Real Talk About Long-Term Relationships From A Couples Therapist
While many things can create challenges for a long-term relationship, our professional opinion is that the biggest challenge is often unrealistic expectations. The media is full of fairy tale level depictions of relationships that simply don’t happen in reality. Unfortunately, that sets up unrealistic expectations for a ‘perfect’ relationship that few, if any, will ever experience.
So, as experienced providers of virtual couples therapy, we wanted to take a few minutes to talk about realistic expectations for a relationship. Set your expectations appropriately, and working through your relationship issues becomes far easier!
What a Virtual Couples Therapist Wants You to Know About Relationships
1 – “Perfect” doesn’t exist
There’s no such thing as a perfect relationship, whether you’re talking literally or figuratively. Every relationship is going to have its stumbling points, moments of doubt, or arguments that get a bit too heated. Too often our clients see these sorts of things as failures, either by themselves or their partner, but the reality is that it’s completely normal.
The only time any couple ever truly “lived happily ever after” is in old Disney cartoons.
2 – There are no “right” choices – but there are best choices
Another point where people often get hung up is focusing on making the “right” choice in a situation. Most of the time, there’s no objective “right” solution to a difficult problem. There’s typically going to be some amount of compromise needed, and again, that’s completely normal.
Rather than worrying about a hypothetical “right” or “perfect” solution to a problem, it’s better to seek the best solution that fits your current situation and challenges while causing the least new problems. That’s something a qualified virtual couples therapist can help you find!
3 – Love changes over time
Everyone loves the “honeymoon phase” of a relationship where you’re crazy in love, your partner seems perfect, and every date is full of excitement and romance. Sad to say, but this phase will end from time to time. Love between people will change over time, and in solid long-term relationships, it matures into something deeper. The emotional connections continue to grow, even if it feels like your romance is different from what it was when it started.
4 – People change over time
If there’s one thing we’d love to see more of in the media, it would be depictions of couples who change as people over time, while still loving and accommodating each other. If you get married at 20, for example, it’s virtually guaranteed that your spouse will be a much different person at 40 – and so will you. True love is about understanding these changes are inevitable, and working to maintain the relationship even as you both grow and change as people over time.
If you have questions or doubts about your relationship, and you know you want to keep it going but aren’t sure how a virtual couples therapist from Empower Professional Counseling Services can help! We’re highly experienced in helping couples of all types, both straight and LGBTQIA+, find and maintain the love they want.