In my practice, I lay out a nuanced therapeutic approach for working with couples motivated to regain a satisfying relationship. These couples are of the mindset that they know their partner “inside and out” as if there is nothing left to discover. “I love her, but I’m not in love with her, I’m bored.” The mentality of many couples balances off the question, “How can I want what I already have?” Our partner’s sexuality does not belong to us; the best we can hope for is a long lasting commitment of love, security and a genuine respect for the other. Remember, the seeds of intimacy are time and repetition.Emotional security isn’t just for and about us, and we should not assume that it rightfully falls within our control. Helping couples realize that it’s never wise to take their relationship for granted, is crucial. We choose our relationships again and again, meaning our relationships are never static and are always changing. We expect our relationship to provide a sense of security, meaning, and continuity. At the same time, we expect our committed relationships to be romantic as well as emotionally and sexually fulfilling. Is it any wonder that so many relationships crumble under the expectation of it all? Expectations, in my mind, can be explained as resentment under construction. I remind my clients that satisfying relationships are very much conditional, conditioned upon how each partner treats the other. If you struggle with my statement, take a fieldtrip to the local court house, sit in family court for about 30 minutes and witness the madness.There is a certain advantage in actually understanding that the person you choose to love is forever changing, maturing and mysterious. I often remind individuals of the notion that desire is nourished through this mystery, meaning, nothing left to the imagination means nothing left to seek. Desire and passion butts heads with habit and repetition, meaning, try to find time to create laughter and fun. Many of us find it much too scary to welcome that unknown facet of our partner in the middle of the place where we also want security and stability. If truth be revealed and not shrouded in secrecy, many are perfectly willing to experience mystery somewhere else. Mystery is often no more than a sense of a change in perception rather than having to look for excitement outside of your relationship.
Individuals involved in satisfying relationships tend to be less affected by everyday problems and have a greater sense of personal control and independence. Those without satisfying relationships often become isolated, ignored, and depressed. Those who choose to stay in poor relationships tend to develop and maintain negative perceptions of themselves, find life less satisfying and often lack the motivation to change. Sex is hard, easy to have but hard to talk about. The real voyage of discovering satisfying relationships consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.