couples

The one sign your relationship is destined to end, according to a love coach.

In my experience as a couples therapist and love coach, there are several things that can happen in a relationship that can signify that it is doomed, although actually they all come under one heading: one or both partners loses focus on the connection between them and allow something or someone to intervene.

The relationship between them becomes increasingly ‘unconscious’ as they get caught up in separate worlds instead of being in one connected and conscious world.

The Affair

Whilst an affair is the most classic sign that the connection between the two is weak and a third party has come between them, an affair doesn’t mean that it’s inevitable that the relationship is going to shrivel and die, as many of my clients will testify.

It is possible that an affair is one partner trying to say that they are unhappy and once their partner realises that, they are willing and ready to re-engage. With professional help and by following techniques taught in couples counselling , even relationships which have reached a disastrous point can be rescued and recovered, and couples can reignite the flame between them.

Sexual Psychiatrist explains to Mia Freedman exactly why it is that happy people cheat, on No Filter. Post continues after audio. 

Addictions

Addictions can also be a cry that means that the partner is not happy and is not being heard. Rather than initiate a conversation, or being unable to get their partner to acknowledge and address the problem, a partner might start to drink or use drugs, or gamble or go shopping to ‘act out’ their unhappiness.

Eventually their behaviour is noticed but often not until serious and semi-permanent damage is done. Again, as with affairs it is possible to pull things around, but its hard work and so much easier if the unhappy partner is able to express themselves before the relationship comes under such strain.

So many relationships end because one partner has become alcoholic or a shopaholic, or is gambling so irresponsibly that the family is under threat. And often the other partner is unaware of what’s going on and why.

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This lack of awareness points to a fundamental inability to have a proper conversation about feelings. In Imago Relationship Therapy there is a structured dialogue which allows both to feel safe and encouraged to express their deeper feelings.

In my practice and in the course I have developed called Reignite Your Relationship, I teach couples these dialogues and go so far as having actors demonstrate these important techniques.

Couples are often reluctant to ‘go there’ for fear that it will start something unmanageable or dangerous. Consequently many couples are living with the person who is supposed to know them best but is unable to express themselves in a way that is heard.

In my experience, teaching couples the Imago dialogue technique creates the environment and script for a safe conversation. As a result many partners who were lonely and misunderstood, unappreciated and unheard are able to feel happy and re-connected.

Mental Illness

Mental illness can also cause disconnnection. It may be that one partner has an underlying problem, or it may be that the relationship has actually triggered something long dormant. Becoming a parent can trigger deep anxiety or depression to emerge.

If this happens its too easy to throw off the relationship, as though that will resolve the problem but actually it is the relationship which offers the best hope for healing of emotional wounds.

disconnect in relationship
Becoming a parent can trigger deep anxiety or depression to emerge. Image via Getty.

We are all wounded

In my sessions, workshops and online course, I teach my clients this simple and relationship saving fact: when we select a partner, we unconsciously pick exactly the right person to help us heal our wounds. It sounds incredible, but this Imago theory is supported by the fact that when couples separate they often seek exactly the same sort of person to re-partner with.
Its as though the work has not been completed, and they need more of that person before they are healed.

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By learning to work with this in a structured and step by step methodology it is possibly to heal our own wounds through the relationship rather than breaking up or remaining on the same cycle that many women, and men find themselves on.

Deep emotional wounds, usually from childhood, can create all kinds of issues in a relationship, usually stemming from a lack of understanding of the deeper issues at play. In my practice and in my video course I use Imago based therapy techniques which can be helpful in opening up understandings of these deeper wounds and moving the couple into a more conscious or aware state.

Relationships skills can be learned

Learning to live with someone and to be a partner in life is not a small skill. Much of our behaviour in relationships is what we learned from our parent’s relationship, and if that wasn’t good then the modelling we received wasn’t good.

But knowing how to be in a relationship, and how to show up as a human being, how to connect and how to deepen into feelings, how to share yourself while still keeping your integrity and not losing yourself - these are all things that we need to learn and can indeed be taught.

I’ve seen first hand the positive impact of what love coaching and relationship education can have on couples at any stage of their relationship. Workshops or online courses, if you prefer a more private education setting, can be so helpful, particularly if they are respectful of your privacy and don’t require you to ‘share with the group’.

In my course and workshops I specifically teach these relationship saving skills:

  • COMMUNICATION. How you speak can make or break your relationship. Learn word-for-word scripts that will become the knight in shining armour your relationship desperately needs.
  • CONFLICT RESOLUTION. Discover the cycle of love and learn how to identify where you are so you can proactively resolve problems before they arise.
  • RELATIONSHIP VISION. Find out how identify what you want, ask for it, and actually get it
  • INTIMACY. How to breathe life into your flat-lining relationship on track no matter how much stress and exhaustion life throws at you.
  • PRESERVATION. Learn the signs that you are accidentally pushing love away, and how to stop the self-sabotage.

So although there is one thing that can spell the end for your relationship - disconnection - it can be caused by several issues and these issues likely come to light when the early stages of love transition to a deeper relationship.

There are others too, such as if your partner is grieving (perhaps for a loss of a dream or a future), or loss of trust. Whatever the reason, and even if things look really bad, the prognosis can be turned around quickly, by learning and practicing the correct techniques.

The Madness of Love

You have to remember, love is a form of madness and once the first stages of romantic love has faded, there is often a huge sense of loss and despair.

At this point couples either separate or resign themselves to a lifetime of unhappiness. I explain this cycle and how to use it to your advantage to heal your wounds and save your relationship in this video lesson from the Reignite Your Relationship Course.

Annie Gurton holds a Masters in Psychotherapy from Nottingham Trent University, is an Advanced Imago Therapy practitioner, Registered Supervisor for Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia, and an experienced couples counselor based in the Northern Beaches of Sydney. You can learn more about the Reignite Your Relationship course for RESCU Me Academy here.

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