When couples remarry, they often have an instant family.
Your relationship with your spouse is critical to the health of your family. But challenges with ex-spouses, step-parenting, and children struggling with divorce all impact a remarried couple's relationship. Expectations coming into the relationship are often high and when children are involved, the stakes are high, too.
Maybe there is tension in your relationship caused by an ex-spouse. Or, you are trying to bond with a stepchild (unsuccessfully) and you wish your spouse understood it's hard being the outsider looking in on their biological connection. Maybe you think your spouse is being too hard on your children and you find yourself frequently defending their behavior. Often there are multiple challenges happening all at once in the family system.
This is All a Normal Part of Blending a Family.
But, it can be hard on a couple's relationship. And, the two of you probably have a typical pattern of communication about these challenges that leaves you feeling frustrated and unheard. Maybe you try to explain what you are feeling or what you need, but it always seems to start an argument.
How I Help.
Most often, I use a model of therapy called Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT). Through rigorous outcome studies, EFT has been proven effective for couples seeking relief from relationship distress. EFT is a road map that helps us identify and change negative patterns of communication and find a deeper, more secure connection. I usually begin by learning about each of your experiences in your relationship, and what happens when you get stuck in your usual conflict or negative pattern. Then, we will work on changing that negative pattern into a more positive pattern, where you both feel less defensive, more understood, and most importantly, closer to one another.
Should We Really?
Yes. The research shows that a typical couples therapy client waits 6 years after trouble starts before they seek help from a therapist. Much resentment can accumulate in 6 years, and it can be difficult to unpack. (But not impossible!) I urge you to seek help when you notice that you frequently argue over the same issues and one or both of you ends up feeling alone, like your needs don't matter, or as if you will never get it right for your partner. Therapy can help you find a closer connection again.