I'm having problems with my relationship... Admitting that you have a seemingly unsolvable problem with your primary, intimate relationship is the first step. The next step is to determine the exact nature of the problem. The symptoms are usually relatively easy to identify and describe: frequent conflict, silence, veiled or overt criticism, emotional or physical withdrawing, fruitless pursuing, excessive alcohol use, emotional or physical affairs, pornography, stonewalling, mutual disrespect, infrequent intimacy, little or no affection. The causes are of course a lot harder to determine and may require the help of a professional, impartial coach who is specifically trained in systemic approaches to interpersonal issues.

Individual solutions to relationship problems

The hunt for the real causes of a serious relationship problem is further complicated by this question: is it me or is it my partner (that is causing the majority of the problem)? Based on my experience in working with couples of all ages and backgrounds, the responsibility is usually shared by both parties. By definition, relationships involve at least two people. It is logical that, by action or by omission, both parties are contributing to make the relationship dysfunctional.

In a sense, the parties are both principal actors and script-writers in their play and thus co-create nearly every bit of the situations, circumstances, reactions and difficulties that they are experiencing. The pain and the hurt are mutually inflicted. It should be possible to realize what's happening, review the script, change it into something more effective and more enjoyable, and put a stop to the patterns of mutual destruction.  Unfortunately, though, the scriptwriters often appear to lose their ability to rewrite the play and are seemingly condemned to play the same painful scenes over and over again. Why?

Often, the explanation is that there is indeed something that stands in the way of adopting more effective relationship strategies. That something does not originate from the relationship itself. Rather, it is brought into the relationship by the individuals themselves. Thus, solving relationship problems is made more difficult, and sometimes impossible, if one or both partners have brought into the relationship a co-occurring mental health issue: anxiety, panic, depression, bipolar, borderline, past abuse or trauma, drug or alcohol dependence, personality disorders, attachment style problems. In this case, it is important to isolate and identify these serious issues, and treat them adequately, either in concurrence with couples counseling or, more appropriately, in individual counseling.

Get Help With Relationships

To make an appointment with Dr. Z, call (678) 554-5632 or fill out the online appointment request. We can go over your current situation, identify the ways in which certain issues are affecting your life and that of your loved ones, or how they can impede, delay or ruin your relationships. We will put some dimensions to the problem, and identify your current resources that may be applied toward meaningful and lasting change. If additional resources and skills are needed, we will treat your severe symptoms and help you feel calmer and increase your ability to choose the most appropriate response to each situation. Treating relationship issues or current conflict in relationships is feasible, it's proven to be effective, and has helped many people who had a variety of different symptoms and challenges. Call and make your appointment today and we can get started.

Often, it's an attachment problem...

attachment-drzIn many instances, while taking a relationship history with my clients, I discover family of origin issues that continue to play a significant role in the individual's current relationship troubles. These FOO issues can wreak havoc in a person's ability to trust another and sustain an intimate, committed relationship. Unresolved conflicts with the parents during the crucial, formative years can leave scars that do not heal until they are systematically and effectively addressed in adulthood.  Frequently, a relationship that should work and is not, or a partner that should be a good match and is not, or troubles that should be easily solved and they are not are the most tell-tale signs that something more personal must be at play. Among the possibilities, attachment problems are definitely worth considering. A healthy attachment style is so important in seeking, creating and maintaining healthy relationship that it merits its own assessment and classification. Often, discovering your attachment style and learning its characteristics is the initial, crucial step that can foster real growth and get you much closer to finally resolving those unaddressed FOO issues that have been around for years. Read more about attachment styles.