I have a special place in my heart for singles. As I have worked with married couples for many years, one pattern really seems to emerge….most of the problems that couples have, started when they were dating. So my passion has shifted to helping create healthy marriages before they begin. I want to help people enter into dating relationships in a healthy way as well as know that when things get hard, it doesn’t have to mean the end of the relationship. There are skills you can learn while dating that will help you have a great marriage someday, even if that person is not the person you end up marrying.
“I thought that if we needed counseling while we were dating that it meant we were doomed and needed to break up. Now I KNOW going into our marriage that we know how to work through hard things. I’m so grateful we came to see you.”
Unfortunately, there is a cultural idea that if the relationship gets tough while dating then we should just break up and move on. I don’t believe that is necessary in most relationships. The places that are tough will come up again in another relationship, possibly in a different way or dynamic. (This problem also happens when people get divorced, they recreate their old problems in a new relationship.)
I also believe that there can be particular grief and loss that comes from dating for many years and not finding the connection and spouse that you desire. There is a special type of loss that occurs when you have an idea of what your life was going to look like and it doesn’t happen like that. It is called ambiguous loss and there is a lot of grief around that loss that is often unacknowledged, particularly in the LDS culture. You may be told that you are too picky, that you just need to try harder or date more, or all sorts of silly things in an attempt to side-step the sadness of the loss you feel. I can help you step into the feelings of grief and loss and how to work through that. Sometimes it is this grief and loss that keep us from really connecting to people who would be a good fit for us. We hold on to old ideas and beliefs that don’t serve us any longer because the grief and loss keeps us stuck in them.
“It was really hard to realize that (name removed) and I just were not working and nothing we did would fix it. But I have been able to move on and know that I did everything I could to make it work.”
Lastly, I believe a lot of singles who are single longer than they would like to be often have trauma that keeps them from connecting in the way they would like to connect. It can be trauma they experienced as a child or trauma that happened as an adult in a relationship. We may not even really understand that it was traumatic for us because we haven’t understood how it actually impacts how we have relationships. This is important work to do and I use EMDR to help singles move through these blocks and into more healthy relationships. If you want to read more about EMDR, please click here.