When a couple forms a relationship, it is often on the basis of an unspoken contract. Each person in the relationship has an expectation that the other will provide them with something they need. This could be financial security, being listened to, warmth and nurturance, shared interest in sex, frequent travel, being a good parent, etc. It may be something they were missing earlier in life or in other relationships and see this relationship as an opportunity to correct this.

An unhappy relationship is usually one where the terms of the contract are not being met. The person thought they were getting into a relationship with a good listener and they get someone who is distant; they thought they were getting nurturance and their partner is critical; they wanted to travel, and their partner is happy to stay home etc.

As the ‘contractual expectations’ of the relationship are not always explicit – a partner can be at a loss to explain the unhappiness. Good questioning skills, equally good listening skills, and a willingness to receive feedback are an excellent way to understand and resolve relationship unhappiness.

At Walters Green Clinical Psychology Practice, we offer cognitive and behaviour therapy to address relationship problems. Call us on 38708191 to book an appointment

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