Stuck in love?

Anyone of us who has been in a long-term relationship knows one thing for sure — relationships can be difficult and require hard work.


There are a number of reasons why we struggle in relationships, including, but not limited to:

  • Infidelity
  • Infertility
  • Boredom
  • Bonding/intimacy issues
  • Loss of desire
  • Unsatisfying sex life
  • Communication barriers
  • Responsibilities of parenting and managing finances or feeling completely detached from your partner with no idea how reignite the passion

If you are nodding your head right now, that is because you and your partner are not alone.

You are not ‘failures’ or ‘messed up,’ you have simply run into some stumbling blocks, and when we are involved in a relationship, that is very easy to do. So the easy part is over, and you may be feeling stuck, but the good thing is that you have every reason to be hopeful that the hurt, betrayal and disconnection can be repaired and feelings of love, desire and trust can be restored.

The shenanigans that go on between couples that only the two of you really know about, are likely stuck on repeat mode as you may find yourselves having the same argument over and over again with the only thing really improving is your savviness at ‘hitting below the belt’ and cutting each other down to size. This dynamic may relieve your stress in the moment; however, it further alienates you from each other, creating more distance and feeding your fantasy to contact an attorney and just be done with it.


Contemplating the end of your relationship is terrifying, and it may not even be the solution.

But you are fed up, exhausted and don’t know what to do anymore. This is a good time to surrender to the idea that what you are doing is not working, and that you – and this is not meant to be insulting – do not know what you are doing, and that is okay.

A therapist can help you learn how to work through pain together in an effective and healthy way.

You and your partner will develop techniques to rescue yourselves from your own maladaptive tendencies.


When a couple is in the consulting room, things can get tricky

The reason for this is that you are both unique individuals, and just like you both bring strengths to the relationship, you both also contribute your unique pathology to the union. The term pathology used here refers to a person’s emotional and psychological experience and perception of his/her world and his/her own unique methods of coping with life circumstances. Problems can become convoluted and difficult to resolve in our relationships because they are often multilayered.


A therapist can help you to stop saying hostile things, and to become comfortable expressing vulnerable feelings.

For example saying something instead like, “I miss you, I need you and long for the closeness we once shared. I am scared that you do not feel the same way.” The latter example gives your partner a chance to understand where you are really coming from and the chance to respond your feelings in a more sensitive way.

When all we want is love and connection, we may inadvertently express it in a hostile way because we fear rejection and disappointment.

Even when a couple is married for 20 years, it is still a risk to risk your emotions. Marital and Couples Therapy can help restore a sense of trust within your relationship so that each person can feel safe expressing his/her needs.

The inconceivable pain when you are unable to conceive

When your dreams of having a child are derailed by infertility, your entire perspective of the world can be altered. Suddenly everything that you were once certain about is now called into question, and the excitement of bringing a baby into the world and fantasies of the pregnancy announcement, picking out names, designing a nursery, or becoming a mommy or a daddy are replaced with feelings of agony that are difficult to put into words and too painful to process alone.


The heartbreak experienced when you are unable to conceive can have a profound and pervasive effect on your life, changing you into someone you barely recognize.

Being diagnosed with male infertility, female infertility or a combination of both is devastating and can have a deleterious impact on your relationship with yourself, with your spouse as well as your relationship with extended family members and friends.


The impact of infertility on the relationship

Infertility can play a divisive role between couples: alienating you from one another, making it difficult to remain a team against feelings of loss, hopelessness, fear and disappointment. Emotions are not always logical; therefore, you might find yourself internalizing self-blame or self-loathing or externalizing feelings of blame or grief onto your partner. For example, once you have had testing to determine the reason that you are unable to conceive, and the results conclude that the ‘culprit’ is something caused by your body or your partner’s body, you might experience thoughts such as: “I should just leave my spouse so he/she can find someone who can give them children,” or “I feel terrible, my spouse has always wanted children and because of me we cannot have them,” or  “I have ruined my partner’s dreams of becoming a parent,” or “How is it that my body cannot do what it is so easy for everyone else?” These thoughts and emotions are intense and have the ability to  strain even the most harmonious relationship. When you are trying to decide whether or not to pursue Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART),  it is common for you and your partner to have your own anxieties. For example, one of you might feel overwhelmed by the financial burden, while the other is willing to do whatever it takes to finance as many procedures needed, possibly creating feelings of resentment toward one another.  

