Challenging Stages for Relationships

All relationships change over time.

There are some transitions or stages that are fairly likely for a couple to encounter at some point in their marriage or long term relationship… and may cause them difficulties until they make adjustments.

These shifts might occur from changes within the couple, outside forces that impact the relationship, or even just the passage of time and moving into new life stages.

Sometimes such changes are unavoidable – or may even be anticipated and welcomed. But, any major shifts can put stress on the partnership, because they disrupt the familiar rhythms and routines… and require the couple to make modifications to keep things running smoothly.

Below are a few fairly common phases in relationships when getting guidance from a counselor experienced in relationships can be useful. Often having a little added support and guidance at the right time can allow you to move through these phases more quickly and efficiently – and avoid the unnecessary difficulties and frustrations of simply using a trial and error approach.

Uncommited Relationships

This is the first stage in most relationships; whether it is considered dating, courtship, being a couple, or “just friends – maybe more”. Most often if a couple has difficulty getting along in this stage they don't consider counseling, but instead they simply break up. And often that's the most appropriate decision, since this stage […] Read More

Moving Towards Commitment

In this phase of relationship a couple is serious about each other and are considering taking a 'big step' of greater commitment with each other. In the past that big step usually meant getting engaged to be married, so counseling at this stage was considered per-marital counseling. But these days that's somewhat too limiting, because […] Read More

‘Post-Honeymoon’ Marriage and Relationships

"We enter into relationships because our lives are enhanced and enriched by this other person having different and unique qualities. Ironically, it is also because they are different and unique from us that conflict and disagreement will arise." During the early stages of a relationship there's a heightened sense of excitement as we're discovering and […] Read More

Marriage Gone Flat

All marriages and long term relationship go through different changes and phases, including ebbs and flows in the intensity of couple's sense of connection and energy in their partnership. Sometimes a period of reduced connection is easily understood, such as having unusually high outside demands on the couple or one partner's time and energy. This […] Read More

Established Marriage Under Stress

A relationship or marriage is a partnership of two people, but it certainly doesn't exist in isolation. Stressful events from outside of the marriage itself - and outside of couple’s control - will frequently have an impact on the quality of their relationship and affect their connection with each other. Jobs, illness, aging parents, unexpected […] Read More

Marriage in Transition

...so, healthy and rewarding marriages and long term relationships must have the ability to adjust and adapt to changes. But, we also have a yearning for our marriage or relationship to be predictable and consistent. So, when changes occur that require adjustments in our familiar routines, we may have a natural resistance and try to […] Read More

Marriage and Relationships in Mid-Life

Mid-life brings it's own set of unique set changes and challenges, both to individuals and to relationships. In a long standing relationship, the mid-life issues are quite often really challenges with making transitions, as covered in the previous section. The only substantive difference is they may be require to make adjustments in patterns and routines […] Read More

Ending the Marriage

Many marriages and serious coupling relationships do end. Sometimes when a marriage ends the partners are able to simply go their separate ways... perhaps never seeing each other again. But, quite often after the partnering aspect of a relationship has ended the two individuals still need to interact with each other. This is most common […] Read More

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