Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Talk to your therapist and enjoy your first year of marriage
First year of marriage: My husband and I have been married for just under a year and, frankly, the "newlywed period" is not necessarily as sweet and easy as I expected it to be.
I guess part of the problem is that every relationship I've ever been in prior to this one has ended (obviously) so I find myself scrutinizing things that could be blips — for example, a couple of months without sex — for evidence this relationship will go bad. It's kind of (ticking) my husband off. He doesn't want to go to counseling because he thinks our problems are not that serious. So maybe it really is just me. I'm IN counseling, but for some reason I really find it difficult to discuss this stuff with my therapist.
Carolyn: Discuss it with your therapist anyway, by stating: "I have a lot of insecurities about my marriage, and I find it really difficult to discuss this stuff with you." If you don't think you can say it in person, call before your next session and leave it on a voice mail. You have a trained listener in place, so it's essential that you start telling the truth.
Your hesitation to speak and accept uncomfortable truths is part of the problem in your marriage, on both sides. Be honest. Risk looking bad.
Consider, too, that your husband doesn't want to talk, he just wants to be — with you, and without being picked apart. You can choose to trust that you're together for good reasons, and choose to let that guide you for a while at home. Your therapist's office can be the place you air your anxieties as you work to form new habits — of not reacting to every blip, and of sharing and even creating warm moments with your husband instead of retreating into your doubts.
First year again: I think I'd feel a lot better if I could just talk to a friend (and see how "normal" this is), but I'm so embarrassed, because everyone thinks of us as being a super loved-up couple.
I have been somewhat specific with my husband, but he points to all the many wonderful things about our life together and is downright hurt by my insecurity (although he can't exactly explain why the sex has dropped off — however, he is on antidepressants).
I guess I am just worried about what "people" might think if they knew, including, for some bizarre reason, my therapist, who has seen me through many breakups.
Carolyn: First of all, the dwindling sex life is about the antidepressants. It's not you.
Second, it's your embarrassment, not your marital flaws, that will be your undoing. Everybody has stuff. Bad stuff, annoying stuff, embarrassing stuff, dispiriting stretches of stuff. Anyone who needs to believe you're a "super loved-up couple" is not your ally in life.
Please embrace the idea of having stuff. Admit to your shrink your need for others (therapist included!) to see you/your relationship as perfect. That is, I repeat, your biggest obstacle — and that's actually good news, because you can knock a significant portion of it down just by blurting out the words in the safety of a confidential session with someone you already know.