You are hanging out at the bar after a long day of work. You look around and a beautiful woman catches your eye. Your heart starts racing, your palms get sweaty, and you feel butterflies in your stomach. It is almost as if time stood still, and every single fiber in your body is telling you that she is the ONE. You finally work up the courage to walk up to her and start a conversation. Fast forward a few years, you get married and live happily for the rest of your lives…
Nice, isn’t it?
I think it’s safe to say that most of us hopeless romantics have fantasized about a magical scene like this taking place in our own lives, at some point.
More and more people, nowadays, seem to believe that the most challenging part of a relationship is finding a partner. Though this step certainly is difficult, what shocks many people is how challenging it can be to stay in a relationship because—let’s be real, relationships are terrifying and exhausting. After all, we are sharing some of the most vulnerable aspects of ourselves with another person, hoping that they will continue to love and accept us unconditionally. Similarly, we are also expected to accept and love our partner, flaws and all.
I have had many clients talk to me about their anxieties surrounding their relationships. They are afraid of falling out of love with their partner; that all the years invested into the relationship will go to waste, not to mention the paralyzing fear of the uncertainty that the future of the relationship holds. Additionally, we live in a time where technology makes it much easier for us to find instant gratification as often as we want with as many people as we desire—so, why bother working SO hard to make a relationship work?
- First, rest assured that these are very common fears and feelings to have in a relationship.
- Second, you certainly do not have to feel obligated to stay in a relationship if you genuinely do not want to (or no longer feel safe!*)
Conflict is a part of every relationship in our lives. In fact, conflict is normal! It is also quite inevitable to sometimes feel anxious in a relationship. However, how do you know when your relationship is at the end of its rope? These are a few other things to think about:
- How do most conversations with your partner end? Are you left feeling overwhelmed with anxiety, sadness, or anger? Or do you find that you are so drained after every interaction with your partner that you now do your very best to avoid talking to them?
- Do you no longer find your partner attractive? Do you avoid sex or physical contact?
- Are you feeling stuck in your relationship?
- You may love your partner, but do you feel unfulfilled? As though something is missing?
Sound familiar? If so, these are some signs that it may be time to seek… wait for it—counselling. Don’t worry, many couples are skeptical about therapy. Relationships are never perfect, but sometimes they could benefit from professional help. In my work with couples, I treat both partners equally. I offer couples an objective (and fresh!) perspective on their situation, and work collaboratively to alleviate relational stress. This is what you can also expect in counselling:
- Together, we will identify behavioural patterns in your relationship
- Explore your emotional needs
- Work on improving your emotional responsiveness and communication skills
- Re-establish hope and resiliency in your relationship
Seeking help is never easy, but I would be happy to support you through this process. If you would like to book an appointment with me, please call 416-531-0727.
*If you ever feel that you are in immediate danger and would like help, please go somewhere you feel safe and call 911 in the case of an emergency.
To work with Paula, call 416-537-0727