Marriage Counseling and Couples Therapy in NYC
A child needs to be loved. An adult wants to love.
Treatment helps you love more maturely.
From the moment you pop into the world, you want connection and relationship. It’s an emotional and biological necessity. But if you’re looking for the important people in your life today to make up for the unconditional love and acceptance your parents may not have been able to provide, you will be very disappointed, whether you’re looking for that from your significant other, your friends, your coworkers, or your children. The only people who have the right to expect unconditional love are children! Adult relationships collapse under the weight of these unrealistic expectations.
The best definition of love I’ve heard is this: Love means putting your partner’s satisfaction and well-being on the same plane as yours—not above, and not below. The adult version of love is a verb, not a noun: it’s not something that you sit around and wait to be given; it’s what you do! And why do you do it? Because it feels better to go about your life being warm and loving than being cold. Love has great side-effects for the people in your life, but you ultimately do it because it feels better to you.
Marriage Counseling and Couples Therapy: Separating Fact from Fantasies
So do you get happily-ever-after if you approach love in an adult manner? Nope, that’s the childlike fantasy again, with the one true love who will make your life golden. The good news and the bad news is that it’s your job to make your life satisfying: good news, because you don’t have to depend on someone else to do it for you; bad news, because you can’t depend on someone else to do it for you! In the long run, this is all good, because it means that if the relationship ends for any reason, you’re still fine, because you know how to make a satisfying life. The relationship is the icing on the cake, not the cake itself. And good, because if your partner is having a tough time, you can still feel good—it’s about emotional autonomy, though of course you will be compassionate to your partner, as he or she is struggling.
People in New York City often say that it’s hard to meet people for a serious relationship. But when you’re really open to meeting people, you will meet them, whether you live in New York City or Des Moines. A willingness to be vulnerable is key, and that may be a scary proposition, if things were shaky for you growing up. That same willingness to be vulnerable is also an important part to an ongoing satisfying relationship.
Relationship Counseling: Forming Warm, Co-operative Partnerships
In relationship counseling—couples therapy, marriage counseling, whatever you want to call it—I help you form a warm, cooperative partnership, rather than an adversarial one, so that money and sex become pasta conversations: “Do you like linguini or spirals, red sauce or white?” instead of the emotionally-charged arguments couples often have. It’s not about pointing out your partner’s faults and shortcomings, but looking at your contributions—both positive and negative—to the state of your relationship.
You may begin the relationship counseling process and, through learning what worked and didn’t work so well from your earliest experiences, find a closeness and co-operation with your partner that you didn’t know was possible. You find ways of sharing life and learning to compromise that make your relationship very satisfying.
What if the Relationship Can’t Work?
Sometimes people begin relationship counseling and find that they really want different things in life. If that’s the case in your relationship, I’ll help you break up without fault-finding, without making your partner all-bad in your mind. Your partner has the right to be who he or she is, just as you have the right to be who you are, and with that knowledge you can both walk away without the blaming, mud-slinging, and devastation that characterize many breakups. If you can have a respectful ending to a relationship, the healing process is much less complicated.
Contact me to discuss my couples therapy and marriage counseling services.