Couples Therapy

Has Your Spouse Become a Stranger?

Do you feel invisible? Unsupported? Underappreciated? Does your marriage feel less like what you thought it would and more like a business partnership? Are kids, school and career commitments running your life? Or have the kids fled the nest, making you feel more lonely and undervalued? Has it been weeks, months or even years since you were last touched passionately or really heard or seen by your spouse?

Is Your Relationship in Turmoil?

In long-term relationships, it is not uncommon for one or both partners to experience a sense of loss or a disconnection. External commitments and daily routines oftentimes replace what once was a loving, passionate and creative connection. Under the weight of years, even the strongest of relationships can fall victim to painful and unproductive patterns.

You and your spouse may be experiencing communication breakdowns, dealing with an infidelity, or feel that you no longer recognize the person you married. Although these issues can present at any age or time in a relationship, middle-age is often a time when people and their relationships can suffer. You may find yourself taking a step back and coming to the realization that you are not where you thought you’d be at 40 or 50. This can lead to further disconnection and blame. You may have become fearful, angry or discouraged. It’s not unusual for thoughts such as “if only he would see it this way” or “if only she would do this” to emerge.

There is Help and Hope

If your relationship is suffering from a lack of intimacy or poor communication, you are not alone. Most couples – even those who always appear to be blissfully in love – experience some level of detachment from their partner at some time in their collective journey. Relationships can be the most rewarding and frustrating of experiences. They require time, work and commitment, and ones that initially begin with heightened passion and commitment can collapse under the weight of unconscious patterns, Hollywood expectations and the eternal human longing for “something else.” But, the return to a healthy and satisfying partnership doesn’t have to be a struggle. In fact, with the right tools and relationship coach, rekindling your relationship can be an exciting and deeply rewarding experience. More often than not, couples therapy leads to a renewed sense of connection, commitment and collective and personal growth.

Through dealing with what is occurring in your relationship in present moment, I will help you and your partner learn how to communicate compassionately, identify stifling patterns and communication breakdowns, and begin to relate in ways that invigorates a mature and sustainable connection. Couples working with me find that his unique approaches help them cultivate the tools needed to effectively navigate the beauty and pain of committed relationships. In tandem, I will also gently encourage you and your spouse to explore your own abilities to grow as healthy individuals. Rather than remaining a struggle, your relationship becomes a dance that empowers you to transcend the patterns that keep you and your spouse from experiencing the profound love of partnership.

I fear our relationship is beyond repair. We have worked with other therapists and our sessions led to more fights. How is your work different?

First, I’d encourage you to reflect on all the years that you’ve been together and all that you’ve been through. You owe it to yourself and to your spouse to give an honest and fearless effort to work on staying together or, at least, to become very clear on why you may chose to separate. I’ll bring a unique psychobiological approach to our work together that encourages you as a couple to reflect on what initially brought you together, to understand why you attached years ago, and to develop compassion for your spouse, which will allow for better communication in times of stress and conflict. You will learn how to work together and become closer rather than continuing to push each other away.

While I am unhappy, my spouse doesn’t think anything is wrong and thinks that couples therapy is a waste of money and time. Is there any hope?

If you are truly unhappy, then it is highly likely that your partner is also, whether he or she is conscious or willing to admit to it. I like to stress that a lack of happiness should not incorporate blame or judgment. Everyone is ultimately responsible for their own happiness and needs to recognize that they chose the partner they are coupled with and that person chose them, too.

I will work with an individual on their marriage if their spouse refuses to attend – which is sometimes the case – but I strongly encourage both partners to show up for therapy. It’s important that couples learn what they need to repair and how to do it with my help and then apply those skills at home.

We are so overwhelmed by issues such as financial struggles, the kids and our careers. I don’t see how working on our relationship can ease these external conflicts. How do I know that the investment of my time, money and energy will be worth it?

You don’t know that couples therapy will “be worth it,” but you have to trust your gut and know that life can be better and that your relationship can be better, too. I also invite you to recognize that your marriage could be the single most important relationship of your life. Look at the amount of time you spend around your partner and with your family. Also consider how many thousands of dollars you spent on dating and your wedding because it had value then. Repairing your relationship has intrinsic value now. Life is short. It’s not a dress rehearsal for a better life in the future. But, working on this important relationship now can lead to a better future. The essence of life is to love and the challenge to change. Together, we’ll tackle relationship challenges, address the fears that may have kept you stuck and unhappy for years and develop tools to encourage and welcome positive change.

Please feel free to contact me at 303-475-4625 or email me at: sm@boulderfamilytherapy.com

I look forward to hearing from you.

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