Relationship counseling is not just for those who are in or are ending relationships.
It is also of great value to single people who are looking to form a relationship or who are facing the challenges of dating.
Often, such singles are in transition:
- moving into the workplace, or from one job to a new one;
- freshly arrived from another city or country; or
- moving out of one relationship and on to their next.
In my own case, I sought counseling because my approach to forming positive relationships wasn’t working out at all well for me. I wanted to find out why.
In counseling, I reviewed the whole context of my beliefs about myself as a person in a relationship.
With the aid of my kind but objective relationship counselor I was able to see where I had made mistakes. I was also able to see how I could change things for the better.
My counselor collaborated with me as I experimented with new perspectives and behaviours.
Matching like to like
One very important discovery for me was that good relationships are based on a deep level of compatibility.
I’m not referring here to the surface level of compatibility such as liking the same music and TV shows. That can be important but not as significant as the deeper connection that comes from shared value systems and assumptions about the world.
When we underestimate or misperceive our own value and seriousness we tend to misalign ourselves with partners who find us wanting. Then we blame ourselves instead of being able to see that we simply have a mismatch.
Many times, the sense of failure that accompanies such mismatches leads us into behaviour that isn’t entirely authentic for us. This leads to lowered self-esteem and an even greater sense of failure.
Fortunately, that cycle doesn’t have to continue but can be succesfully interrupted with effective counseling and coaching.
Questions that apply at any age
It’s a bit sobering to realize that age doesn’t necessarily teach us anything about relationships. We all know successful men and women who have achieved much in their lives but not in the relationship arena.
When opportunities for relationships are not offering themselves in a fairly spontaneous way, it’s a sign that there’s something amiss with our thinking or self-perception.
At such a time, counseling can be a very useful and quick way to achieve honest answers to questions such as:
- Do I really want a relationship or am I doing what I think I’m supposed to?
- Does my relationship history dictate my future?
- What kind of person do I want to form a relationship with?
- What do I have to offer a potential relationship partner?
- Is there something inherently wrong with me that keeps me single?
- Where can I find the kind of person I’d like to be with?
These are the kinds of questions that relationship counseling helps you find useful answers to.
Overcoming the fear
Fear is a major deterrent to pursuing a new relationship, especially if your last one ended painfully.
The finest antidote to fear is to expose its roots and assess the realities behind it. In relationships, this will include examining your own reality but will also prompt an examination of the type of partner you are seeing yourself with.
In my experience, the biggest challenge any of us face in relationships is how to pick a good partner. We may have a tendency to:
- seek partners who compensate for us in some way, an approach that can easily lead to a risky form of dependency;
- taking on a partner who makes us feel safe because their capability is less than ours. This mistake can result in years of pain.
- seeking out damaged partners because we believe we can heal them and they will need us.
None of these selection approaches offer much possibility of happiness. All can be addressed positively through counseling.
Also, when we are more conscious of who we are and what we want we can seek a new partner without fear of being caught out by the unanticipated result.
The role of counseling
Counseling can provide an insightful and sensitive setting for you to explore all your relationship issues.
If you are in a relationship, it is a place to discuss your difficulties without guilt. Your purpose is not to condemn your partner, after all, but to work out ways of collaborating for your mutual benefit.
If you are single, the counseling partnership is a wonderful, safe place to openly explore your deeper feelings about relationship.
From the counseling perspective, there is no pressure to be in a relationship or not; no requirement that you follow your friends and family in their preferred direction.
By being yourself within the counseling environment you build the strength to operate authentically in all your relationships. That strength can endow you with great presence and calm.
If you would like to explore further, please email me (below) to arrange a free interview. I always enjoy meeting those who are interested in improving their lives.