How each gender is affected by infertility

Infertility also has the ability to threaten masculinity and femininity making it very difficult for couples talk about their feelings together. For example, if the source of infertility is identified as male infertility, his emotional response might be to feel defeated by his own body, he may feel frustrated, angry and go into denial, withdrawing from his wife and refusing treatment. If the source has been identified as female infertility, she may experience feelings of depression and feelings of anger toward her body for letting her down, but may still want to move forward trying to conceive. However, both men and women may similarly experience a sense of shock and fear at the notion that they might not be able to continue their heritage/bloodline.

When you are betrayed by your own body, it is easy for feelings of inadequacy to set in, creating the desire to withdrawal from the people who love you. Isolating yourself might feel like the easiest resolution, particularly during dark days when you receive news that a treatment has not worked, that you have miscarried, or that the cause of your infertility is more complicated than previously understood. You might even find yourself dreading baby showers or children’s birthday parties because they are too painful to attend.

You are already going through so much, and it is unnecessary for you to try to work through your emotional experience alone. Working together with a therapist will help you to begin to process the thoughts and feelings that you are inundated with at this difficult time in your life. Therapy provides the opportunity for couples to learn how to share feelings with each other, rather than withdrawing from one another. The therapeutic experience can also help couples to develop empathy for one another, which can help you to stay connected and restore the inner strength necessary to confront infertility together.

Have you recently, or maybe not so recently, experienced  a breakup that you just cannot seem to get over?  Every song, every season and every place you visit holds a memory of the person you once loved and hoped was ‘the one,’ making it difficult to move forward.


Grieving the loss of a relationship is very normal, but sometimes we can get ‘stuck in love.’

If your grief is prolonged and prevents you from establishing new relationships because nobody compares to the person you have lost, you may want to consider getting some support to help process your emotions, learn from your experience in the relationship and develop an understanding of ways in which you may have contributed to the breakup. This in no way is meant to blame you or to insinuate that you were the problem, but when two people are involved in a relationship, two people are responsible for what existed between them.

With that said, therapy during this difficult time can help to make you feel stronger, to let go of self-blame and to develop an overall better sense of self, thereby allowing you to believe in love again, and most importantly, believe that you have the ability to create and participate in the type of relationship that you deserve.

Do you find that you pick the wrong person over and over again? Or do you consistently select people who let you down, hurt you or cannot fulfill your needs?  This is a painful reality to struggle with and a very common one.


You may not like hearing this, but rest assured it comes from a place of empathy, sincerity, as well as a profound respect for you and your struggle. Ready? Here it is: This has far more to do with you than it does with the people who have hurt you.

Whew! Well, there it is. Take a couple of deep breaths, and bear with me as I explain what I mean. When you feel compelled toward a certain type of person, the type of person that lets you down, this frequently has to do with your own ambivalence about being in love and being in a relationship. Therefore, you may not be as open to love as you think you are. You may be struggling with internal conflicts that are outside of your awareness. For example, even though you may be able to say with strong conviction that you want to be in love and that you are ready for companionship, the conflicts outside of your awareness may be prompting you with an even stronger conviction that you do not deserve love or that you are not loveable, thereby motivating you to choose people who will ultimately disappoint or abandon you.

Working through these conflicts in therapy and having a better understanding of them, will help to eliminate them so that you can prepare yourself to be able to both receive the love that you deserve and to love openly and wholeheartedly. By the way, this may seem like poetic reading, but a it requires a lot of work in therapy. You are worth the investment!