So what is the long term impact?
Many people struggle with effective communication and is often a result of how they learned communication as a young child. This often results in becoming either passive aggressive or aggressive in their communication. Often one partner or both will feel unheard by their partners if the communication continued. This can result in a person withdrawing from the relationship if their needs go unnoticed. They may feel resentful or depressed. This can lead to infidelity, separation, divorce, or even chronic health issues.
So where does this come from?
In any relationship, each partner comes with their own set of suitcases. These suitcases hold history, emotions, insecurities, memories, coping styles and belief systems. When two people come together, often times they don’t take a look at the suitcases before agreeing to marry. The issues related to it often comes out over time and without warning. Relationship issues that aren’t dealt with before or as they arise will compile into insurmountable pressures later on. This can adversely affect family members such as children who will witness and repeat these coping skills.
So what do we do about it?
Individuals, couples and families have been going to counseling for quite some time. There is less of a stigma about asking for help than there once was. Couples will often seek counseling once the problems begin to interfere with their day-to-day living or one partner is ready to leave the relationship. The hope is that the counselor will resolve the issues. Sometimes counseling can be about getting out of the indecisiveness to stay or go. What counselors will not do is take sides, even if there is one partner who has stepped away from the relationship. A counselor will follow the lead of the couple to help develop goals they each want to set. For counseling to make a difference, each partner needs to commit to the process which includes taking personal responsibility for their part in the breakdown.
When is counseling not a good fit?
Any time there is abuse of any kind, couples work should not continue. In this case, a couple would be seen on an individual level for safety of each of the partners. At a later time, once issues that may have led to the abuse have dissipated, then couples counseling may but not always be considered. Forms of abuse may include but not limited to emotional, sexual, physical, or financial.