It’s ok not to be ok.
Lately, meaning the last year since the pandemic started, I’ve had a serious influx of couples looking for therapy. The pandemic has created a sort of alternate reality in which relationships — couples or families — continued to grow on their own, without much contact to others or outside of home.
Whatever challenges that were present in those relationships, had been to an extent buffered by being able to socialize with others, working outside of home, having hobbies, traveling, going out, etc. Sure, there might be some trouble in communication, some lack of intimacy, some disillusionment on the way couples treated or cared for each other but all of that was easier to overlook when we could shift our focus and attention into something else.
Well, turns out it is harder to turn a blind eye to those challenges when we don’t have anywhere to look, or be at. Naturally, those struggles started to become more apparent, and they started to feel consequential. Now more that ever, I’ve heard couples say, “Either this gets resolved or I can’t continue [our relationship] anymore.”
This is where I will say, “Let’s Slow Down.”
“Let’s see what has been going on:
When did you [both] started feeling stuck in this struggle?
How have you tried to get out of that conflictual place?
What feelings are being left unsaid OR what needs are being left unattended? What would make you [both] feel that you are being listened to, feeling understand, and cared for?”
My experience working with couples — especially this last year, is that most need help slowing down and having a safe place where they can talk, be heard, feel understood, and learn or expand the ways that they are caring for each other and their relationship. And most importantly, to feel validated in knowing that experiencing challenges in a relationship is quite normal.