Maybe it was love at first sight, a friendship that turned romantic, or perhaps you found each other on a dating app. During the first year to 18 months of courtship, brains are high on the neurotransmitters dopamine and oxytocin, and our primal instincts and unconscious drives are often the fuel that propels a relationship forward.
However, once the honeymoon phase is over couples sometimes find themselves stuck in areas of conflict that they cannot seem to move through easily on their own. Little things often become a trigger for a fight. Other times, something more insidious corrupts a connection such as a difference in parenting styles, loss of a job, an imposing mother in law, infidelity or a bout of depression. It is in these times couples sometimes face a potentially devastating question: Are we better off apart?
Each couple has a unique set of needs and abilities and there is no right answer for everyone. Unfortunately, however, struggles like these will continue to play out again and again in your relationship unless they are confronted and worked through with the help of a professional.
In couples therapy, I teach partners to resolve conflict in ways that actually strengthen the relationship. I help couples understand and set healthy and appropriate boundaries, which facilitates intimacy and emotional connection. When relevant, I help couples work through the painful trauma of infidelity and facilitate rebuilding of trust. Using this approach, couples learn to sort out their individual and relationship needs, identify and change maladaptive communication and behavior patterns, and make healthier choices for themselves and their family.