When I started working with couples, I really had no idea what I was doing or how to help couples who came to see me. It was truly a baptism of fire because I had to come up with something to help each couple move out of the pain and start making positive changes in your relationship.
One thing I can say for sure is that since then, I’ve learned a lot about working relationships with hundreds of couples. Here are 10 things I’ve learned about couples 10 years of being a couples therapist:
1. No two couples are the same.
One of the great things about my job is that I have met many different couples from all walks of life and have come to the conclusion that no two couples are the same. Every couple has a different story and it’s fascinating to hear what draws people. If you’re in a relationship, never forget their own history, as it is unique and can never be replicated.
2. While no two couples are the same, most couples fall into fairly predictable patterns.
Actually, only a limited number of patterns of relationship exists.
She chases him and he folds.
He criticizes and attacks.
They avoid conflict and withdraw from each other.
You get the idea. Become aware of your own patterns of relationship is the first step to real change in their relationship.
3. attraction is totally unpredictable.
I have worked with the most unlikely partners in all genders, sexual orientations and cultural backgrounds. One thing I’ve learned is that you can not create a formula for the attraction. It is beyond human comprehension. And you never know when it will happen.
4. Relationships that begin with a bang often & end with a big bang.
When relationships begin with a ferocious intensity and passion, you often end up in the same way. This is not a blanket rule, but any couple can sustain that kind of intensity connect indefinitely. One hopes that the fire will cool at some point and that’s fine.
What often leads to a successful long-term relationship is a slow fire, taking the time to get to know each other without completely losing each other.
5. There is no such thing as a perfect relationship.
Couples often get into trouble are those in which one or both partners think that their relationship should be perfect.
Perfectionism, when it comes to relationships, can be the kiss of death. No partner or relationship can live up to impossible ideals and if you think yours can, you’re in for a nasty surprise.
Every couple experiences difficulties and conflicts at one time or another. Just realize it’s a part of life and most importantly is to bring compassion and kindness for you and your partner when you are going through difficult times.
6. Your partner can’t fulfil all your needs.
Another common myth is the idea that my partner can meet all my needs. This belief is often in the form of: “Once I find my perfect match, I never want for anything again.”
This is a dangerous expectation that sets you up for disappointment when you discover that your partner simply can not meet all their needs.
It is important not to lose their individuality in their relationship, no matter how much you love your partner. Keep your friends, nurture their separate relationships and maintain close contact with his family. Also do not be afraid to have interests, projects and hobbies that do not involve your partner.
The conclusion is that they are two separate individuals with their own likes, dislikes, wants and needs. The wonderful thing is that you can share these things together and separately.
7. You have more than one soul mate (if you believe in that).
Some people seem to believe that there is only one soul mate for them in the world. I have worked with countless people who thought they had met “The One” and then did not work.
And guess what? They went on to form other relationships that took just as much love and joy as the relationship they thought they could never replace. Do not just think that there is only one person that you could be in a deep, connected and loving.
8. Change your relationship is hard work, but worth it.
I know that change your relationship for the better is hard work. If it were easy, the couples do all the time and no need for couples therapists.
Couples who put in the hard work are reaping the benefits. They are happier, more resilient and able to cope with the ups and downs of life with greater strength. If your relationship needs help, do not be afraid to reach out and get the professional help you need. It could be the best investment you will ever make in your future.
9. Relationships can be boring and ordinary sometimes, and that’s fine.
The reality is that even in the best relationships, there are times when it may seem boring and ordinary. The important thing to remember is that it’s okay to go through periods when their relationship does not feel exciting. This is just part of life.
However, couples who recognize when they are in one of these periods and then find a way to bring back the spontaneity, excitement, laughter and fun are couples who are happy in the long run. Be aware of the cycles of their relationship and work together to make sure you maintain your connection, even at times when you feel disconnected.
10. Sex can be even better in a long-term relationship.
I can not tell you how many people I have worked with who have agreed to have a bad sex life because they think that is what naturally occurs when we have been together for a while.
There is no reason to accept a boring, boring or even no love life. I have seen many couples turn around their sex lives to create a more connected than they had ever had deeper sexual and emotional connection.
It is true that you get what you settle for. So when it comes to your sex life, you can have the best sex of his life, even after many, many years together.
What have you learned in your life about relationships? Please share your comments below!