Working through Deal Breakers with Relationship Counselling

The fact of the matter is: people are complicated, relationships are not.

Despite our personal baggage that often leads to conflict within relationships, we are ultimately designed for deep connection and collaboration. Studies have shown that people who feel more connected to others experience reduced levels of anxiety and depression, as well as higher self-esteem and greater empathy for others. Moreover, they tend to be more trusting and cooperative, which has the effect of drawing others towards them. 

Essentially, social connectedness generates a positive feedback cycle of social, physical, and emotional well-being. 

Unfortunately the opposite is true for those who lack social connection. People who have low levels of social connection have been found to have impaired physical and psychological health, and often have an increased likelihood for developing antisocial behaviours that result in further isolation. Studies have proven isolation to have a negative impact on our mental health, with loneliness being the greatest killer in old age.

Plainly speaking, building strong friendships, partnerships and intimate relationships is essential for our overall well-being. So it is no wonder that most of us feel a strong pull towards finding that special someone with whom we can deeply connect. 

But how do we know when it is right?

Determining compatibility when getting into a new relationship

The beginning of a relationship is mostly fun, light-hearted, and filled with extreme highs. As a result, it is only normal to get a bit carried away in the intense passion and attraction, but the downside of being so enraptured is that we may subconsciously ignore significant differences in core beliefs and values.

According to licensed psychologist Dr Kelly Campbell, ignoring these significant differences or not acknowledging the “red flags” merely prolongs the inevitable demise of the relationship.

When it comes to starting a relationship, our Kitchener therapists have found it to be much easier to set yourselves up for a longer lasting relationship by identifying the unchangeable deal breakers both you and your partner have. In order for compatibility to be truthfully present, the individuals need to understand themselves and their deal breakers. If you figure out your non-negotiables in the beginning, then everything else that follows is negotiable.

Deal breakers in relationships are those instances that will lead you to call it quits – no matter how long you’ve been together. Common examples include:

  • Partner’s stance on having children
  • Lack of ambition
  • Lack of responsibility with money
  • Lifestyle differences i.e. active vs. inactive; smoking vs. non-smoking etc.
  • Unfaithful behavior
  • Abusive tendencies

Relationship counselling essentially helps each partner to remove the rose-colored glasses we tend to put on when we first meet someone, and rather see your partner for all of who they really are – then decide together if a relationship is the next step.

Identifying your deal breakers before things get more serious, and subsequently discussing them with your partner, can help you establish if the relationship is for you or not. If you have made your non-negotiables well-known and both you and your partner have committed to meeting each other’s needs in those areas, then there is little room for surprise further down the line. 

Should your partner overstep those boundaries that were clearly identified, this is when it is important to relook your previously mentioned deal breakers and determine whether they are still true for you. If they are still relevant, it is recommended to consider relationship counselling to figure out how best to navigate the conflict.  

How do you know when to get help and when to call it quits?

It is no secret that all couples have disagreements from time-to-time. If you and your partner are fighting, that is not necessarily a sign of an unhealthy relationship. In fact, we would go so far as to say that an unhealthy relationship is a relationship completely void of conflict. 

Oh, you don’t fight? Well, which one of you lost your voice?

The trouble comes in when hurtful words are exchanged and when arguments are left unresolved. That is where the divide between partners starts. 

COCA Psychotherapy’s approach to relationship counselling in Kitchener is at its essence a methodology for change. The thought-provoking and creative process aims to inspire couples to reach their full relationship potential. 

Each stage of a relationship presents challenges, whether it’s a pleasant occasion like getting engaged or preparing to start a family, or a more difficult experience like loss or a partner struggling with depression and anxiety – anything can disrupt us and turn into an obstacle in the way of happiness. Where counselling is helpful, is it offers greater awareness and understanding so that we may learn to turn those obstacles into opportunities. It is important to have the necessary conversations earlier rather than later to prevent any serious concerns down the line.

We provide a non-judgemental, open space for couples to share and talk freely about their struggles. From there we work with each partner struggling to make long lasting changes in the way they communicate and set boundaries, and help with breaking of negative patterns/cycles, building on new strategies, and developing tools for more positive communication. 

Are you wanting to recover, repair, or strengthen your commitment to your partner? Feel free to contact us here to book a couples counselling appointment or give us a call on 226-336-5787 for a free consultation over the phone.

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