Anyone who has experienced a cheating partner knows that this is one of life’s most painful experiences. Feelings of betrayal, hurt and mistrust can last a long time. But for those couples who use the affair to look at their relationship, the pain can, believe it or not, diminish greatly. It is replaced by a greater feeling of connection, often deeper than before the affair. The road is not easy, but for many, it is well worth it.
Curiously, one of the commonest causes of chronic marital dissatisfaction is the spouses’ tendency to be over-cautious with their partner. They have fights or disagreements, but don’t go far enough. So the patterns that can make a marriage feel dead stay stuck. Here’s a way to change that.
When this couple first came to therapy the husband was certain that he was being victimized by his wife and her anger. As it turns out, he couldn’t have been more wrong.
It’s part of the human condition that we may be unhappy, unfulfilled, or overly stressed without even realizing it. That kind of unconscious distress can spill over to the marriage. Without realizing it, we may look to a relationship to fix what’s wrong with our life. That’s a recipe for disaster. Here’s the case of a couple where the wife was so unhappy she had begun contemplating divorce. Then she made an unexpected discovery.
Amy: One of the most profound transformations for a couple occurs with the birth of the first child, that magic transition from a
Over the years, I’ve seen many couples whose presenting complaint revolves around sex. Usually it’s because the sex is too infrequent, too lackluster, or at the male parter has some kind of sexual dysfunction. (I’ve only seen one case where the complaint was too much sex!) As usual, unless there’s a biological problem, the sexual relationship is embedded in the larger emotional/psychological dance of the couple. Learning about this dance, and how to do some new steps, can change everything.
All marriages have divorce built into them. Often, though, we end up re-marrying the same person. This is a powerful–and painful –process necessary for growth, both as a couple and as individuals. In this post, Dave talks about some of the dynamics in marriage that help us understand this universal phase in the life of a couple.
Tensions in marriage are normal, and unavoidable. They’re part of the price of intimacy. Problems only occur when these underlying tensions are ongoing, and not acknowledged. They are semi-buried. Children are geniuses at feeling these latent tensions; they often help magnify what hasn’t been addressed. In fact, in their own way, they may be trying to help.
Therapist Avi Klein wrote about the shame many men feel about their emotions, particularly feelings that expose a sense of vulnerability. We see men like that often in therapy with couples. Here’s a case of how one man allowed himself to be un-masked, and how it transformed the couple’s relationship.
An extra-marital affair is one of the most profound “Stress Tests” of a marriage. Many couples who use this crisis as an opportunity to examine the state of their marriage end up with a more alive, more genuine connection. But others fail this test. What’s the difference between these couples? Here’s what one couple who didn’t make it looks like.