If there was 1 thing I could do to improve my relationship what would it be?

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With the stress of todays lifestyle relationships can take a hammering.  Busy schedules, long work days, unrealistic work project deadlines, playing Uber driver to the children and just the usual demands of life (housekeeping, paying the bills on an over stressed budget, etc) all take their toll. These are all the usual stressors of everyday life on a couple. And then there is something that can amplified this 100 fold. The couples previous individual skills in dealing with stress and their expectations of their partner in the relationship.

A couple doesn't start out as a couple, their individuals, with individual skills, likes, wants, desires, previous relationship experiences and expectations. Each individual brings these characteristics to the relationship consciously and subconsciously. Early on in the relationship, the more negative of these characteristics are often overlooked, ignored or simply dont appear based on the glow of a developing relationship with its romance and gestures of love and concern. But as time passes, spontaneous events, intimacy, tolerance, time spent together, all start to deteriorate as the stressors of life start to kick in.  It is at this time that the individuals characteristics start to emerge.

Couples therapy addresses these characteristics that emerge as a result of stress from daily living or as a result of incompatible expectations that were either not addressed in the early stages of the relationship or that have come about due to stressors in the relationship (financial, parenting, previous relationships, etc). There is however one major reason that relationships come undone.

In a word it is Insecurity. 

I have noticed as a Clinical Psychologist that couples come to therapy based on many issues. Not spending enough time with the other partner. One member of the partnership isn't prioritising the needs of the other partner. Mysterious text messages appear on the other partners phone. Obsessions regarding hobbies take one partner away from the home for extended periods of time. One partner doesn't feel that the other one still loves them, etc. Essentially, all of these behaviours/observations are about one thing. When one member of the partnership through consistent negative interactions with the other, starts to doubt the committment to the relationship from the other person, insecurity starts to erode the foundation of the relationship. 

In therapy the couple is helped not only to address the individual characteristics that they bring ot the relationship that bring about ternsion and struggle but how they communicate this with each other that doesn't promote a sense of insecurity. Often I hear couples talking and the words they use to communicate the necessary information to address their concerns is laced with threats or observations that promote a sense of insecurity in the other person in the relationship. Couples therapy is about identifying these poor communication patterns that on the surface look like they come from a caring place but undermine the restoration of the relationship.

If you are interested in being involved in couples therapy, please click on Book Now button at the top right of this page to make an appointment at a medical centre convenient to you.