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Couples therapy



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  • Couples therapy

    Hello. Me and my wife had couples therapy 2 days ago. First session together and if you have followed my other 2 posts, you’ll know what I’m up against. I’m just confused..

    The more effort I put in, the more I feel like I clutter her. And she backs off. Should I just cut communication off unless it’s about the kids? Just don’t know what approach to take since her communication is dry and short. She’s agreed to continue the therapy, and also her focus is fixing the marriage and being together. But I see nothing like that in person or phone.

  • #2
    I understand this must be a tremendously difficult and confusing time for you and your wife. Navigating the complexities of a strained relationship can feel overwhelming, especially when the path forward is unclear. However, I want you to know that you're not alone in this journey, and there are constructive steps you can take to address the challenges you're facing.

    First and foremost, it's important to acknowledge the progress you've already made by seeking couples therapy. The fact that you and your wife have agreed to continue the sessions is a positive sign, even if the process feels slow or the results are not immediately apparent. Change, especially in the context of a marriage, often happens gradually and can be challenging to perceive in the moment.

    It's understandable that you're feeling frustrated and confused by your wife's seemingly dry and short communication. When we're deeply invested in the success of our relationships, it can be incredibly disheartening to feel like our efforts are met with indifference or withdrawal. However, it's crucial to remember that your wife's behavior is likely a reflection of her own internal struggles and not a direct rejection of you or your attempts to connect.

    One of the key principles in effective communication within a relationship is to avoid making assumptions about your partner's motivations or feelings. It's easy to project our own fears and insecurities onto the other person, but this can often lead us down an unproductive path. Instead, I encourage you to approach your interactions with your wife with a genuine curiosity and a willingness to understand her perspective.

    Perhaps there are underlying issues or concerns that she is grappling with, which are contributing to her guarded responses. It's possible that the couples therapy has stirred up complex emotions or memories for her, and she may be feeling overwhelmed or unsure of how to process them. By approaching her with empathy and a genuine desire to listen, you may be able to create a space where she feels safe to open up and share her thoughts and feelings more freely.

    At the same time, it's important to recognize the boundaries and limits of your own involvement. While it's understandable to want to "fix" the relationship, constantly pushing for more communication or engagement may actually have the opposite effect and cause your wife to withdraw even further. Sometimes, the healthiest approach is to take a step back and allow your wife the space and time she needs to process her own thoughts and emotions.

    This doesn't mean completely cutting off communication, of course. Maintaining a basic level of communication, particularly when it comes to matters related to your children, is essential. However, you may find it beneficial to shift the focus of your interactions to more practical and logistical matters, at least for the time being. This can help to reduce the emotional pressure and allow both of you to take a breather from the intensity of the situation.

    It's crucial to remember that the progress in a relationship is often not linear. There may be moments of connection and understanding, followed by periods of distance and disconnect. This is all part of the ebb and flow of a long-term relationship, and it's important to have patience and trust in the process.

    One strategy that may be helpful is to focus on your own personal growth and self-care during this time. Engaging in activities that bring you joy, or pursuing interests and hobbies that you've put on the back burner, can help you to maintain a sense of balance and well-being. This, in turn, can make you a more centered and grounded partner, which may ultimately benefit the relationship.

    Additionally, it may be helpful to reflect on the specific behaviors or patterns that you've observed in your interactions with your wife. Are there particular triggers or scenarios that seem to elicit a more guarded or distant response from her? By gaining a deeper understanding of these dynamics, you may be able to adjust your approach and find more constructive ways to communicate and connect.

    It's important to remember that healing and growth within a relationship is a gradual process, and it often requires patience, resilience, and a willingness to step outside of our own biases and assumptions. While the current situation may feel overwhelming, try to focus on the small, incremental steps you can take to foster understanding and connection with your wife.

    Ultimately, the decision of whether to maintain open communication or to limit it to practical matters related to the children is a deeply personal one, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. It's important to carefully consider your own needs, your wife's needs, and the long-term goals for your relationship.

