Life is so busy in New York City that you and your significant other may start to disconnect. You both have lives, jobs, kids, and bills…the stress and strain of these pressures can be overwhelming. At many points in any relationship there are periods of discontent. Knowing when you are moving through a stage and when you actually need some professional guidance can be hard to determine. Here are some guidelines.
You are fighting all the time. All couples have disagreements and you can not be perfectly matched on each and every issue. Every once in a while one of you is going to make a mistake that will trigger an intense and possibly angry response in your partner. But, if every little issue sets you off and you are disagreeing all the time, then you have a problem.
You have gone through a significant change and are not adjusting well. Let’s say you have a baby; marking a significant life change that requires significant adjustment. You and your spouse may not know how to handle all the changes. Maybe you are buckling under the pressure of not sleeping or your baby’s lack of scheduling is throwing your normal balance out of whack. Perhaps the one staying home with the baby is resentful of not having adult interactions. Dinner is not made and the apartment is not clean. You can no longer just meet up for drinks after work or hop out for a weekend getaway. You may miss your old life a bit.
You want your partner to change. Perhaps when you got married you loved that he was the outgoing, fun loving extrovert. He was the life of the party. But he never really did calm down and now his behavior doesn’t seem as attractive. Maybe you always loved that she was a bit calmer in life and, while she had friends, depended on you for a social life so you got to make the plans. But now you need her to find a little space of her own in the world or take charge of making plans…and she will not.
You are no longer intimate. A sexual relationship is the icing on the cupcake of a great partnership. No, it can not be the center but some have even referred to it as a cornerstone. Sure, when you first got together you were all hot and heavy, and maybe even enjoy “trying” to have a baby. But age, children, careers, schedules and well, resentment over other issues can contribute to a lack of desire.
Most importantly, if you feel like you want or need to sit down with a couples therapist then by all means, please call! Listening to your inner gut and getting help can enable you and your partner face issues in your relationship and save it before things get significantly worse for both of you.
The great part about couples therapy is that you are in charge. If significant damage has been done to your relationship you may need to put in a few months and make a commitment to really work on how you operate at home. We work on mutuality and respect even if it means going in different directions. In any case, couples therapy can be a portal to a life time of better understanding and openness.