I get why people come into couples counseling looking for me to say “you’re right.” But, at the end of the day, it’s not about being “right,” it’s about being heard. You’re looking for validation around your emotional experience because you certainly haven’t been getting it from your partner. And I absolutely want to give you validation. But even more than that, I want to work with the two of you so that you can hear and validate one another. That’s what will help rebuild and repair your relationship. And ultimately that’s why you’re coming to see me, right?
Underneath all the bickering and the self-righteous anger is a deep desire to connect (and a fear that this relationship is slipping away). And when you feel like there is the equivalent of Lake Michigan between you and your partner, you put up a protest. And this protesting never brings out the best version of us. It’s when you nag, yell, cry, or tune out, shut down, and turn away. And the distance between you and your partner grows. It’s never one person’s fault. It takes two to do this dance.
And eventually that dance becomes habit. Just like when you hear the Macarena, everyone on the dance floor joins in choreographed moves. It’s second nature. But breaking out of it (if you are rogue like me) can be liberating. It does mean challenging yourself to do something different. And that is hard. It’s much easier to fall in line and do the same old dance.
It’s also helpful to find out what is behind the dance. (Not the Macarena. The truth behind the lyrics will break your 90s heart. But the truth that fuels your relationship dance can set you free). Behind the choreography are two people who have been hurt, feel disconnected, and aren’t sure if this can be repaired. Part of couples counseling is getting in touch with the dancers—the part of yourselves that initiate and respond to this dance.
Then we look at the choreography. What is really happening here? And we work together to change it. This is where the two of you get to be a united front. You aren’t the problem and neither is your partner. The dance you’ve been doing is the problem. It’s been keeping you stuck and pushing you farther apart. Uniting together against the problem, you’ll find yourselves making different decisions and moving closer together.
The final part of treatment is learning a new dance. Maybe you’d rather be doing a sexy, sultry tango or perhaps an intimate waltz. This is where you get to co-create a relationship that works for both of you. One that’s sustainable, fulfilling, and can last a lifetime.
I believe in improving relationships and changing lives. I’d love to help you with yours! Feel free to reach out to me today!