NYC Psychotherapist Blog

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Relationships: When Love Doesn't Conquer All

When most people enter into a new relationship, they experience that heady, passionate time when they feel invincible and that nothing could get in their way because they're so deeply in love with each other. So, it can be very disappointing, after these heady feelings subside, to discover that, contrary to popular myths, love doesn't always conquer all, and it's often not enough for a relationship to survive and withstand the many challenges couples face today.

Relationships: When Love Doesn't Conquer All

The following scenarios, which are composites of actual cases with all identifying information changed to protect confidentiality, are typical examples of couples who enter into couples counseling:

Bill and Sandra met in college. They fell deeply in love after dating for a few months. While they were dating, they became aware that they had significant differences in terms of their values and goals in life: Sandra wanted children and Bill was not sure; Bill was a spender and Sandra was a saver; Sandra had a few close friends and preferred to stay home most of the time, and Bill was very outgoing, enjoyed going out and liked meeting new people, and so on. Even though they were aware of these differences, they believed that, since they were so deeply in love, their love would carry them through and they would work out these differences.

However, four years after they got married, even though they still loved each other very much, they were arguing a lot about these differences. They were each disappointed, hurt and confused as to why, if they cared about each other so much, their relationship was not working out.

Greg and Denise met while they were each going through a divorce. They were both in their mid-40s. Initially, the relationship began as a friendship, where they consoled and supported each other. But it quickly turned romantic, and when each of them was free, they got married. Denise considered herself to be a spiritual person. She went to church on a regular basis and she was involved in various church committees. She was aware that Greg considered himself to be an atheist, but she overlooked this and thought she could change it after they got married.

Relationships: When Love Doesn't Conquer All

Two years into their marriage, they began arguing about religion. Denise was disappointed that Greg refused to participate in her church services and that he was not even willing to reconsider his views on religion. Greg was angry and felt badgered by Denise because he was upfront about his atheism and he thought she accepted it, only to find out that she held a secret hope that he would change.

Lisa and Robert seemed like the "ideal couple" to their friends. They were both very in love and devoted to one another. They had similar values, and they shared of vision and a plan for what they wanted their life to be like together. But after Lisa and Robert had their first child, they began to drift apart. They had both looked forward to having children, but the reality of having a baby turned out to be very different from what each of them had anticipated. Both of them were sleep deprived from the baby waking up crying several times a night, which caused them to be irritable with each other. Robert also felt that Lisa spent so much time doting on the baby that she hardly paid attention to him. He felt neglected. They hardly went out any more, and he felt they were in a rut. Each of them thought, "How could this have happened to us?"

Margaret and Karen met at a mutual friend's birthday party. They fell in love almost immediately. After dating for six months, they moved into Margaret's apartment, since it was much larger than Karen's and more convenient to each of their jobs. Soon after moving in, they began arguing and getting into power struggles about the apartment.

Karen wanted to make a few changes so she could feel comfortable and make the apartment feel that it was as much hers as it was Margaret's. But Margaret liked things just as they were and saw no need to change anything. They both felt disappointed that they were arguing about what seemed like petty things when they knew that they cared about each other very much. But they didn't know how to get passed this problem.

Getting Help in Therapy
If you and your partner are having ongoing arguments, if the two of you can't seem to overcome the obstacles in your relationship, you could benefit from couples counseling. 

An experienced couples counselor can help you to overcome these obstacles to either decide to stay together or to split up in an amicable way without the usual anger and bitterness that is associated with breakups and divorce.

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist. I help individuals and couples to overcome obstacles that are keeping them from leading fulfilling lives.

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

To set up an appointment, call me at (917) 742-2624 during regular business hours or email me.