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Conflict and dissatisfaction in a relationship is a normal part of every relationship. We all go through difficulties, as we all have different needs and ways of communicating. Sometimes we experience relationship struggles in particular relationships (e.g. with our partner or mother) or for time periods (e.g. at the start of a relationship or in your first few years of marriage). However, sometimes arguments and dissatisfaction in relationships can affect your mood, daily choices and your comfort with the other person, possibly leading you to question the longevity of the relationship.
What are the signs my relationship is in trouble?
- Frequent, reoccurring threats of ending or creating distance in the relationship.
- Repetitive arguments. You may find you cycle though the same types of arguments (e.g. arguments about money or how to parent your children).
- Distance from each other. This may be experienced as uncomfortable, and unsettling, possibly causing anxiety. Distance in a relationship can also be poor or little communication, where one or both people avoids discussing their difficulties or concerns.
- Difficulty bouncing back after an argument. That is, someone may feel injured and find it difficult to forgive the other person and re-focus on normal enjoyable activities.
What causes relationship stress?
- Difficult situations. For example, someone may be under pressure with concern for a loved ones health or be experiencing stress at work. If they struggle to handle or communicate their emotions, they may act irrationally, be irritable, distance themselves or blame others for their difficulties.
- Communication problems. Some people struggle to clearly and rationally communicate their needs and feelings. While other’s completely supress their needs and go forward feeling dissatisfied and resentful.
- Different styles of relating. Most people feel comfortable being in each other’s company, just as much as they feel comfortable being apart – this is called secure attachment. Some people feel uncomfortable with too much intimacy and crave independence – this is called avoidant attachment. While other people feel anxious when they are separated from their loved one and worry the relationship is under threat – this is called anxious attachment. Certain combinations of attachment styles (e.g. avoidant attachment with anxious attachment) can cause relationship stress.
How can I make my relationship better?
- There are several well-researched therapies that are effective in improving relationships and individual ways of relating. Depending on the nature of your relationship difficulty, it may be preferable to seek therapy as a couple or family, and or individually. Individual therapies include: Cognitive-behavioural Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT), Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) and Psychodynamic Psychotherapy.
- Couples and family therapies include: Solution-focused Brief Therapy (SFBT), Family Systems Therapy, Communications and parent training, Cognitive-behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT).
How can Peaceful Mind Psychology help?
We are experienced and trained in treating relationship difficulties, both individually and with couples. If you would like some professional assistance contact us at Peaceful Mind Psychology.