I was recently asked to do some couples counselling in London and was surprised to hear that the first Monday back after the Christmas and New Year break is commonly known between divorce lawyers and counsellors involved with couples therapy, as Divorce Monday on account of the extremely high rate of divorce requests logged after the festive season. The highest number of divorce requests comes from couples in their 40s and 50s who have been married for 15 years or more. There are less distractions, such as young children and career ambitions, and more time to consider whether the person you share your life with is really who you want to be with for the next 15 years or more. Obviously, for many couples the answer is, no.
So, here’s my New Year check list. Six questions to ask yourself about your relationship.
1. Does the person I am with make me a better person?
It’s quite a revelation isn’t it, that we can be a better person if partnered with someone else who is able to help us overcome our difficulties and anxieties and also strengthen our abilities and enhance our qualities. This is always apparent in good healthy long term relationships.
2. Does my partnership with my partner actually feel like a true partnership in life?
Many people who come to see us for couples counselling often miss the sense of their relationship being a true partnership, as it was during the early phase of their marriage. It’s so easy for couples to drift apart and for a once great and true partnership in life to become more of a convenient co-habitation.
3. Does the phrase, “through thick and through thin” apply to my relationship?
Or is your relationship a kind of fair weather thing, when it’s good it’s okay but when things get tough, you or your partner or both of you just bail out and find it hard to stick together?
4. Do I look forward to sharing things with my partner?
There’s a lot of talk about a good relationship being compatible, some of the couples that we work with have completely opposing personality types, some don’t and some are exactly the same. The important thing is that differences, interests and passions are shared. The day you stop sharing your life with your partner is the day things will start to drift apart. This doesn’t mean that your partner has to like the things you do, just that you are willing to share them.
5. If I’m away from my partner, do I miss them?
Absence makes the heart grow fonder, or so the old adage goes. If you look forward to prolonged breaks from your partner it maybe time to wonder about why you are in the relationship.
6. Do I think that my partner really knows who I am?
If I had a pound coin for every time someone has said to me “my partner has no real idea who I am” I would now have a huge pile of shiny, golden, little coins over my office floor.
Have you answered “no” to any of the above?
Have you answered “no” to all of the above?
If you have, you might need some help from an experienced relationship counsellor, or couples therapist, to explore what’s going wrong and how to improve things for the future.
Happy New Year one and all.
Do get in touch with us if you need couples therapy.