. Ultimately we may have a limit as to how much change we can endure before our quality of life starts to feel threatened or affected.

Coming back to our relationships, when we start to feel threatened it is natural to start analysing the situation to try and understand what is going wrong. We might accept that there are things we could do better and we might make some changes but then it is quite normal for us to turn our attention to what the other person is doing wrong. Here are where the misunderstandings start to occur, conflict arises, escalates and the quality of the relationship starts to become eroded. You are no longer a team, no longer each others main supporters but instead they become just another person in life that needs managing or even another battle that needs fighting.

It is really important to accept that you must first cast aside the notion that either one of you is to blame. The problems exist because your relationship exists. Who you are with each other creates a unique and complex phenomenon where the only possible solution is a team effort aimed at understanding what you create together and what needs to change for the relationship to adequately contain the two of you.

In order to achieve this you will first need to achieve the state of trust and quality of communication I mentioned earlier. And what is this? Well you need to accept that there are two truths in your relationship - yours and your partners. You are both right but because the relationship is not working for either on or both of you then you are also both wrong. You need to approach each other with a kindly curiosity to understand the foundations of each others truths and work together to find approaches that can bring you both happiness.

When you think back to the start of your relationship you will have been nervous and careful with each other but over time it is likely you will have lost patience. Accepted situations that you find painful and retreated into a position of trying to accept things that are just not acceptable. Harbouring resentments and putting up with things that make you unhappy. If either of you is unhappy then you are in an unhappy relationship.

In therapy we help you to return to that state of kindly curiosity - one where what hurts can be spoken and understood and where a way forward can be considered.