Couples counseling for dating couples

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"When I was in graduate school," says Broder, "we were taught—in what we then called 'marriage counseling'—that it was successful when the marriage was saved, and not successful when it wasn't.

I believe there's no such thing as a 'happy couple.' There's such things as two happy individuals. It's kind of like a corporation." To keep two people together unhappily, he says, is to do no service to anyone.

"What I have to say is: 'Are we the only two people who know that?

In working with the longterm unmarried set, therapists or relationship coaches often say they see more similarities to married couples than differences."The therapist helped us understand what's normal—or rather, healthy—and what's not.For instance, I grew up where screaming was normal in the house.""I wanted to make a good-faith effort," she added, "and I believe in him as a good person." The phrase "good-faith effort"—or something similar—is repeated often by uncertain couples, along with the notion of giving the relationship "one last try."Some professionals have less patience for unmarried partners in troubled longterm, live-in relationships.Broder says he sees couples coming to therapy to reevaluate whether a stagnating relationship is one they should continue, after the initial passion, the lovestruck honeymoon period of the early months, has worn off."I define a longterm relationship as one that survives the dopamine high," he says.

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