Couples Counseling after a Move

Help! We recently moved to Boulder and have been fighting non-stop.

I hear from so many couples who find themselves in a desperate place emotionally after they move – fighting, yelling, deadly silences and an abrupt halt to their sex life. Moving is stressful and it is completely normal to have discord after such an upheaval. Many individuals report feeling like they have lost their identity and don’t know how to connect to their spouse anymore.

“Is it normal for couples to fight after move?”

Yes, after a move it is normal for couples to feel a lack of connection, less intimacy, to fight more and to fight with more anger than ever before. Moving is difficult on each of you individually and on the marriage. The intensity of emotions can increase if you have children, if one person has given up a job or career for the other or if there is a change in your financial situation.

This can be confusing, especially when your move was planned, saved for and sacrificed for. Why would you suddenly be depressed, feeling hopeless or angry once you arrive? It is grief. You are grieving.

I believe that after we move we all have to grieve. We have to grieve our old house, our old persona, our old lifestyle, our old job and even our old coffee shop. Most of us forget that this is a normal part of every transition. And in marriage you have two people grieving who usually grieve at different speeds which adds another layer of stress.

“How can counseling help?”

Counseling provides a safe place to begin to unpack all the stressors involved in a move (no pun intended). In marriage we need to be able to express our feelings without them being judged, rationalized or dismissed. There is power in giving our partner the experience of being heard, which is not always the same thing as hearing or understanding them.

One thing I always ask my clients is how they were taught to deal with times of stress or overwhelming emotions. How did your parents deal with their own transitions? How did they model this for you? This model becomes your blueprint and most likely it is how you are coping.

One goal of couples counseling is to help you both understand your blueprints and begin to develop language to describe these learned tactics so that you can talk openly about your reactions to times of change. You can then devise or create a better way to cope and get your needs met.

“Will counseling cause us to fight more? Will this make things worse?”

There are times in our marriages when there is too much to talk about and as we begin the process of talking more and more emotions, rarely good ones, come bubbling up. It is normal in counseling for things to appear as if they are getting worse as you find the language to finally express what you are feeling. But I don’t believe that this is a bad thing. I believe that talking and movement is good as it stops the dreaded stagnation that can cripple a marriage.

“My spouse refuses to go with me – if I come in alone will anything change?”

Yes. Your marriage and your family is a system and any intervention, anywhere in the system, will change the whole system. I sometimes think of a marriage in trouble as a pressure cooker and if we can relieve any pressure, even if it is just about you, we can lighten the pressure in the marriage.

“How much does this cost and are you covered by my insurance?”

The cost for couples counseling is $180/session and individual counseling is $150/session. I am an out-of-network provider for all insurances but many of my clients are able to get reimbursed by their insurance for our work. I offer a free consultation so that I can answer any questions you may have about insurance or fees.

“Do you know what moving is like? Can you help us?”

Yes! I recently moved from Washington DC with my husband and 2 daughters. We moved to take advantage of the fantastic lifestyle that Boulder has to offer with mindful living, care of the environment, and wonderful schools. We consciously choose Boulder but even with this free choice there are a multitude of unavoidable stresses. I remind many of my clients that it takes three years to feel fully settled in a new location. My goal as your therapist is to help you remain centered in your body and connected in your marriage while you get settled.

I have been working with couples since 2000 and have seen first-hand how counseling, education and learning mindfulness techniques can impact happiness and intimacy

Do you offer online therapy?

Yes, I am able to provide both individual and couples counseling using online therapy. It is a wonderful resource for our work as we all shelter at home and are safer at home.

Call to schedule a free consultation.

I offer a free 20-minute consultation so we can see if this is a good fit for what you need – I am happy to meet in person or we can talk over the phone. Please contact me here and we can plan a time to meet at my sunny South Boulder office.

You can also call me at 720-551-8084.

I look forward to speaking with you.