Achieving a well balanced relationship is largely about achieving good self esteem, good communication, and setting healthy boundaries for yourself and with your partner.
by Joyce Marter, LCPC
Many of our clients at UB seek counseling, whether within individual or couples therapy, because of relationship issues. These may have to do with self esteem issues, power differentials, communication challenges, or boundary problems.
In my practice at Urban Balance I have worked with many strong women who are very successful in their careers and socially. While seemingly ‘having it all’ these women are prone to struggle with finding a balance with the men in their lives with regard to who is in charge. These women are used to being independent and in a position of power on their own and may not be used to following somebody’s lead. Additionally, they may have always imagined themselves being courted and cared for in a more traditional sense by a man, and are having difficulty attaining a healthy power balance in their relationships.
For example, some women report feeling disempowered in their relationships. They may struggle with self-esteem issues that cause them to struggle with assertive communication and setting healthy boundaries in relationships.
Some couples have difficulty opening up and getting close, while others get too close too fast. The rate of disclosure of information, emotions, and physical development in the relationship can be a delicate balancing act.
Finding a healthy balance between emotional and physical intimacy, and managing your relationship is critical to a happy, fulfilled life. A healthy relationship is one that is interdependent (not dependent or disconnected.) It is one where each partner is a complete and defined “circle” and the relationship is where the circles overlap. Good relationships blend separate healthy people who become over time connected in a balanced way.
Problems typically occur when one circle eclipses the other (i.e. in cases when one partner controls the other, who is disempowered) or the relationship is enmeshed (little separation, poor individual senses of self.)
Not having enough overlap between the circles can lead to disconnection and a lack of intimacy:
One circle being larger than the other is indicative of a power differential, as in relationships that are abusive or where a partner is suffering from low self esteem:
Achieving a well balanced relationship is largely about achieving good self esteem, good communication, and setting healthy boundaries for yourself and with your partner. Boundaries are about establishing communication and a mutual comfort level with typical issues like sharing time, money, creating space, emotions, sex, and intimacy.
Therapy is a place to process the ebb and flow of boundaries in a relationship. Boundaries must be permeable enough to allow for intimacy and connection, but firm enough to maintain a sense of safety and cohesive sense of self.
Therapists at UB help individuals and couples find this healthy power balance in their relationships.
Individual psychotherapy can be a place to:
- Define one’s circle, or identity and sense of self
- Practice authentic and assertive self-expression
- Explore your relationship history with regard to intimacy, commitment, attachment, connection
Couples counseling can help you and your partner by:
- Addressing issues of power, control and respect in your relationship
- Defining boundaries that allow for healthy connection and separation
- Improving communication and conflict resolution skills
The therapists at UB believe we all could benefit from therapy and counseling in our lives –and so can our relationships!
You don’t have to be in crisis to be in couples counseling. A little tweak in therapy can get your relationship realigned.
For more information about counseling at Urban Balance, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 888-726-7170.