Relationship counselling is often sought when a relationship breaks down. Relationship problems happen for a variety of reasons but invariably a couple reach an impasse where their shared vision of a future no longer exists. Communication difficulties are often the cause of one or either partner wondering how things can go from 'seemingly good' to 'intolerable'. If each individual is not able to communicate their needs to each other whilst anticipating the other's needs, then each partner is living in a inauthentic situation where each is second guessing what is going on.
Myths or unquestioned assumptions often prevail in relationships, identified by phrases like
- you should do this
- that's what couples do
- it's only reasonable to expect someone to do this
In relationships, assumptions are often made through the veil of our own perceptions and when our partner doesn't act in accordance with them, we often feel let down or cheated when in fact it was our own fantasy of what they were like or how we think they should behave. Good communication occurs when each individual is able to identify and communicate what they want to convey whilst at the same time exploring real meanings behind what their partner is saying.
Each partner has different strategies for coping with relationship difficulties. Often one partner closes down, refusing to speak to the other other until they are clear in their own mind what they think. If this need for temporary silence is not communicated, the other becomes angry or frustrated and the situation gets worse. Relationship difficulties present an opportunity for 'breakthrough' or 'breakdown'. Seeking the help of a skilled facilitator can get people beyond the impasse towards creating a relationship that is truly enriching and supportive – whether it is with one's existing partner or one in the future.