Relate counselling helped us to face up to what was wrong. If we had let things go on as they were, we might have soured the relationship for good.

Jennifer and Dexter, Relate Relationship Counselling Clients

Where they started

Jennifer couldn’t understand why anyone would ever want to get married. Experiencing her parents’ divorce when she was little had put her off the idea for life. Even after five years of being with Dexter, Jennifer couldn’t see any point in changing the laid-back dynamic she had worked hard to maintain.

If only Dexter felt the same.

Jennifer and Dexter’s relationship was born out of two very busy and fulfilling lifestyles; juggling hobbies, friends, travelling and family.

I loved the fact that we had our own lives as well as our relationship together. It was like having the best of both worlds.

Jennifer

The decision to move into together was meant to provide the couple with more stability and the opportunity to spend more time together. However, soon after their relationship hit problems. 

Whilst Dexter was starting to realise that he wanted more commitment from Jennifer and was happier to spend time at home, Jennifer was struggling to accept Dexter’s approach to domestic life, which made her feel even further from marriage than ever.

I thought that moving in together wouldn't change anything, I loved going out and seeing friends but having our own place felt more permanent and I wanted to enjoy it together. Jennifer carried on as if nothing had changed, going out most nights - we were living together but hardly saw each other.

Dexter

Dexter felt frustrated that Jennifer was choosing going out over spending time together, he snapped at her whenever she talked about nights out which usually led to an argument. Jennifer couldn't understand why he was so annoyed, going out together had always been fun in the past.

When I planned a night out with friends I immediately felt bad about telling Dexter, I tried to include him but he didn't seem to be interested. When I did go out I felt guilty for leaving him at home. 

Jennifer

Both felt unable to talk to each other about how they felt.

Seeking help

Realising that they needed to take action, Jennifer and Dexter contacted their local Relate Centre to see if a counsellor could help them work through the stumbling blocks in their relationship.

Slowly, over the course of four sessions, Jennifer began to realise that fear had been holding her back and that her childhood experiences had made her avoid commitment. Dexter realised he'd never really talked to Jennifer about her upbringing, or how she felt about moving in together, it just kind of happened. 

Where they are now

The Relationship Counsellor helped them to talk through their expectations and work out how to negotiate.  As a result both Jennifer and Dexter felt more secure and confident in taking their relationship forward. 

How we can help

If like Jennifer and Dexter you feel like you need a bit of support with your relationship, we can help. 

*This case study is loosely based on the kind of scenarios we work with, as opposed to specific clients. Relate never shares the stories of our clients without permission, even with names and details changed.