    If you decide to limit communication, be sure to do so in a way that is respectful and considerate of your wife's needs. Perhaps you could have a open and honest conversation with her about your intentions, and seek her input on the best way to move forward. This can help to prevent further misunderstandings and create a sense of shared understanding, even in the midst of a challenging situation.

    Remember, you are not alone in this journey. While the path forward may not be clear, have faith in your ability to navigate this together, even if it requires taking small, tentative steps. Keep an open mind, be patient with yourself and your wife, and trust that the work you're putting in, even if it doesn't feel like much in the moment, is ultimately laying the foundation for a stronger, more resilient relationship.


    • #3
      I hear your frustration and confusion regarding the dynamics in your relationship with your wife. It's understandable to feel lost and unsure of the best approach, especially after your first couples therapy session. Let's explore this together and see if I can provide some insights that may help guide you forward.

      First, it's important to acknowledge that relationships can be incredibly complex, with ebbs and flows, periods of closeness and distance. The fact that you and your wife have agreed to continue with couples therapy is a positive sign - it shows a shared commitment to working on your marriage, even if the progress feels slow or uneven at times.

      One of the common challenges in relationships is finding the right balance between pursuing connection and respecting each other's needs for space and autonomy. It seems like the more effort you're putting in, the more your wife is pulling back. This dynamic is not uncommon, and it often stems from a deeper underlying issue that therapy can help uncover and address.

      It's possible that your wife is feeling overwhelmed or smothered by your attempts to connect, and her way of coping is to withdraw. This can be a defense mechanism, a way of protecting herself from feeling vulnerable or from the perceived pressure to "fix" the relationship. Conversely, your desire to resolve the issues may come across as needy or demanding, further exacerbating her need for distance.

      In situations like this, it's important to resist the temptation to retaliate or shut down communication altogether. While it may be tempting to "give up" and limit your interactions to only necessary conversations about the children, that approach is unlikely to foster the healing and reconnection you both desire.

      Instead, I would encourage you to focus on creating a safe and supportive environment for open and honest communication during your couples therapy sessions. Use this time to really listen to your wife, to try to understand her perspective and the underlying reasons for her withdrawal. Avoid being defensive or confrontational, and instead, approach the conversations with empathy and a genuine desire to connect.

      One strategy that could be helpful is to try to shift the focus from "fixing the marriage" to simply creating more opportunities for emotional intimacy and understanding. Rather than pressuring your wife to be more affectionate or communicative, try to find small ways to show up for her in a way that feels comfortable and non-threatening. This could involve simple gestures like holding her hand, offering a gentle hug, or simply being present and actively listening without trying to "solve" anything.

      It's also important to reflect on your own role in the dynamic and be willing to make adjustments to your own behavior. Are there ways in which you may be inadvertently pushing your wife away, even with the best of intentions? Perhaps there are communication styles or patterns that you can work on improving, such as being more attuned to her needs, or learning to express your feelings and needs in a more constructive manner.

      Remember, the goal of couples therapy is not to "fix" your wife or your marriage, but to create a space for you both to grow, heal, and find a new way of relating to each other. This process takes time, patience, and a willingness to be vulnerable and take risks.

      As you continue with the therapy sessions, I encourage you to focus on small, incremental steps towards greater understanding and connection. Celebrate the small wins, even if they don't feel as significant as you'd like. Trust that with consistent effort and an open heart, you and your wife can find a way to navigate this challenge and emerge stronger on the other side.

      It's important to keep in mind that the progress in relationships is rarely linear. There may be setbacks and moments of frustration, but try to view these as opportunities for growth rather than failures. If you find yourself feeling particularly discouraged, remember to practice self-compassion and seek support in healthy ways, such as through personal reflection, journaling, or engaging in activities that bring you joy and nourishment.

      Ultimately, the key is to approach this process with patience, kindness, and a willingness to continue learning and adapting. Your dedication to your marriage is admirable, and I believe that with the right strategies and a commitment to growth, you and your wife can find a way to reconnect and rebuild the intimacy you once shared.

      I hope this perspective has been helpful in providing you with a framework to approach this challenge. Wishing you all the best on your journey.