If being a single adult is as challenging as my blogs so far have suggested, then finding fulfillment in a couple must border on the impossible!
But no; in some ways it's quite the opposite:
Once the couple sees the potential for giving and receiving critical support to help each other be his/her best, then the advantages of collaboration can outweigh the challenges.
Joe felt chronic frustration over the lack of consistent sexual intimacy with Jan. This couple has been married for 10 years and has a three year old son. So he had a ten month affair. Finally it came out. One repercussion is that later that year she had a one night fling. He is demanding an apology for her indiscretion and naturally, she is having trouble understanding how he can be so blind as to not see how flagrant his behavior was compared to hers.
This is a hard case to illustrate the point but bear with me. The couple's "dance" - a term to be explained more fully in a the next blog - consisted of this:
The more Joe demanded sex and occupied their conversations with arguing about why she wasn't compliant, the more it lead to even less sex for him. The more Jan either made excuses or stomped angrily out of the room when the subject came up, the more persistent Joe became. We call this their "the more the more" dance.
Here is where psychotherapy can break through barriers that are hard for the couple to topple on their own.
We'll discuss in the next blog how this apparent recipe for divorce got turned around when each learned how to risk reaching out to the other to put a stop to this dance and reconnect to the intimacy they once shared.