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Fighting too often? 

Melanie and Sam have been married for 12 years. They used to be in love and feel very comfortable with each other. But something changed when they had children. Melanie became more and more distressed and she kept criticising Sam for coming home late, for not attending to her and their children, for not being present, and for not showing her love. Sam slowly started to feel that home is not a safe place to be. He continues to feel attacked.

Whenever they have an argument, Sam withdraws and stops communicating. He either goes outside and visits his friends or grabs a beer and sits in front of the TV and ignores Melanie. Melanie finds this even more disturbing and it makes her feel even lonelier. When she tries to get closer to Sam, he becomes even more distant. They have ended up in a relationship in which they both feel hurt, unloved, unheard, and in which both their needs go unmet. They often wonder, “Is this what a relationship is meant to be?”

Too far away?

Jane and Matt have been married for 26 years. They have two grown children who recently left home. Since their children left, Jane and Matt suddenly feel like they have nothing to talk about. There is very little communication between them. Jane describes this saying, “It’s as if we are two people hired to do the household chores together”. It doesn’t feel like a relationship to them anymore. It’s like they have lost their connection. But they are too afraid to bring up the topic of their relationship and talk to each other. They sometimes wonder: “Is this how a relationship should be?”

Whether you are a newlywed couple, have been married for a long time, or have only recently met and are still deciding whether this is the right relationship for you, there are things you can learn about your relationship that will help you to strengthen your connection. Relationships are not easy. As human beings we all have a longing for connection and intimacy. We search for that intimacy at every stage of our lives.

The art of maintaining a happy relationship is based on successful communication. Every couple experiences conflict, but the difference between happy and unhappy couples comes down to how they tackle their differences. Different models of relationship therapy exist to help couples that are dealing with difficulties in their relationships. Two of the most well known are the Gottman model and the Emotionally Focused Therapy model. Both employ similar principles, but in very different ways and within different frameworks.

Many psychologists believe that being in a happy relationship is the most important thing we are seeking in our modern life. From research base evidence we know that couples on average are happier, healthier, wealthier, live longer and have happier retirement times compared to single people. Of course this is only if you are in a happy relationship. Because to the contrary a relationship full of arguments and fights and disagreements can make you equally feel miserable. But arguments and disagreements are unavoidable in a relationship. No relationship can exist without disagreements and moments of unhappiness. So what is the secret of happy relationships?

For many years I have observed couples fighting, arguing, being sad and unhappy about their relationship. Through years of practice and research and observation I have found that there are several factors that distinguish a happy couple from unhappy ones. Some of these are as:

  • Happy couples learn the art of communicating with each other. Being able to discuss what you disagree on is a very difficult task. The successful couples are the ones who learn how to discuss their differences and disagreements without being angry or disappointed. In Parvaz clinic we will help you to learn faster how to successfully discuss your disagreements and build a happier relationship.
  • Happy couples laugh together. Having a pleasant sense of humour is the key to happiness. But everyone has their own unique way of making the other person laugh. The couple who learn their own unique way and make their partners laugh have found a nice path to enjoying their relationship together.
  • Good sex! Having good sex is one of the important elements in making your relationship pleasant, enjoyable and long lasting. While good sex is the result of a good physical connection between the two people, still there are lots to sex than a physical act. In our clinic we will discuss with you what it means to build your sexual attraction if you have lost it and will help you to try and reconnect physically.

Dr Shahaeian is a counsellor with more than 15 years’ experience working with couples and families. She is trained in both models of couple therapy and has worked with hundreds of couples dealing with relationship difficulties. She also works with individuals and, being a professional researcher, she uses evidence-based therapies to help clients improve their mental health and quality of life. She has special expertise in the fields of couple counselling and psychodynamic therapy, as well as extensive experience in providing parental advice. This includes helping parents to address children’s mental health challenges such as emotional, learning and behavioural problems.

 

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