Too many couples suffer secretly from chronic negativity and emotional distance.
Painful interactions take a toll on relationships, and effect our overall well-being.
Many couples struggle to communicate and connect in today’s busy world. Chronic stress causes tension and negativity. Couples find themselves distant, easily triggered, and shut down to each other. They don’t know how to fix the problem and they’ve lost hope trying.
Despair, anger, and pain set in.
Couples often teeter on the edge of separation and divorce for years, making threats in moments when the situation feels unbearable.
The “D” word should only be used when discussing matters calmly and when you have given it thought in a non-reactive way.
You don’t have to know for sure what you will choose to do, but it is most corrosive to the bond in a relationship to threaten to leave.
We make threats when we are in moments of unbearable pain and frustration. We need to learn to express our feelings safely, without throwing the relationship’s life on the line.
Calm discussions that explore the possibility of separating can be quite healthy, if one or both partners have been considering it. That is different than threatening it in a moment of emotional reactivity.
Decision Counseling helps couples get clarity on how each individual truly feels and wants in terms of staying together or not, before committing to Couples Counseling, which is for relationships where both people have made a conscious commitment to work on it together.
Today, when the costs of living keep rising and finances are increasingly harder to manage, there is a growing number of couples who stay together because they can’t afford to separate.
Some couples separate in the house, using separate bedrooms or even floors, others continue to sleep in the same bed.
Sometimes we need space, but we can’t afford to establish a whole, other household.
There are actually healthy ways of doing this. They require calm, responsible communication and agreements. It can be done, and in the process, things may shift toward reconciliation.
In either case, it’s responsible communication and working through agreements to ensure doing it sanely - in ways that don’t injure the children more than necessary - that makes the difference.
Imagine that you are in a relationship where you and your partner feel safe and open talking with each other – about anything.
You can go to your mate with your true feelings and be heard. Understanding each other is a priority and you both create time and safe space to resolve issues, connect deeply and grow together.
You are on a journey with a trusted, cherished partner, and as you travel through life as a team, you come to know and love each other more and more.
The foundation of your bond supports your personal journey as well. The health and comfort of your relationship feeds your own growth as an individual, as you move through the world confident, relaxed and alive.
Or, you have come to a painful but clear decision to end a relationship, and you had no idea the process could feel safe, mature, and even loving.
How does that sound?
So why is your relationship life suffering?
Why are you struggling to communicate with your partner? What is the real cause? Why is the closeness fading?
What happened to the love?
No one taught you about emotional reactivity.
You, along with most people, were not prepared for what intimate relationship actually requires from two people over time. It started out positively, then something happened. It’s hard to pinpoint, but things got edgy, not as warm. There was tension.
You didn’t want to admit it to yourself, and the two of you didn’t talk about it.
Negativity became chronic, unresolved, a constant background noise.
No one told you what you would really face in a long-term relationship.
You’ve heard about what marriage and house-holding does to romance, sexuality, and the bond between people. You’ve seen it in the movies and laughed about it at comedy clubs.
You just didn’t think it would happen to you.
There’s no room/time/energy for sex, intimate talks, hanging out, the friendship. You’re using whatever energy you have left after work, kids, bills, etc. to survive.
Stress, overwhelm and fatigue took over. Whatever you say, your partner takes it the wrong way. You can’t bring up a serious topic without getting a negative reaction. You feel pent up, unsafe initiating connection.
You feel criticized, defensive, and tired - very tired.
What is it going to take to change your relationship for the better?
You need to take a step back, to look at your relationship objectively and observe what is happening with a trained eye. Once you do that, you can see the history and the present situation clearly, unclouded by emotional reactions, and begin to sort them out, see cause and effect, and take action to change.
What do you need to do? You need to be smart and effective in your communication with your partner. To use proven guiding principles in your language and approach instead of just winging it.
You need to practice and master research-supported communication tools so you can shift into a new way that works and creates connection, not distance.
You need to heal the past, learn a new way of communicating in the present, and move forward with skills and confidence to create fulfilling connection together.
I help people who are struggling with relationship problems.
I work with a range of couples - married, domestic partners, straight, gay, dating. What I find is that relationship is relationship, and the patterns show up in all of them.
My clients learn reliable tools that avoid communication breakdowns, repair painful interactions, and create fulfilling connection.
The skills I teach help people overcome barriers that keep them from communicating effectively and truly connecting. The work offers powerful relationship healing and skills for reaching each other and being heard and seen in a whole new way. This opens the door to deeply fulfilling partnership.
Since 2001, Yaj has been helping couples and individuals in her private counseling practice. Her approach gives clients real life skills for having healthy and gratifying relationships.
“When you learn how to work on your relationship, your relationship works.”
When I first came to couples counseling with my wife, I was very upset because things were so bad between us and that was killing me. Now we’re like kids again. We’re having fun again. Sex again. This is amazing.