Do You And Your Partner Feel Like You’re Just Roommates?
Is your relationship going through a rough patch? Has an extramarital affair made you lose trust in your partner? Have disagreements about raising children or handling money led to tension between you?
Maybe you feel like you’re walking on eggshells with your spouse. Innocent remarks are misinterpreted, everything is taken personally, and the smallest arguments lead to shouting matches. Or perhaps your relationship isn’t full of conflict—it just feels dead. You’re not fighting all the time, but you’re emotionally disconnected. It’s like you’re just roommates, no longer invested in each other’s lives.
You Probably Wish You Could Go Back To When You First Fell In Love
Relationship issues can arise for any number of reasons. If your partner cheated on you, you probably find it hard to trust them again. There might be power struggles over finances—one of you controls the money and the other feels left out. Perhaps your relationship felt like smooth sailing until kids entered the picture. If your significant other spends all their time with the children, you may begin to feel jealous, like the kids have taken your place.
Deep down, you probably wish that you could hit a reset button and go back to when you first fell in love. Couples therapy can’t transport you back in time, but it can help you reestablish trust, solve communication issues, and recapture the magic your relationship lost.
Many Couples Are Too Busy With Other Demands To Spend Time Together
Relationships are hard. Our fast-paced, work-crazed culture makes it difficult for two people to stay together. People are busier than ever—the current state of the economy forces them to work long hours and spend more time away from loved ones. Because of all the other responsibilities they have, many couples struggle to stay committed to each other.
What’s more, relationships today often lack equality. One parent may stay home with the kids while the other spends the day working. This imbalance of responsibility often leads to conflict. The spouse who works more may tell the other “I go out and work all day, so you should be able to take care of everything else. I shouldn’t come home to a messy house!”
Families are also generally more spread out than they once were—not every couple can simply “send the kids to grandma’s” for the day. Many parents have to take care of their kids on their own. This only adds to their workload and leaves them with less time to spend together.
Although most couples would benefit from therapy, many fear that a counselor will take sides and “go after” one partner more than the other. As a couples therapist, I am not going to focus on who’s right or wrong. My goal is to help you and your partner get to the bottom of your individual issues and use that knowledge to solve your relationship problems.
Couples Therapy Can Help You Overcome Negative Cycles In Your Relationship
Let’s face it: you and your partner may fear that you’ll just fight all the time in couples counseling. Thankfully, I am experienced in helping couples de-escalate conflict during sessions. At the same time, however, therapy is not a time to shy away from conflict—I want to listen for negative patterns in your arguments. What are the unresolved fears that keep cropping up in your fights? Why does one thing make one partner tick and not the other?
Answering these questions can help both of you understand the negative cycles in your relationship. Instead of trying to figure out who’s right and wrong, you will learn about why your spouse acts the way they do. This will help you develop deeper compassion for each other and turn toward each other rather than away.
What To Expect In Sessions
The first session is generally held with both partners together. While it’s possible to conduct individual sessions beforehand, my practice has a no-secrets policy. If you reveal a secret during your individual session (e.g., you once cheated on your partner and they don’t know), I would ask that you talk to your spouse about it before we meet together. Airing new grievances is not ideal. For couples counseling to be successful, you and your significant other should be on the same page about what to work on.
Once you’ve identified areas for growth, we’ll explore your relationship’s negative cycles. Most marriage and relationship problems fall into an “attack-defense” pattern—one partner tends to point out something the other does wrong and the other goes into defense-mode. For instance, maybe your spouse texts you when you’re at work and gets upset when you don’t answer. You may tell your partner, “This is unfair to me—I’m at work, I’m busy, and you can’t expect me to text back.” But even if you’re right, pointing this out puts your partner in a position where they feel compelled to defend themselves. It obscures the main issue.
The real question is why your significant other gets upset when you don’t text back. What is the deeper insecurity behind their feelings? Do they have trust issues that make them anxious when they don’t hear from you? I want to explore these questions and look at how past experiences (e.g., betrayal or rejection) shape your relationship fears today.
Tailoring Your Treatment Plan
One of the main approaches I use in couples counseling is Emotionally-Focused Therapy (EFT). The goal of EFT is to help you and your partner communicate using “I” statements instead of “you” statements. For instance, instead of telling your partner “You never text me back,” EFT will teach you to say, “When you don’t text me back, I feel like I’m losing you because I have a hard time trusting people.” This way, both of you can avoid pointing fingers and empathize with each other on a deeper level.
If there has been infidelity in your relationship, I want to help you and your partner rebuild trust. I believe that restoring trust is about actions, not words or beliefs. The betrayer has to actively demonstrate love and empathy toward the other person through their behavior. Regaining trust may take time, but if you and your partner are committed to working together, there is nothing you can’t bounce back from.
In the end, commitment is the most important thing. As long as you and your significant other want to repair your relationship wounds, you can. The process may not be easy, and it may not always be smooth, but counseling is a stepping stone toward peace and reconciliation.
You May Have Some Questions About Marriage And Couples Therapy…
I really think we’re too far gone. I don’t think therapy can help.
I’ve had many couples tell me that they’re too far gone—you’re not the first. The good news is that you’re probably not as far gone as you think. After all, most relationship problems arise because of learned behaviors. You or your partner may say “This is just the way I am,” but none of us are born with dysfunctional behaviors. They are learned. With the right help, it is always possible to unlearn negative patterns and change how you approach relationships.
Are we going to try therapy only for you to tell us we won’t work out?
Whether you divorce or stay together is your decision—my job is not to tell you what to do. I am here to help each of you work through your individual issues so that you can achieve peace in your marriage.
My partner doesn’t want to attend marriage counseling.
That’s okay. I can work with you individually and help you learn to respond differently to negative patterns in your relationship. Over time, if you improve your own life, your partner may notice a difference and decide to try counseling for themselves.
Let Me Help You And Your Partner Heal Your Relationship Wounds
If you and your significant other feel like you’re just arguing in circles, I am confident that I can help you find common ground and resolve conflict. To get started, you can call me at 561-220-4567 for a free 15-minute phone consultation. You can also use the contact page or text or email me.