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 relationship might look for marriage counseling and want to talk to a couple’s therapist. Pre-nuptial couples also look for pre-marital counseling.

Signs and symptoms of relationship issues

Here are some of the issues seen in difficult relationships:

  • Unable to communicate their 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 derive from childhood issues, family modeling, personality traits, and attachment. The way you have formed yourself as a person might be in conflict with the way the other person is.

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 a 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 the 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.

Unfortunately, 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 yourself, or too shy/timid, anxious. Your self-esteem may have been shattered, or confidence levels may be too low, you may not have goals for yourself or pride. You may be too cold (or too warm), or present yourself very immature, silly, with excessive attention-seeking or self-destructive behaviors.

How Dr. Marzullo-Dove treats people with relationship issues

She often uses an integrative approach to treat people with relationship issues. She uses techniques from Gottman Therapy, EFT1 Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), as well as psychotherapy, Mindfulness, ACT, EFT2, and other types of therapy she has been trained on and maybe useful to the treatment. She spends 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 is 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 long-term treatment.

Typical outcomes of relationship issues treatment

After completing treatment, patients can expect to move 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

My partner does not want to come treatment. Can I come by myself?

Yes. However, if the issue is within the relationship and not with the individual, it is highly recommended that the couple attends sessions together. The first step for a better a relationship is having both parties invested in getting into a better/ new type of relationship.

How long will treatment for relationship issues last?

Since there are many different types and levels of issues among people, it is expected that the duration of treatment depends on the level of their conflicts. For optimal results, it is expected to complete treatment in the first couple of years of treatment.

How often should we attend sessions?

At the beginning of treatment, couples will attend sessions weekly (even twice-a-week sometimes), until all the negative symptoms have been resolved. When we move to build the "positive bank" in your relationship, the sessions might be attended every other week then.

Can a relationship recover from affairs/cheating?

It depends. Each person has their own set of beliefs that come from their family, their formation, and their temperament. Some people may be able to forgive and move on, while others may keep the resentment for a long time. Either way, it is necessary to find out why the partner left the relationship (emotionally and temporarily), why they both want to continue in this relationship, and if they are committed to trying making this work.

There’s something going on that my partner does not know. Do you keep secrets?

Temporarily. At times, individuals keep secrets (affairs, alcoholism, financial issues, drug use, past, etc.) from their partners, but it has been found that secrets are damaging for maintaining a healthy relationship. I might keep a secret for a couple of weeks, with the understanding that the secret will be out soon. I will help the partner keeping the secret to come up with statements and learn how to communicate the difficult talk. People tend to keep secrets when they are afraid of rejection or reaction from their partners. Being in therapy provides a safe environment and tools to help bring about the secrets to partners.

Consult with a psychologist to get help with your relationship issues right away. Dr. Rosana Marzullo-Dove uses many techniques to treat individuals and couples. She uses integrative psychotherapy to help with relational issues, and any other issue risen during treatment.

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