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Welcome to COUPLE-LIFE!  It is often said (with reference to heterosexual couples) that a man marries hoping his wife will NOT change, whilst a woman marries hoping her man will – but only in the way she wants!  As it is highly unlikely that these hopes will be fulfilled, it may be advisable to have an open and honest dialogue upfront, to see whether the relationship is, in reality, viable.

COUPLE-LIFE has been set up to provide a forum for this dialogue, and has as its goal, the building of healthy, happy and supportive long term relationships and the prevention of the breakdown of a family and the inevitable damages that causes – particularly if children are involved.

In today`s world we see a wide variety of relationships, with gender diversity and cultural differences, and we now have the freedom to be together in almost any format we chose.  But many of these relationships are forging new and unchartered territories and are therefore without models or blueprints to guide us.   

In our primary relationships we are often strongly influenced, either actively or reactively, consciously or unconsciously, by the way our parents behaved, but in most cases their parameters were much narrower than ours are today and the traditional roles no longer feel appropriate.  We might also each have very different models, from the point of view of culture, religion or gender, and those differences can sometimes feel threatening and be difficult to bridge. 

Today the trend is towards making commitments later in life, which means that there is a lot more to bring to the table in terms of options and expectations.  It is reassuring that statistics show that the more discussion people have before committing to each other, the less likely is that the relationship will break down. It is with this in mind, that, in the same way that a pre-nuptual financial agreement can be made, I believe that it is helpful to set out an emotional stall, acknowledging what our priorities, expectations and hopes are for life in a relationship, and  avoiding the disillusionment that can occur when these needs have not been made explicit and inappropriate assumptions are made.

COUPLE-LIFE aims to guide relationships in a clear and pragmatic way, working towards negotiating mutually acceptable agreements which respect the needs of both parties.  To this end, I also work with couples who are already established but who are going through difficulties or challenging times in their relationship.

I am based in central London (see: www.96harleypsychotherapy.co.uk)but also have a small practice near Bath.