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Relationship Problems

Mark Dombeck, Ph.D.

While thinking about the divorce rate is often depressing, there are developments that are more happy to think about. Scientists have been hard at work for years now studying the ways that marriages can come apart and much has been learned. As it turns out, most relationships fail in predictable ways. Reasonably effective therapy strategies based on this research are now available for partners who recognize they are in trouble and want help. The various sections of this center will provide an overview of what is now known about how relationships fail, and a brief survey of some of the techniques that might be used in marriage therapy. Not all troubled marriages can be saved, but perhaps with what is now known, more have a chance to survive than before.

If your relationship is in trouble, we want you to know two things: one, that help for your marriage is available to you and your partner if you seek it out, and two, that you can survive whatever the outcome of your marital difficulties. Relationships are living things that grow up between individuals over time. Like any living things, relationships can be healthy and live a long life, or they can get sick and die. If your relationship dies, this doesn't mean that you too will experience the end of your life. When a relationship between two people becomes unworkable, each person may be crushed, but they are not necessarily defeated. It is important to keep in mind that in crisis, there is also opportunity for new growth. If a given relationship ends, it is possible and even likely that new satisfying relationships can be born in the future. It is also possible that, if there is still a mutual spark between you and your partner, that spark can be fanned back into a healthy flame; that your relationship can be repaired if you are both willing to compromise, seek help, and work hard to make your relationship work.