From a conversation to a major conflict…
Things haven’t been going well in this relationship for a while now. Communication is a disaster. The smallest thing turns into a major conflict, and you’re not even sure what set it off. There have been attempts to fix things, but talking about what is wrong just starts another fight.
You start avoiding. Not talking about the difficult stuff helps temporarily – at least there is no arguing, but pretending everything is okay is exhausting. Eventually you resent what you’re not talking about. Relationship problems that haven’t been solved come to the surface. Frustration reaches the boiling point, and there are angry words about calling it quits.
If this sounds familiar, then you have come to the right place. There are ways to get through this minefield. Couples counseling can help resolve issues that are hard to work through on your own.
We used to be happy!
“We used to be happy, we could talk about anything, but we just can’t work things out anymore.” Couples say this to me every day. “It used to be easy, we used to have fun!”.
Relationship problems usually develop slowly, and bad habits build up gradually. It is easy to get used to a certain routine, and then just find a way to muddle through. Parenting takes a lot of time and energy, and we naturally want to prioritize our kids. Work demands continue into the evening, and marriage concerns get left on the sidelines.
One statistic shows couples having difficulties often wait six years before seeking counseling. Things get worse over time if they aren’t addressed
Couples who avoid conflict
Some relationships get stuck in avoidance. Problems seem so difficult, and there is so much to do that everything else gets done except working on the relationship.
Couples learn to avoid the difficult conversations. “We just don’t go there.” People resign themselves to putting up with it – the other person will “never change.”
There are many ways to cover it up with distractions: socializing, activities, working late, alcohol, extended family obligations, social media, binge watching – but the unresolved issues are still there. Passive/aggressive behavior becomes the norm. We start to keep score. Subtle cutting comments, sarcasm, negative asides to friends or kids.
Couples who avoid conflict may have fewer blow-outs, but the damage is just as real. Gradually, there is more hurt, more blame, and each grows more resentful of the other.
These couples tend to wait too long time to get help. The longer people wait, the more disconnected they become. Don’t continue avoiding conflict until you have no relationship left! Couples counseling can help you break this harmful pattern and help you create a new life together.
High Conflict Relationships
Many couples, even if they started out trying to avoid things, end up in a high conflict relationship. Arguments are explosive. Things escalate quickly.
What starts out as a disagreement over doing the dishes turns into a nasty comment. Soon there is name calling and defensiveness. One fires back with blame about what the other person didn’t do last week. The other brings up dirt again about what happened at Thanksgiving three years ago.
Distrust and accusations surface. Sometimes we get blindsided by anger that was never talked about. Yelling increases. It goes on: stabbing words of hurt, doubting love, wondering if you can take it anymore, and threats to leave. It can go on for hours.
One person tries to walk out, and the other follows down the hall, hurling insults while in pursuit.
Then there is the word Divorce. Did they really mean that? And then you just lie awake at night. Did the kids hear all that? You are left with contempt and hurt and wondering how to even start to talk again.
Arguments in high conflict relationships often become so hurtful that it is difficult for couples to know what to do. It seems impossible to forget what was said, “Is that what they REALLY think of me??”
There are attempts to be civil, half-hearted apologies made. Talk about not wanting to say those things again, but never really taking responsibility. Blaming work stress, or bills, or too much to drink. There might be flowers or an “I love you,” but the problem doesn’t get resolved.
Worse, the bad habit of aggressive anger becomes entrenched. The ugly pattern gets stuck. Being horrible becomes normal. This isn’t good though, and it doesn’t have to continue.
There are solutions to your struggling relationship.
Whether your relationship is disconnected and distant, or full of anger and conflict, there are solutions. Couples counseling offers practical skills to help you resolve problems.
Having a neutral third party in the room can help you talk through issues that have never been truly addressed. Whether it is about communication, sex, money, parenting, control, cheating – whatever the issue, there are ways to work through this!
Starting couples counseling today can save your marriage and free you from being stuck in this painful pattern. It’s time to finally face this head-on and invest the energy into making this relationship work. Call me today at (720) 315-0123 or fill out the contact form below to start creating a new and healthier relationship!