NYC Psychotherapist Blog

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Thursday, December 8, 2022

How to Maintain a Happy Relationship

Developing and maintaining a happy relationship is more challenging these days than ever.  Whereas in former times people had the emotional support of an extended family, people in relationships now tend to rely much more on each other, which often places a strain on the relationship (see my articles: Nurturing Your Relationship and Creating a Safe Haven For Each Other.

Developing and Maintaining a Happy Relationship

While no relationship is without occasional problems, more relationships these days are failing because of the greater emotional burden placed on the relationship.  Also, people often enter into a relationship with unrealistic expectations of their partners and unaware of the work it takes to develop and maintain a happy relationship.

How to Develop and Maintain a Happy Relationship
Developing a Happy Relationship: Spend Quality Time Together Without Distractions
  • Be Loving and Kind to Each Other:  Many couples are loving and kind to each other at the beginning of the relationship but, as time goes on, they forget to do the things that endeared them to each other (see my articles:  Practicing Tolerance and Compassion in Your Relationship).
  • Talk About What You Need Emotionally From Your Romantic Partner:  Talking about emotional needs is often difficult for people who are afraid to make themselves emotionally vulnerable, especially if one or both partners grew up in a family where people didn't talk about their feelings. Many couples don't know how to communicate their needs and come across as blaming or complaining, which makes the other partner shut down.  Other people seem to feel that their partner "should know" what they want without their communicating their needs (see my article:  Relationships: Are You Too Afraid to Talk to Your Spouse About What's Bothering and Are You Feeling Lonely in Your Relationship?).
  • Respect One Another:  Respecting one another is often related to being able to talk about emotional needs.  For example, if, instead of focusing on what she needs emotionally from her husband, a woman blames her husband for not being more attentive, her husband might shut down and not hear her underlying message, which is: "I need you to show that you care about me."  That message gets lost because it's not getting communicated directly.  The husband will feel criticized and might stonewall.  This often leads to the wife becoming more strident, which leads to even further withdrawal by the husband.  Aside from the obvious forms of disrespect, like name calling, other less obvious forms of disrespect, like eye rolling, show contempt for the other partner and often lead to the demise of the relationship (see my articles:  Emotional Intimacy: The One Who Loves You the Most is Often the One Who Hurts You the Most, and Relationships: When Expressing Your Feelings Turns Into Verbal Abuse).
  • Develop Realistic Expectations of Your Relationship:  You're partner can't be everything to you.  You need to have friends and other forms of emotional support in order not to put too heavy a burden on the relationship (see my article: Relationships: Your Spouse Can't Meet All Your Expectations).
  • Let Go of the Small Stuff:  When you're in a relationship, you need to know what's most important to you.  Do you really want to argue about the socks that never made it from the floor to the hamper?  If you do, you'll be arguing a lot and this can erode a relationship quickly (see my article: Are You Overreacting to Small Disappointments? and Letting Go of Resentment).
Developing and Maintaining a Happy Relationship:  Be Playful With One Another
Getting Help For Your Relationship in Couples Counseling
There are many couples who have lost their way in their relationship and they're unable to find their way back to the loving relationship that they once had.

A skilled psychotherapist, who works with couples, can help a couple to understand what went wrong and provide them with tools to get back on track (see my article: What is Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy?).

If you've tried on your own to work out your relationship, but you keep coming up short, you could benefit from seeing a couples therapist who can help you to have the loving relationship that you once had.

About Me
I am a licensed New York City psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR, AEDP, EFT, Somatic Experiencing and Sex Therapist 

I am a sex positive therapist who works with individuals and couples.

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

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.