Are You Worried About the Future of Your Relationship?
Do you feel increasingly disconnected from your partner? Have recurring issues, ongoing arguments or a betrayal of trust left you wondering if your relationship can last? Maybe you and your partner are always in conflict, and the time you spend together is becoming more draining than enjoyable. It may be that you avoid important conversations because you dread an outburst or mutual hurt feelings. Or, perhaps you feel frustrated and unheard, and when you try to address issues, you lash out even though you don’t intend to. You may struggle to trust your partner or believe that your relationship can survive, no matter how much he or she reassures you. As time goes on, do you feel increasingly lonely, exhausted and resentful?
Or, it might be that you and your partner are doing well, but an upcoming milestone or commitment is triggering concerns and doubts about your future together. As your relationship transitions from casual to serious, do you wonder if your partner is really the right person for you? Are you starting to compare your partner to others and finding faults that you previously missed or ignored? Maybe you are preparing to move in together or get married, and you worry that differences in your values, routines or schedules might cause relationship problems in the future. Despite suspicions that your partner isn’t the right fit for you, maybe you think you’d rather be unsatisfied than alone. Or, maybe you’ve encountered very little—if any—conflict in your relationship so far, and you worry that you and your partner haven’t been completely honest about your feelings. Perhaps you wonder what might happen when you run up against challenges later on.
Whether you and your partner are mired in conflict or starting out on an exciting new chapter in your life together, do you feel overwhelmed and unsure how to express yourself clearly? Do you wish you could improve your communication skills, better understand your partner and build a fulfilling, balanced relationship?
No Relationship Is Perfect
Everyone begins learning lessons about relationships at an early age. Most of us grow up watching TV shows and movies that depict the search for “the perfect relationship.” With all the pressure to find the “right” person, it’s no wonder that people face doubts and apprehensions in their relationships. Although many people enjoy a honeymoon period at the beginning of a partnership, over time, most couples begin showing more and more of their true selves. Sometimes, as you begin to understand your partner as a complex person, with strengths and flaws, it can be easy to wonder if someone else might be a better fit. Or, if you are just starting out on an exciting life together, it makes sense to worry about differences in values or outlooks that might emerge.
Of course, no one is perfect, and even those in the healthiest relationships sometimes encounter conflict and disconnection. Each person has a different way of communicating and responding to conflict. Like your partner, you developed relationship and communication patterns early on. For example, if you grew up in a house with a lot of chaos and fighting, you may have learned to shut down emotionally to protect yourself. Or, if you grew up feeling neglected and alone, you may have learned to seek validation and reassurance from those you care about. Regardless of the specifics, you learned one way of understanding and operating in relationships. It’s likely that your partner learned different lessons, which means your communication styles, desires and needs might not always align. In fact, sometimes, they might clash.
Thankfully, it is possible to work through relationship problems and gain insight into what you and your partner need in a relationship. It’s never too early to take time to better connect with your partner, and you don’t have to wait until life stressors and ongoing conflict widen the gulf between you. With the guidance and support of a skilled therapist, you can explore your current relationship dynamic, break free of negative patterns of interaction and nurture a loving, committed partnership.
Relationship Counseling Can Help You Strengthen Connection and Intimacy
When you’re feeling entrenched in conflict or swept up in excitement, it can be difficult to see what is really going on in your relationship. Peter Howell is a compassionate, objective therapist who can help you take a step back, identify your relationship’s strengths and areas for growth and develop the skills you need to move forward. Peter offers both individual relationship therapy and couples therapy, providing a safe, confidential space for you to express yourself, work through pressing concerns and begin to positively shift your relationship dynamic without fear of judgment or criticism.
Whether you attend sessions alone or with your partner, Peter will work with you to explore your early relationships and better understand how they are impacting you today. You can learn more about why you might lash out or withdraw during times of conflict and come to see how your communication style functions in your relationship. Peter can teach you new, effective communication skills, including conflict resolution techniques. As you develop and practice new relationship skills, you can learn how to truly listen to your partner, respond to him or her with empathy and feel empowered to express yourself in healthy, productive ways.
In relationship therapy sessions, you (and your partner) can challenge beliefs you may hold about “perfect” relationships. Instead of focusing on flaws or points of incompatibility, you can come to accept your differences and acknowledge each other’s strengths. As you begin to recognize and appreciate the qualities that your partner brings to your life, Peter can help you navigate differing personality traits, priorities and habits so that you can cultivate greater flexibility and patience. And, you can identify behaviors that might be interrupting or preventing intimacy—such as smartphone overuse or substance issues—and discuss new ways to spend quality time together. You can stop idealizing others and start dedicating your energy to restoring connection, excitement and fulfillment in your relationship.
If you and your partner are approaching a significant milestone, such as moving in together or getting married, Peter can help you lay a healthy foundation for your relationship. During couples or premarital counseling sessions, you can discuss points of potential conflict before challenges arise and establish healthy communication skills that can support you through periods of distress and disconnection. All couples face periods of conflict, but by seeking help now, you can prepare to face challenges as a united team. You can nurture a relationship built on mutual support, trust and deep understanding.
Whether you wish to seek help alone or as a couple, Peter offers relationship counseling tailored to your needs. It is possible to truly know and be known by your partner. No matter where you are in your relationship, it is possible to establish shared goals, deepen your emotional connection and create a strong, lasting bond.
You may have questions or concerns about relationship therapy…
I’m afraid Peter will take my partner’s side.
As an experienced therapist, Peter will remain objective and balanced during sessions. If you seek individual counseling, Peter will prioritize the relationship and help you understand how to advocate for yourself and listen to your partner. If you seek couples counseling with your partner, Peter will keep the lines of communication open, creating a safe space for both of you to honestly express yourselves and resolve conflict.
I don’t think this relationship is going to last.
Why bother with relationship counseling? Therapy can help you determine whether or not a relationship has run its course. You can also take time to process what went wrong and work through feelings of grief and regret. With Peter’s guidance, you can express and resolve hurts, experience healing and develop relationship skills that can serve you in the future.
I’m worried that my partner will get angry with me if I start to change or express myself.
As you begin to identify your needs and advocate for yourself, it is possible that your partner might be unhappy with your shifting relationship dynamic. And, if you attend couples counseling sessions together, it’s also possible that you will face some heightened emotions. That’s all okay. Peter can bring a level of safety to these exchanges, helping each of you hear what the other has to say. Even if one person grows angry, Peter can help you slow down and get to the heart of conflict as it arises. Expressing how you truly feel is better than bottling it up and letting resentment grow. You can present your true self to your partner and build a relationship that honors and nurtures who you really are.
You Can Build a Fulfilling Connection
Call Peter at 734-666-3887 or email him at email@example.com to schedule a free, 10-minute phone consultation. He welcomes any questions you may have about relationship counseling and his practice in Detroit, MI.