Couples Counseling in South Tampa
Tired of the fighting?
You feel alone and completely disconnected from your partner. You fight about everything; or worse, you don't even talk to one another anymore. You have been trying to stay together for your children or because you want to avoid divorce at all costs, but it is getting harder and harder. You've tried "everything" and nothing has worked.
What causes problems in couples?
Every relationship experiences difficult times that can make you feel defeated, misunderstood, hurt and frustrated. Problems can be due to a number of issues such as:
What are the warning signs for couples?
These problems can cause a significant amount of conflict. Conflict in relationships is healthy when it is effectively managed. However, if the following red flags are present, it is a good predictor of a failing relationship according to Dr John Gottman, the expert in couple dynamics.
- Criticism - A simple complaint focuses on a specific behavior, while criticism attacks the character of the person.
- Defensiveness - Self-protection in the form of righteous indignation or innocent victimhood in an attempt to ward off a perceived attack.
- Contempt - Statements that come from a relative position of superiority. Some examples of contempt include using sarcasm, cynicism, name-calling, eyerolling, sneering, mockery, and hostile humor.
- Stone-walling - When the listener completely withdraws from the interaction.
Problems can get worse over time if they are never addressed or resolved. Resentment builds up and you can't even remember the person you used to love.
How to repair a damaged relationship
It is hard to reconnect with your partner when you have developed a pattern of negative interactions with each other. Having an objective third-party involved can give you both valuable information about the cause of the miscommunication and the conflicts. The sooner help is sought the more likely repair can occur and peace can be established. A well-trained Marriage or Couples Therapist can teach you better communication skills, assist in effectively managing long-standing conflicts and eventually re-establish trust.
The first thing I like to address when I meet with couples is excessive fighting and arguing in the relationship. The fighting causes a great deal of damage to the relationship so guidelines need to be put in place to avoid that excess strain. I strongly recommend implementing time-out rules. A time-out is used when either party recognizes their own physical signs of anger such as elevated heart rate, increased breathing, feeling warm, tunnel vision, and tense muscles. The point of a time-out is for the person who requested it to calm themselves down so they don't do or say something that will hurt the relationship. See link to time-out rules below in Couple Resources. Once the fighting is lessened, learning more skills and implementing changes can then be addressed.
Take the next step....
- Time-Out Rules for Couples
- The Gottman Institute's relationship blog - Excellent information on healthy relationships
- Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country's Foremost Relationship Expert - Book on how to have a healthy relationship
- After the Affair: Healing the Pain and Rebuilding Trust When a Partner Has Been Unfaithful - Book on infedility
"It takes one person to forgive, it takes two people to be reunited."
Lewis B. Smedes
Lewis B. Smedes