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So you think your know your partner? Maybe not and that's why you fight

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I often get couples coming in for relationship help that have been together 10, 12 15 or even 20 years. They are often stating that there is no glaring or obvious problem like infidelity or alcohol abMaybe you don't know each other so welluse. They just keep having the same repetitive conflict over and over again. The inability to actually solve the issue is bringing with it its own complications such as less enjoyment together, longer times to recover from the fight and diminishing sex life.


I have a lot of empathy for these couples. They have children together, for many things they work well as a team and are committed to their marriage and yet they don’t get to enjoy each other the way they want. So what is going on? Well, that’s a difficult issue to generalize but what I often see happen at this stage is that the couple are dealing with existential issues of truly accepting who their partner is and getting to know them.


So you may ask, getting to know someone who you have been living with for 12-20 years? Come on! What are you talking about. Yes! Often what I see in these type of couples is that although they have been together for 12-20 years, they have become so busy with careers and children that the couple haven’t had time to keep up with how each other have changed. When people get so busy they unconsciously decide, we’ll we are married, we love each other, we’ll be together forever so I’m going to focus on the kids or my career and in a few years when things slow down we can reconnect and have time for each other.


This decision, no matter how conscious is a very dangerous one. Many couples simple do not make time for their relationship. Not because they are bad, or thoughtless or uncaring, but because they are starved for time and RATIONALIZE that because they are married their partner will be the same and that they can connect at any time.


This is simply not true and has very negative consequences. One of the biggest consequences is that say in 2007 I decide I know everything there is to know about you. So I stop being curious about you. I stop checking in and updating myself about  you, your world, how you are evolving and changing following parenthood, career developments or health issues. So If we are in 2017 and I’m still referencing my mental image of you at 2007, how likely is it to be accurate? Probably not at all.


One of the consequences I often see in my office of this lack of knowledge is a partner will turn to their partner and say “I know you that when you do that it means X” and the partner will say NO! that’s no true!. They proceed to argue about who the partner is.


Relationships require a lot of time, about 20-30 hours a week of communication. Not just about administrative stuff like children, bills and holidays but about the person. Remember when you were dating, you would discuss deeper issues, meaning of life, values, thoughts identity. Often couples sacrifice this couple time to focus on kids and work, friends, video games etc. Not investing in the couple relationship and knowing your partner is dangerous. It leads to misunderstanding, more conflict and distance.


Think about the last time you really had a conversation about the two of you. How you feel, who you have changed from 5 or 10 years ago. Can you even do this without getting into a fight?


If this sounds familiar, therapy helps restructure discussions and framing how to have connecting communication. Therapy isn’t just for crisis, in fact its more effective when you come before a crisis, to prevent a crisis and repair and improve your relationship.


For more information book an initial consultation at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or whatsapp at +6590307239

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