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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Relationships: Are You Pulling Together or Pulling Apart?

When you've been in a relationship for a while, it's easy to slip into unhealthy habits that are damaging to your relationship without even realizing it.  So, it's a good idea to take stock of your relationship every so often to look at whether you're pulling together or pulling apart.

Relationships: Are You Pulling Together or Pulling Apart?

Develop Positive Habits Early in Your Relationship
  • Set aside time to talk about your hopes, plans, and dreams.  This means "unplugging" and setting aside all distractions so you're focused on one another.
  • Talk about things that are bother you in a tactful, non-accusatory way, rather than allowing resentments to fester.
  • Don't criticize:  You can say what you don't like without blaming your partner.
  • Choose your battles.  Don't nitpick.
  • Take responsibility for your part in whatever problems you have.
  • Make amends, if possible, as soon as possible.
  • Be considerate of one another.
  • Remember to express your gratitude to your partner.
  • Remember that your partner is with you voluntarily--s/he doesn't have to stay.

How Do Relationships Change From Being Supportive to Unsupportive?
People who are in long term relationships often discover that, just like anything else, their relationships change.

Change occurs for a variety of reasons, and the underlying issues are different for each relationship.

The best case is scenario is that two people in a relationship grow and change together in a way that is mutually supportive.  But this isn't always the case.

It's usually easier to take care of problem, whatever the problem might be, in the earlier stages.

Unhealthy Habits in Long Term Relationships
Over time, it's easy to get into unhealthy habits in long term relationships that, eventually, erode the quality of your relationship.  Then, it's a matter of repairing the emotional damage that has been done.

One of the main complaints I hear from clients who come to see me for couples counseling in my psychotherapy private practice in NYC is that one or both people feel their partner is being overly critical.

Being overly critical is one of the most damaging things you can do in your relationship.  By being overly critical, you might not realize it, but you're expressing your contempt for your partner and your partner feels it.

See my articles:
Relationships: Learning How to Stop Criticizing Your Spouse
Relationships: Overcoming Push-Pull Power Struggles

Getting Help
It's important to realize that even the best relationships can go through a rough patch.

Many couples can work out their issues on their own, especially if they address their problems together early on.

Many other couples find that they benefit from working with a couples therapist who has expertise in helping the couple to navigate through their problems.

When choosing a couples therapist, it's important to choose a licensed mental health professional and not a coach.

Why is this?  Because there are often deep-seated emotional issues for one or both people that might be getting triggered in the relationships and a coach isn't qualified to deal with these type of issues.

Getting Help to Overcome the Problems in Your Relationship

See my article:
Relationships: Unresolved Childhood Issues Can Create Problems in Your Adult Relationships

It's also important to choose a therapist that both people feel comfortable with and with whom both people feel a rapport.

See my article:
How to Choose a Psychotherapist

Taking the First Step to Overcome the Problems in Your Relationship
Taking the first step is often the hardest, but once you've both acknowledged that there are problems, getting help can make a meaningful difference to overcoming your problems.

I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist who works with individual adults and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my web site:  Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006 or email me:

photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography via photopin cc

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