PROBLEM: Young couple with relationship problems
SOLUTION: Couples counselling enabled them to get back on track
Stefan e-mailed the service as he and his partner had been together for eight years, since they were both 17. They’d stayed together despite going to different colleges and universities and after graduating, moved to London together for him to pursue a career in media and for his partner to complete her MA. The first few months were exciting; however, after that cracks in their relationship started to appear. Stefan’s job didn’t pay very well, but he did have some disposable income at the end of the month, whereas his partner had to be a lot more careful as she was still studying. Stefan’s partner took a bar job which helped out with money, but Stefan started to feel as if he paid for everything and that his partner’s lack of money stopped them from doing things. Their long working and studying hours didn’t help, and sometimes they felt like ‘ships passing in the night’. They both knew that things weren’t going well, but neither of them had the courage to say anything, so they were stuck in a rut.
A counsellor from their EAP provider phoned Stefan to discuss things further and gave him tips about how to raise his feelings with his partner in a constructive and positive way. The counsellor also suggested that couples counselling might help and informed him that this was included as part of the EAP. After these conversations, Stefan felt much more confident about talking to his partner about their situation, and after they talked, they realised that they were both feeling the same and wanted to try to work things out. They decided that face-to-face couples counselling was a good idea and had four weekly sessions with a local counsellor. Stefan reported that the time with the counsellor enabled the couple to focus on the issues that were causing problems and gave them the strength to work out their own solutions. The experience had made them much better at communicating and finding solutions to problems as they arose.