Who can have relationship issues?
Besides having relationship issues with a partner, people can also have relationship issues with family members, co-workers, friends, church members, bosses, neighbors, etc. People with issues in their relationships might look for marriage counseling and want to talk to a couple’s therapist. Pre-nuptial couples may benefit from pre-marital counseling.
Couples (before and after marriage) come to me when they have either exhausted their communication skills and still frustrated with where the relationships are, or are having issues of trust, intimacy, and need help (re-)building the relationship they dream/want. I use Gottman therapy and other psychotherapy techniques when treating married couples.
Signs and symptoms of relationship issues
Here are some of the issues seen in difficult relationships:
- Unable to communicate thoughts and feelings
- Lack of trust
- Issues with intimacy and sex
- Lack of respect
- Lack of support
- Financial issues
- Family conflicts
- In-laws issues
- Blended family issues
- Parenting differences
- Issues with children and adult children
- Not building a healthy/positive future
- Staying in the past
- Having affairs / cheating
- Keeping secrets (affairs, alcoholism, financial issues, drug use, past, etc.)
- Anger, violence, arguments
Causes of relationship issues
It does not matter if you are having relationship difficulties with family members, your co-workers, or your loved one, most of all relationship difficulties derives from childhood issues, family modeling, personality traits, and/or attachment issues. The way you have formed yourself as a person might be in conflict with the way of who the other person is. Often times, people with similar “energy” attract one another, to find later that there is more of that person (often the negative traits) than just the “image” you formed of them. These negative traits can come from many different stages of life, by genotypes or fenotypes.
During the early years, infants learn to seek refuge in their mother’s arms when they are stressed. Parents encourage their toddlers to be self-resilient, that it is OK to get hurt and not have your boo-boo kissed to get better. Middle schoolers learn to make and survive from a friendship break. High schoolers learn to love and survive from broken heart. All of that to prepare this individual how to go about living the human life: with ups and downs. To learn that when you are down, you may find a way (by yourself, or with help of others) to get out of the situation. Parents also should provide a model of what a relationship is, and how to recover from disagreements in a healthy way.
Unfortunate, not everyone has those experiences to help “surviving” adulthood. At times, it is hard to deal with bosses or coworkers who are not professional, or do not put their weight on the work; or with family members who are too needy, or too distant; or with that person you are trying to develop a meaningful relationship (friend or love).
You may have grown to be too dependent on others, too shy/timid, or too anxious. Your self-esteem may have been shattered, your confidence levels may be too low, you may not have goals for yourself, or you have too much pride. You may be too cold (or too warm), present yourself very immature, silly, or with excessive attention-seeking or self-destructive behaviors.
How I treat patients with relationship issues
I often use an integrative approach to treat people with relationship issues. I use techniques from Gottman Therapy, EFT1 Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), as well as psychotherapy, Mindfulness, ACT, EFT2, and other types of therapy I’ve trained on and maybe useful to the treatment. I spend a great amount of time in psycho-sexual-education to help individuals and couples understand themselves and others.
Staying positive about the relationship requires people to find ways to integrate their perceptions of their problems and disappointments with the overall view of the relationship and the world around them.
There are not a “quick/easy” way to treat people with relationship issues. It took many formative years for you to be who you are. It will take some years to change behaviors, thoughts, and feelings. If this is what is keeping you living a fulfilling life, you may need to invest in yourself and commit to a long-term treatment.
Typical outcomes of relationship issues treatment
After completing treatment, patients can expect moving to a healthier level of relationship. At times, it will be necessary to create a new type of relationship. Couples who have completed treatment, report higher levels of commitment, trust, and intimacy, which helps strengthens the love they have.
FAQ about relationship treatment
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“Dr. Dove was very profound and good at her job. I have recommended other people to your office due to my pleasure and happiness.”
(Male, divorced, 50’s – Individual and Couple therapy)
“I have had many therapists, but I feel Dr. Rosana has been the best fit. I am very sad to see her go.”
(Female, divorced, LGBT, 30’s – Individual and couple therapy)