Archive for commit

Difficulties with Commitment in your Relationship?

January was a month where we were bombarded in the press about the need to make new year resolutions, make changes to our work life balance, loose weight and go to the gym more, eat less sugar and more complex carbohydrates.

In my counselling room recently, I have been aware of how many couples hope and expect 2016 will be the time when their relationship moves forward. However when the subject comes up couples can be faced with very different views on what moving forward means for both of them.

It is clear that making a commitment to a relationship means different things for different people: for some its moving in together, for others its getting engaged, wanting marriage or deciding to have a baby together. For many, these steps come easily and for others making a decision to commit can bring a great deal of distress and disharmony to an otherwise healthy relationship and often results in looking for help from a couples counsellor.

I often encounter couples who appear to present with a really secure and connected relationship and this all goes out the window when one partner wants the relationship to move forward as a natural progression of a committed relationship and the other is in no hurry to change this and is more than happy to stay where they are.

Often discussing moving forward and making a commitment brings happiness and excitement for one and overwhelming anxiety and panic to the other. This is something that affects both men and women.

Some sessions with a Coupleworks counsellor would help partners to look at:

What are some of the causes of Commitment Anxiety?

♣ Fear of intimacy and deep emotional connection
♣ A damaging previous break up or ending of a relationship
♣ A belief this is not the ‘right relationship’
♣ Trust issues
♣ Difficulty with attachment needs being met in childhood
♣ Experience of separation or divorce in parents relationship
♣ Fear of rejection
♣ Negative media exposure on unhappiness of committed relationships
♣ Over focusing on divorce statistics
♣ Fear of loosing independence and being tied down
♣ Not wanting to parent

 
What are the effects of Commitment issues on a relationship?

♣ Tendency to avoid long- term relationships
♣ Closeness and safety is replaced by distance and avoidance

♣ Risk of developing depression
♣ Loss of confidence in self and partner
♣ Increase in conflict to avoid discussion

Treating commitment issues in couples therapy

An experienced therapist can help identify potential causes of commitment issues in a couple relationship and explore useful ways to work through these issues.

Couples can learn how to understand their fears of commitment , where and how it may have originated and how a rigid way of thinking can be quite paralysing. It opens the way for partners to better discuss fears of making a commitment with each other in a calmer, safer way, and hopefully develops an ability to be more truthful and open about their needs and desires.

Dawn Kaffel

Stages in Couple Relationships

Falling in Love/getting to know one another:

How we negotiate the challenges of becoming a couple determines the way we communicate as a couple in the future.

As the initial excitement/passion dies, the couple is weighing up whether their other connections are sufficient for them to take the relationship further. It’s important to note that a couple needs to experience this idealization stage in the relationship in order to move forward together.

This is the time couples get to know each other and start to explore what is means to trust one another and to stay together even when they are no longer on their best behavior.

Decision to Commit:

Becoming a couple: This is usually the make or break stage in most relationships. Declaring to one another and to the wider world that you’re a couple can be very challenging. It can feel very serious, which of course it is, so it is no wonder we often feel anxious about it.

How we become a couple depends on what makes us feel secure and safe in a relationship. It doesn’t have to be what society tells us it should be but for the couple to agree what works best for them. For some, it might mean moving in together and planning for the future; which includes getting engaged, married and having children.

But when one partner wants to move forward faster than the other, difficulties often arise. Feeling pressured to commit or feelings of not being wanted polarize a couple. We see many instances where one person is holding the ‘wanting’ in the relationship and the other is withdrawing, feeling immense pressure to do something they don’t want to do. It’s a dance that many couples become entangled in and can follow them throughout their relationship. It can also set up a dynamic between a couple that says “ You forced this on me, I didn’t have a choice” or that “You never wanted me enough, I had to beg.”

People, for all kinds of reasons are delaying entering into serious relationships and causing huge anxieties for each other. Women want and need to start families and are torn between being clear about this and fearing they will scare their partner away. It often translates into a power play between couples and somehow, the goodwill environment a couple started off in becomes more like a battlefield with the loving relationship being slowly eroded.

These challenges and changes that these stages bring are a huge opportunity for us as individuals and as a couple to grow.

The Reality of Everyday Life:

Lets face it; it’s the everyday banality and irritation of living with others that begin to chip away at our relationship. It’s not the fact that the toothpaste cap isn’t on the tube, it’s the stories that we create like: ‘She knows this is important to me and I’ve asked her a thousand times and she still can’t manage to do it’. It’s also the way we ask and blame one another that impact on a relationship. All these pressures can impact even on committed and loving relationships.

  • Work/Life balance
  • Financial Stress
  • Family, friendships, etc
  • Banality of the everyday
  • Childcare and distribution of labour
  • Life Stages and Their Challenges:
  • Just when you thought you have dealt with what life has thrown at you and the relationship is finally settling down, guess what?
  • Children move home after university
  • Redundancy
  • Retirement/Illness
  • Aged parents

The way we, as individuals and as a couple are able to adapt to changes allows us the ability to roll with the difficulties life some times throws at us. Life isn’t always easy but it can be easier when we understand and appreciate some of the issues involved in the making of a committed and successful relationship.

Shirlee Kay