Have you been thinking about divorce? Is couples counselling for you? We start with ‘til death do us part’ but up to 30% of us won’t make it to that. Have you had a hard time with your partner lately or even contemplated separating? Where to from here?
Clinical Psychotherapist and Couples Counsellor Melissa Ferrari is a relationship expert. Amelia had Melissa on the podcast where she talks about strategies to help couples identify damaging patterns, what to do when one partner is unwilling to try and simple hacks to reconnect and find a path forward together. Some of us may be in a relationship rut and others may have issues stemming from common themes such as money, kids and parenting, sex, abandonment or feeling unloved. These are all common issues in relationship breakdowns.
When we first fall in love, we have an influx of amazing hormones flowing through us, dopamine rich and an oxytocin high, it’s an exciting cocktail and we all want to drink it. After a while we start to automate our relationship, we’re familiar, safe and secure. That’s when patterns can form, we start to lack interest in our partners inner world and issues like feeling unloved or not being paid attention ,to even at an unconscious level, can lead to disconnection.
There are 3 attachment styles in relationships and it’s great if you can understand where you and your partner fall. These styles were formed while we were young and how we experienced love both from our parents to us and as witness to the relationships around us.
1. Style One: Securely Attached
People who show security in their attachment style predominantly grew up in households with positively functioning relationships.
2. Style Two: Anxiously Attached
These people may be a little clingy and need lots of conversation and talking to their partner with reassurance.
3. Style Three: Avoidently attached
This style of attachment is someone who processes better on their own, they don’t need regulation from their partner.
Understanding yours and your partners attachment style helps in understanding what you both need. Most couples can have the same argument and same pattern that reoccurs, it’s not resolving. We believe our own perspective, even though perspective is smoke and mirrors. Melissa uses a mixture of the attachment theory, neuroscience and explores a third area, arousal regulation (not sex) but for example how we can go into arguments screeching and aggressively. The brain is always looking for any detection of a threat. We can also bring in past trauma or allow what’s happened in previously relationships to affect your current relationship. We need to be able to identify past trauma and how it effects your current relationship, and this can be achieved through couples counselling.
Sometimes it can be outside pressure causing issues. Some couples put their children before the relationship. Each couple is different, however, ultimately if you put your relationship first, everyone benefits from the flow on affect. Relationships are a survival system, two people who have got each other’s back, working as a team. When you function well as a team you feel safe and secure, outside pressures like parenting, financial situations or career progression become easier to manage when you are in a functional relationship.
Thinking about Divorce, Is couples counselling for you? Try these tips below to see if it makes any impact on your relationship:
If your partner understands what’s going on they’re able to work with it better. Talk to them about how you feel and what’s going through your mind.
2. SEPARATION + REUNION
Each day it’s important to separate and reunite. In the morning say “have a good day” make mention of something your partner has on that day to acknowledge you listen to them and care. Check in through the day, send a text to say “hi, I love you.”
At the end of the day when you meet up again check in, how was their day. If you can manage to do this straight away before you dive into parenting this is important.
Connection, however, it is formed, through sex, conversation, massage, a foot rub, a giggle at a joke or watching a show together. Moments of connection are important. Melissa encourages gazing, not staring, but gazing into each others eyes. Try the 6 second kiss, anything tactile with physical body to body, a closeness and touch will promote connection.
If at the end of the day you have tried to improve your communication and connection but have failed to see any improvement you may benefit from seeing a couples therapist like Melissa. For more information or to listen to the full podcast click here If you have been thinking about divorce is couples counselling is for you? You can head to Melissas website, you can find her here