Couple's Life Transitions
Entering a new stage of a relationship
Recovering from Affairs or infidelities
Moving to a new city or a new location
Embarking on a new career
Changes in responsibilities at a new position
New family member or new baby
Discovery of a new illness or condition
Facing new changes or transitions in life can be difficult. Couples may quickly find themselves a bit lost after a recent change.
Learning How to Embrace a New Life Transition
All big decisions result in change. At an individual level, change can be uncomfortable, stressful, depressing, and create a certain level uncertainty. For couples, change, or transitions in life can be even more challenging. Changes can quickly alter the dynamic of a couple and create a significant amount of tension between the dyad. While not all change is negative, the resulting changes could create anxiety, feelings of isolation, undue pressure, or even lead the couple to struggle in their ability to communicate. When emotions get triggered, we reduce our ability to rationalize, make sound decisions or even loving decisions for that matter. Here are some of the most common transitions couples may face:
Entering a New Stage of a Relationship:
Relationships have at least historically followed and advanced through familiar paths. This may include an early phase of dating, which in itself carries a number of substages including a meeting phase, a getting to know phase, emotional or physical phases, and perhaps a break-up phase. Eventually a couple may decide to get a bit more serious, move-in together or perhaps even contemplate a larger commitment such as an engagement which may have numerous phases as well, followed by a marriage or formal union. This can then include a number of meaningful and important decisions which may not be easily seen or considered during the earlier period of a relationship. In couples therapy, some of these elements are explored so that individuals can safely address their concerns and learn how to talk about topics which do hold importance. We sometimes see early daters come in ust months after meeting to ensure they are ready to establish a solid relational foundation. We also do premarital counseling to help couples learn more about themselves, form a deeper bond, or simply learn tools to bulletproof their relationship for decades to come.
Recovering from Affairs or Infidelities:
A betrayal is likely to create a significant change in a couples life. If the couple decides to stay together, the fallout following an affair can be deeply painful and emotionally challenging. Partners may not know how to process their emotions, discuss the events, face their friends or families, or know to even enjoy themselves. Both trust and commitment have been broken and the relationship, together with all of it’s contents may seem empty and meaningless. Fortunately, most couples that face the infidelity head-on in therapy have a strong chance of saving the relationship. In fact, most that do realize certain things about the relationship where in fact not firmly planted to begin with. A fracture may allow a couple to address these aspects, open up, and emotionally begin connecting to a partner in a whole new way.
Moving to a New City or a New Location:
Work, family, or just a change of scenery can sometimes be a positive reason to move into a new city or town. It can feel exciting to discover a new area, follow an opportunity, reconnect with others, or simply make new friends. However, couples may often find these moves difficult. They may miss the familiarity and safety of their previous habitat. They may feel uncomfortable in new surroundings, feel disconnected from the social circles that were once a part of their lives, or feel alienated in a new home which may not entirely feel like a home yet. These new circumstances can interfere with the relational space as emotional sadness, anxiety, tension or even expectations may begin to contaminate the couple’s previous dynamics.
Embarking on a new career:
There may be a time when one partner may be ready to take on a new challenge. They may feel a calling to embark on a new career path which may significantly affect the couples finances, time together, or future goals. When this occurs, partners can sometimes feel more responsible, which could lead to increased tension, anger, or even resentment. A shift in a new career may take years to shape or produce a significant amount of debt, but more importantly, it may divide and alter the way a couple relates to each other.
Changes in responsibilities at a new position:
New job opportunities may require one or both individuals to relocate to a new location which along with the move, may carry a whole new set of responsibilities including time away from family and increased work pressure. A new job may require a new level of responsibility which often will create more stress to the individual and to the relationship or family. With new stress and building tension, self-care becomes an even more important facet. When one individual can’t function well under the increased pressure, they will often dump their tension or stress onto their family members.
New family member or new baby:
Couples may decide to eventually conceive and welcome a new member into the family. The decisions, whether planned or unplanned, may bring in a new layer of financial and relational responsibility. While in theory, they may have agreed, they may not fully comprehend the necessary commitment or how a new member may alter the dynamics between them. For many couples however, bringing a new baby home can be an exciting phase in their lives. A newborn represents a part of who they are, how they would like to nurture and care, and how they may feel that the relationship or their life has reached a new milestone. This can also become tricky as the new baby shifts much of the attention away from a partner and may create a whole new tension which could last years, with subsequent children perhaps disconnecting the couple even further.
New Empty Nesters:
When families take shape, the kids often become the glue which helps parents remain involved in their lives and in their activities. Their activities and their presence can in some ways become distractors which unknowingly to the couple may alleviate tension or anxiety between them. Once the child goes off to college or leaves their house or decides to move in with a new partner, the couple is left facing each other. Gone are the everyday memories or activities which were once shared as a family. The family while still present and functioning, may drastically change as the couple now enters a new phase. This can serve as an opportunity to reestablish long forgotten aspects of their bond and may give them the space to connect in new ways. Between their loss and changes, couples often need help learning how to reconnect and establishing a new layer of intimacy in their relationship.
Discovery of a new illness or condition
Dealing with the discovery of a new illness or a medical condition can be incredibly distressful. Accidents, traumatic brain injuries, diseases, and infections, can also create an existential threat to the individual and threaten the livelihood of the entire family. When these issues become chronic, the entire relationship can transition to one where wellness, health, and responsibility to our new partner or family becomes incredibly important. Navigating these difficult circumstances takes patience, care, and compassion from each individual which may be facilitated by a caring and supportive therapist who can help a couple face their difficult challenges.
Through all of these cases, transitions are a normal part of life. Some changes can deeply affect a relationship and set them on a hard and potentially depleting path. However, those couples who can find a new layer or commitment to each other may quickly find that these challenges can serve as opportunities to grow and connect. Here at Love Discovery Institute, our therapists are well adept at helping couples navigate these turbulent seas and come out stronger through their many transitions.
Interested? Let's connect!
Are you ready to start getting your life in order? Contact us at 786-571-4636 or book us online to get started. Our highly qualified therapists are ready to help you get through these challenging life transitions.
Ponce de Leon
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