9 Reasons Why Couples Work With a Relationship Coach
9 Reasons Why Couples Work With a Relationship Coach
By Corinne Farago
I love my couples.
They reach out for sex coaching, wanting to create a fulfilling sexual and intimate life. The number one obstacle to achieving their goals is sometimes an unhealthy relationship dynamic.
For most of us, opening ourselves to sexuality with our partners requires trust, connection and a sense of emotional safety. If our relationships are being impacted by unhealthy dynamics that leave us triggered and harboring conscious or unconscious resentment, sexuality will be impacted or, at worst no longer exist.
Relationship coaching for couples teaches tools like:
Honest and open communication
Empathy, so we can see our partner’s point of view
The ability to teach our partner how to love us
Boundaries, consent and agreements
Vulnerability rather than protection
These are the building blocks to having a great sex life.
Below are a few examples of some unhealthy dynamics I find in couples who come to see me for coaching. Within a few sessions, they begin to understand the patterns that keep these dynamics in place.
Instead of having the same fight over and over again they recognize the pattern when it arises and use new tools to bypass the conflict.
When a couple returns to a feeling of security and connection, they can begin to create a fulfilling sexual and intimate life.
Do any of these dynamics sound familiar to you?
1. The Sexless Marriage
These couples for one reason or another find themselves in sexless (once a month or less) relationships. If they haven’t had the help to open up and talk honestly about what’s not working for them sexually, they can become secretive in their desires and resentful of each other, blaming the other for their circumstance. Their friends may see them as a happy couple but inside they feel unseen and false.
This couple’s life may seem stagnant but boredom is an active refusal to change.
It’s a conscious or unconscious agreement that nothing can change, so what’s the point. It’s settling for less than what they desire. They hold repressed anger, blame, and sadness at the idea of settling for a sex life that is far less satisfactory than what they desire. Boredom is telling you that there’s something to give your attention to, something that’s not working for one or both of you.
Some couples move from one argument to the next. It’s a dynamic of blaming and accusations. Conflict can become an addiction where the brain becomes stimulated by the same anger response again and again. Couple can become addicted to the cycle of conflict, riding an emotional rollercoaster between accusations and apologies. Underlying these unhealthy rituals are often feelings of disconnection, frustration, and anxiety.
When we begin to understand our own individual wounds and how they’re triggered, we can avoid the traps of reactivity, and gain compassion for ourselves and our partner.
4. Not Sexually Attracted to My Partner
Some couples find themselves, for one reason or another no longer sexually attracted to their partners. They’ve either been together for a long time and notice changes in physical appearance or they were drawn to their partner for reasons outside of physical attraction. If one partner feels undesired, the relationship suffers and both partners are left feeling insecure and disappointed.
If we’re relying solely on outside stimulus as our path to arousal, we’re forgoing our own sexual agency of generating desire within ourselves and sharing it with our partner.
5. Controlling Relationship
It’s common to find couples who are both controlling in their own ways.
The obvious controllers are calling the shots and giving directions, but their partner can be equally controlling in a less overt way through passive/aggressive acting out. Both partners can be trying to maintain the upper hand while resentment underlies their struggles. This couple can’t trust each other. Both can have a hard time letting go. The control game is played out on both sides and in the end both partners are on the losing end of connection.
The need to control circumstances and others is based on fear. Fear may help keep us alive when danger is near, but trust and safety are prerequisites to good sex. When fear is present we can work with our partner to calm their nervous system and let go of control.
6. Overly Critical Partner
This couple get’s bogged down in judgments and criticism of each other. This creates a pattern of dissatisfaction and lack of acceptance. They struggle with their own inner conflict that they may be with the wrong person. They can swing between acceptance and leaving the relationship. This dynamic keeps intimacy at a distance with their periods of ambivalence and lack of commitment. Judging is also based on fear and insecurity.
Partner’s can help each other turn patterns of judgments into patterns of praise, and replace hurt feelings with those of acceptance and appreciation.
7. Passive Aggressive Relationship
One partner learns to mask their aggression through seemingly innocent acts, while knowing how to push the other’s buttons in a way that creates conflict.
This dynamic can lead to hidden and unspoken frustrations and resentments. This kind of game playing is destructive and dishonest; it undermines the foundation to a great sex life.
Forgiveness, agreements, and rules of conduct help to change this dynamic to build trust again.
8. Insecure Relationship
This is a common dynamic in relationships where one partner feels insecure and needy looking for affirmation of love, which in turn pushes the other further away to avoid the burden of their insecurity. The avoidant partner is afraid of feeling trapped so they act out by withholding love. It’s a destructive and reinforcing cycle of push and pull that undermines a secure and loving connection.
There is compassion to be found on both sides, as we learn about attachment styles, how they impact our relationships and how to meet each other’s attachment needs.
9. Roommate Marriage
This couple talks about what a great team they make. Their partnership excels when it comes to being parents, housemates, and travelers. But when you ask them about their sexuality their story is more about what’s not spoken about than what is.
They’ve successfully compartmentalized sexuality and reduced its expression to a workable but predictable pattern. I’ll hear concerns about rocking the boat or opening a can of worms. Both of which represent a threat to the part of the relationship that is working.
Honest conversations and uncovering unspoken challenges start this couple on the road to intimacy that is real on the inside as well as the outside.
These are just a few examples of relationship dynamics that play out in a couple’s life. Each couple is unique and each dynamic has it’s own solutions.
Relationship coaching for couples will give you the insights and tools that will lead you back to the reason you searched me out in the first place, the desire to live a satisfying and fulfilling life of love, sex and desire.
Confirmation bias. We all have it. We experience it every day in the news, in our politics, in our workplace, and most directly in our relationships, where partners can suffer the consequences of confirmation bias on a daily basis. When it comes to our relationship it makes sense then that our brains are far more skilled at noticing what’s wrong with our partner, than what’s right.
Vulnerability is actually a gift that descends upon us when we stop pretending to have it all together and admit to our human flaws and fragility. It’s a gift we give to ourselves and our partner, because it shifts our state from one of closed-off superficiality, to one of feeling and deep sharing. When one partner in a couple opens the door to vulnerability, they create space for their partner to join them there, and it’s in that space of shared vulnerability where hearts connect and intimacy is experienced.
Sex is probably one of the hardest things to talk about with a partner. It’s easy to take things personally because sex is deeply personal. Confessing your desires and asking for what you want takes courage and trust that your partner is going to hold your feelings with care. If sex is difficult for you to talk about the best thing to do is to start talking, but do it in a way that keeps you both feeling heard and understood.
One of the most defining moments in my life was losing a brother when I was 14 years old. One day he was there, and the next day he was gone. Life's big lessons are irrefutable, and usually hold within them great wisdom. When you lose a family member, you never forget that impermanence is built into existence, and with every loss comes a second lesson which is equally important to understand. Here’s the confronting truth about life that’s hard to avoid, but easy to ignore. You’re going to lose everything and everyone you care about in life.