Have you ever heard someone saying “It’s better to be alone than in a relationship”? Relationships are hard. There’s no doubt about it. At the same time, relationships are also an enormous source of strength, as they support us emotionally and give us a sense of belonging, love and appreciation.

Relationships can be hard to balance and maintain. This is mostly because relationships are complex and depend on the emotions, needs, intentions, likes and dislikes of the other person. Some relationships grow fragile and difficult over time. At times people may grow apart or break the relationship. This may happen due to external difficulties like work pressure or financial issues, or may also happen due to incompatibility. How to decide if you should work on the relationship or break up? A couples relationship counselling in Pune at Center for Mental Health can help you recognize certain fundamental things of each partner that may have contributed to the change of relationship quality.

What makes relationships difficult?

  • Individual differences
    In his book ‘Marital Tensions’, Henry Dicks talks about the marital problems in the context of mental and emotional experiences of each partner throughout their childhood (Dicks, 1967). These experiences affect the interpersonal relationship partners have with each other.
    Each partner views the other person through their own lens of mental and emotional experiences which may actually not match the current reality. This creates different perspectives for each partner and they may feel as if they are on different pages while arguing about the same topic.

    Couple therapists at Center for Mental Health, in couples counselling therapy, can help the partners understand themselves and their problems relating to one another.

  • Implicit expectations
    According to a family therapy theorist, Don D. Jackson, we get into a relationship with indirect and implicit expectations from the partner (Jackson, 1965). The implicit expectations serve as a maladaptive way to deal with problems arising in a relationship. For example, one may get into a relationship because they (unconsciously) need appreciation. This need comes up in many ways, like needing attention, needing to spend more time with the partner, etc. Although none of these needs are good or bad in a relationship, they might become an expectation the partner might not be able to fulfill every time.

    Relationship therapists at Center for Mental Health, in relationship therapy, may bring these implicit patterns to awareness and support more adaptive, conscious rules for the relationship.

  • Relationship roles
    In a relationship, partners assume their own roles to make the relationship work. For example, one may take up the role of “the clever one” or “the peacemaker”. Sometimes, these roles may become dysfunctional. For example, one may assume to be “the rescuer”, “the martyr” or “the victim”. According to Virginia Satir, these dysfunctional roles are based on a person’s poor self-esteem (Satir, 1965).

    Couples therapists at Center for Mental Health, Pune, will help by fostering self-expression and increasing self-awareness and authenticity of the partners.

  • Lack of differentiation
    According to Bowen, we develop patterns in relationships to reduce anxiety (Brown, 1999). Anxiety is generated in a relationship when there is either too much of closeness or too great a distance in the relationship. When we are in a romantic relationship, we idealize this social construct of “two bodies, one soul (do jism, ek jaan)”. However, this notion wants two different people to forget their individuality and become one. This creates anxiety as people start losing their sense of self in long term relationships and might use maladaptive ways to reduce this anxiety.

    A relationship therapist at Center for Mental Health, can help by recognizing your own strengths and individuality at the same time helping maintain a relationship.

  • Resistance to change
    According to Jay Haley, people in relationships are resistant to change (Haley, 1990). This may be because couple interactions are based on the dynamics of power and control. Although some problems in relationships are based on complementary patterns of the partners, they also serve some function as it keeps the relationship going on (Carr, 2012). And hence, people may be resistant to change themselves as well as their patterns in the relationship.

    A couple’s therapist at Center for Mental Health, Pune, can help in recognizing problems in the relationship and strategizing for breaking the pattern of interaction.

Benefits of relationship therapy and counseling

  • Understanding how to resolve conflicts in a healthy manner.
  • Development of communication skills that will foster a healthy relationship.
  • Learning how to be assertive without being offensive.
  • Learning how to express one’s needs without resentment or anger.
  • Learning acceptance and forgiveness.
  • A deeper understanding of oneself and of one’s partner.
  • The ability to address and work through a crisis (e.g., the death of an important family member).
  • Increased honesty and trust in the relationship.
  • The development of a supportive environment.

Couples relationship counselling at Center for Mental Health, Pune can help couples by working through issues together and help the couple can reconnect with one another,