February is a bit like Paris. It’s shorthand for romance. The very mention of it summons ups visions of hearts and flowers. So, whether you’re single or in a couple, as the second month of the year makes an appearance you can’t help but think of Valentine’s Day and your own relationships.
For many Valentine’s Day makes them feel inadequate. It suggests that there are loads of people out there who are having wonderful relationships. They are buying heart-shaped gifts, booking candlelit dinners and generally having a great time with their other half. What’s their big secret?
What makes a relationship happy?
Let’s start by saying that you never know what goes on in someone else’s relationship, but you do know what goes on in your own. You’re judging them based on a bunch of flowers and a restaurant dinner! One of the issues with this annual celebration of romance is that it implies that what you do on a single day of the year matters most. A bit like Christmas is built up as one day for the family to be happy.
Relationships are made up of the things you do every day. It’s often the small repetitive things that create the most emotion – whether positively or negatively. Irritating habits do get under the skin. Small disappointments build up over time to create resentment and a feeling of expectations that weren’t met. However, when big life events, like redundancy or marriage, happen, they can be the thing that changes how your relationship works as they magnify those small things.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of assuming that everyone else knows how to make relationships work. They don’t. You are not alone in not being sure how to have fulfilling connections and that’s why relationship counselling can be so beneficial.
Is couple’s therapy worth it?
Couples counselling pulls up an image of a soon-to-be-divorced heterosexual couple arguing. But it’s time to reconsider that. We all have relationships and when our most intimate ones aren’t working out as we might like then it’s time to explore how you can improve things.
Relationship counselling is a chance to see look at how you as an individual behave in relationships, It’s an area where many of us all feel that we could improve. After all, looking back at past relationships and wondering how you could have done things differently is hardly an uncommon pastime. If you’re attending with your partner it’s an opportunity to see how your behaviour patterns work together and how they can cause you to disconnect and drift apart.
Learning new skills
Think of the life skills that you’ve put time, money and effort into learning such as driving a car and gaining qualifications. Wouldn’t learning about relationships make a difference to you?
Discussing intimate subjects can be awkward particularly if you’ve had a negative experience or reaction when you’ve done so previously. But by holding back and being unable to find a way to communicate you’re not connecting fully with your partner. Working with a therapist can guide your conversation, explore what makes you feel uncomfortable and how to open up to your partner which helps with conflict resolution.
In addition to helping you understand why things haven’t worked out in the past, it will also enable you to recognise issues and problems issues in the future. It won’t make everything rosy, but you’ll be less bewildered as to what went wrong.
Improved communication means you are able to resolve future issues more effectively and grow your relationship in new ways. That’s not just now for your current relationship. It’s giving you a set of tools and an awareness that will benefit you going forward. Remember, it’s about learning how to build relationships that are good for you.
Are relationship counselling and couples therapy something that you’ve considered? Leave a comment and let us know how it made a difference to you.