Couples Blog for Bravo – Jen Glantz
Originally written for Bravo, Personal Space, September 2017. Personal Space is Bravo’s home for all things “relationship.”
The days of When Harry Met Sally when you could marry your long-time best friend aren’t over, but they have taken a backseat to new ways of meeting online. Rules for relationships aren’t clear online and they need to be written in a way that is understandable. But Integrity, honesty and being upfront about who you are haven’t gone out of style though, and when things get rough more couples are going to therapy in real life. And because media always keeps up with real life, you can catch celebrities working it out on the air in Couples Therapy. So why is everyone using therapy to help their relationships?
1. The illusions precipitated by media, magazines, movies, the Internet and TV about love and romance do not match what occurs in real relationships. Couples look for the ideas about love that they have grown up with or seen on their favorite shows and sites. These images do not reflect “real” relationships, but are instead are “reel” images, those that are designed for your entertainment. When couples realize their real relationships don’t match what they have imagined from media exposure, they quickly want to find out why. In my award-winning book, Get Reel: Produce Your Own Life I explain just how these illusions are formed and how to break them and move on to a much more successful “real” relationship.
2. Therapy is much more acceptable today and more couples and men are seeking treatment when in the past therapy was considered a sign of instability, rather than the growth process that it is today. Relationships can be the most challenging part of life, because with career, home and hobbies, you are largely in control, and your habits, experiences and goals are purely your own. In a relationship, you have an entire history and personality, as does your partner. Navigating the road to a partnership may require some professional guidance
3. Couples are still making new rules for relationships and they are not clearly defined. Ever since the 60’s and feminism, the changing roles of men and women have been evolving and are still taking shape. Couples often need help to navigate their own rules and what works for them in an era of Millenials, Gen X and Y and Boomers all trying to get along.
4. More couples meet online. While online relationships are often highly successful and lasting, the path to dating online is a different one and often both women and men need help to navigate the new way of matching up! While it might appear easier to find a partner with all the dating apps and websites, sorting out a relationship after meeting someone over the Internet has its own challenges. I find that many people in therapy want help with social network relationships, red flags that someone is not who they appear to be or signs that someone is sincere.
5. Older couples whose relationships have deteriorated are feeling that therapy is more acceptable and are taking on long-standing issues.
Some considerations for deciding to go to couples therapy are:
- Experiencing negative communication in a relationship
- The partnership seems to have no life in it
- There has been betrayal
- You can’t seem to solve problems effectively
Look for a therapist who uses some of the most successful theories in couples counseling. Those would include the work of Virginia Satir, John Gottman and Harville Hendrix. But understand that progress takes time. Many couples don’t seek help for up to six years after they realize that they have a problem. A good relationship is a work in progress.