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“We want what we used to have…”

Regularly… a couple will tell me, as their counsellor, that what they want from our work is for their relationship to be restored to a time when they were in love. They want their poor history to vanish, and for everything to be as it once was.

The bad news: we can never achieve this. The good: with work, we’ll achieve something better.

We cannot go back in time and erase history. A relationship grows and incorporates everything that happens within it: the good, the bad, the celebrations, the losses, the dull and exciting. Damage to a partnership cannot be erased, nor abusive behaviour, nor neglect, nor anything that changed how the relationship used to be. The way the couple communicate together through adversity decides how it can be in the future. This is key.

Two hands forming a heart shape

Not all couples can work, in counselling. through a difficult relationship history. This weakness can be what corrupts the possibilities for reconciliation. Without reconciliation and embracing the errors of the past, the couple cannot find a mutual ground upon which they might fall back in love. Instead, a couple is left to yearn for what they used to have.

Counselling helps Work Through Conflicts

The couple and I will work together to address the matters that are getting in the way.

Sometimes it can be for many sessions: it depends on how well the couple can work with each other to transform behaviour. We’ll deal with the fallout from all the unresolved history, all the problems and difficult life events that the couple had to endure together.

And then, maybe slowly, though not guaranteed, when the environment is right, a couple may find a newer form of love as effective as that which bound them at the start of their relationship.

The couple’s newer way of relating may not be quite how it used to be. Instead, the partners are falling in love with who they are today, not with who they used to be yesterday. Through counselling, they may grow to be able to manage their history together, finding ways to forgive or tolerate historic problems and events that have happened to them. They may arrive at a place where love is possible again. And when it’s not possible, we can talk about the possibilities of relationship separation.

Falling Back in Love

How does a gay couple rekindle their love?

It may come as a surprise to you that LGBT and QIA+ romantic relationships frequently do not engage in beneficial therapy… until the very last minute (and sometimes after it is too late).

Taking up counselling when the relationship has been failing for a long time may seem like a desperate step; indeed, the couple may very well be desperate, expecting the counsellor to fix what they could not. This way of thinking, unfortunately, can leave counselling too late to help.

People in intimate relationships sometimes don’t talk for very good reasons!

The sad, but very real news, though, is that counselling cannot rescue a relationship on behalf of the couple themselves. This is because couple counselling is a process (a tool, if you like) that the couple can invest in, develop, and learn to use themselves to address cracks in the relationship. Counselling does not fix things on behalf of the couple.

Counselling is not a prescribed fix (aka Step1… Step 2… etc) that guarantees everything will be cured at the end of step 20. No – there is hard work to do – and those who are willing to invest the time can discover welcoming a transformation of their relationship in conflict.

But what does this have to do with falling back in love?

Falling back in Love

Taking Things One Step at a Time

An overview of how LGBT relationship counselling works, starts with encouraging curiosity…

  1. Curiosity (initiated through Counselling)… leading to  →  New Information.
  2. New Information… leading towards  →  New Options.
  3. New Options… leading towards  →  Negotiating / Making New Choices.
  4. New Choices… leading towards  →  Transforming the Relationship (through informed empowerment).
  5. Transformation Underway… the partners are developing affective behaviours that address relationship conflicts (and may choose to leave counselling).

Curiosity allows us to discover new knowledge. New information provides us (and our partners) with new possibilities, which leads to us making some new (or newer) relationship decisions. When new decisions are made, the behaviour of the partnership can begin to change. When the partners' relationship is much more under their own management (again), they will recognise it's time to leave counselling.

Communication & Comprehension

We use couple counselling to boost communication, improve comprehension of each other, and develop options that address this relationship’s unique needs. It’s this approach that can lay the groundwork for the couple to fall back in love once more.

We talk. We will develop hypotheses on what’s going wrong in the relationship. We will implement safeguards and measures to learn from and manage errors. We revisit, review, and amend our approach. The couple begins to deal with conflicts that couldn’t have been dealt with before. We improve communication by getting used to discussing things that we thought couldn’t be discussed before. We learn how we can make informed, relationship-transforming decisions once again. We do this by observing, adjusting, and learning how your partnership can blend its strengths (Partner A does this more effectively, but Partner B does another thing more effectively, and combining the strengths can be a tour de force, rather than a conflict).

Can a Gay Couple Fall Back in Love

Improving Intimate Communication

A common complaint brought into counselling by many gay and lesbian partners is: “we don’t know how to communicate any more.” 😢.

I’ll say to you: couples don’t talk for very good reasons.

It’s not entirely accurate to say that a couple doesn’t “know” how to communicate because, for example, they’re arguing a lot. Arguing must imply a lack of communication skills, right?

I’d say that the couple is communicating very well… it’s just that neither one is really listening to what the other needs to be heard. When a honeymoon period is over (or the honeymoon didn’t have a chance to begin) and more serious matters come into the couple’s lives, partners discover that the way they learned to communicate in the beginning has left them unprepared to deal with the more serious aspects of relationship communication later on.

We can improve communication in your relationship. 

Learn how to Communicate using Counselling

Tales of Therapy

Over the past 24 years as a counsellor I’ve heard hundreds of stories about misunderstandings and inability to communicate successfully.

Such stories have included:-

“We met online and didn’t live together for some months. We might have skipped the honeymoon (aka “foundation building”) stage.”

“We don’t talk any more – we just throw looks at each other and don’t try going any further.”

“I thought in relationships we get to know everything the other thinking or feeling. So why do I keep getting it wrong?”

“I think it’s because he {reasons of suspicion or hatred} so I don’t try to speak any more”

Working together, and employing therapeutic frameworks that have been around for over 50 years, the couple develops improvements in their very own style and brand of communication. We’ll learn about checks-and-balances, how to notice problems and take immediate action, interrupting an argument before it begins, and so much more.

Plus, as an experienced counsellor, Dean employs methods using plain English (so you won’t need a psychology degree to benefit).

The Couple creates their own Therapy Process

In summary: through Couple Counselling, couples begin learning new information about each other and their relationship; though they may have been turning a blind-eye to such information for years.

By learning new information about each other and the relationship’s behaviour, we get the opportunity to make different choices. More informed choices.

With new choices come opportunities for the couple improving their relationship behaviour, improving their relationship, which may lead the path to falling-back in love anew. 💘

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Got a Question about LGBT/QIA+ Counselling?

Come and ask... whatever question you have about couple and/or group counselling for gay, lesbian, bisexual, aromatic, asexual and mixed-orientation relationships you might have, get in touch today to discuss your needs…

Private Counselling Services Designed for the LGBTQ+ Community. Available Exclusively to Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, ASexual, ARomantic, Mixed & Queer Couples, and Established Polyamorous Groups - serving the UK Nationwide over Zoom & Skype, plus locations in and around central Havant, Petersfield to Waterlooville, Cosham to Portsmouth & Southsea, Southampton to Chichester, Fareham to Gosport, Hayling Island, Emsworth, Westbourne, Rowland's Castle, stretching westwards to Bournemouth, eastwards towards Brighton & Hove and northwards towards Liverpool, Manchester and Hull. For local residents anywhere in between, across the whole UK, and regularly further afield abroad!