All relationships have their ups and downs. In successful relationships, partners learn to explore disappointments and disillusionments together, each taking ownership of their own part In the problems and learning to overcome toxic behaviors together. For a partnership to be healthy, both partners need to learn why they act and react the way they do. In dysfunctional relationships unhealthy patterns go unchanged. Bickering and arguing, avoiding and withdrawing become standard and it can be difficult to objectively assess your relationship.
If any of these statements are true for you, it could be an indication that something is amiss in your relationship and you could benefit from counseling or support:
I am on edge about making my partner upset – you find yourself avoiding conflict and going out of your way to ‘smooth over’ any differences.
I make my choice to stay together because I don’t want to be alone – Fears of never finding another partner, or only ending up in another relationship like the one you are in keep you stuck in a relationship you don’t find satisfying
I’m embarrassed to introduce or spend time with friends and my significant other – Your partner’s behavior has become unpredictable or you worry that your friends would not approve of how they see you being treated
I feel controlled – you have limited opportunity to make choices or decisions in the relationship, you find yourself cancelling or avoiding events because your partner won’t want to go or will make thinks unpleasant if you do
I have to plead with my partner to meet my needs – you regularly or frequently find yourself feeling the relationship is ‘uneven’ and that your partner does not place importance on your needs
A healthy relationship requires healthy partners. The only way to improve a dysfunctional relationship is for both partners to identify and take ownership of their contributions to the problems. That is often not a reality in dysfunctional partnerships. If your partner is unwilling to participate in couples’ therapy, individual counseling can help you to recognize why you act and react the way you do and help you to build your own sense of self, giving you more choices and options in your intimate relationships.