Blog of Life – Are you in the right relationship?

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that women are more likely than men to admit they need help and to seek mental health services 

Image  “@efranciswork” Unsplash

In this Blog of Life series on Relationships, I start with the assumption readers are Females looking for a Man, or vice versa. I will be looking at ways you can assess a man as suitable, and conversely self-assessment – are you suitable for the ‘ideal guy’? then we look at what stage you are at – a) interested in getting to know someone better, b) how you deal with ‘red flags? c) asking am I in the right relationship, d) how do I get out of here? and e) alone again, on the rebound.

Is it true that women seek help more often than men?

“First, women are encouraged whereas men are discouraged when it comes to opening up about one’s feelings. John Crossman, CEO of Crossman & Company, explains: “One of the core lessons of counseling is dealing with feelings. As a culture, we tend to affirm women in sharing their feelings and shame men who share feelings. For many men, when they first go to counseling, it is almost like learning a new language. Oftentimes, they don’t express what they feel because they don’t know what they are feeling.” Therapist Karly Hoffman  continues, explaining the ill consequences of society’s expectations: “Generally speaking, we have socialized men to be uncomfortable with displays of emotion and also with asking for help. Traditional masculinity is unemotional and avoids displays of ‘weakness’ or vulnerability at all costs. Culturally speaking, we are more comfortable with women seeking help for emotional concerns than we are men. Men are expected to tough it out, while women are encouraged to connect and seek help.”

The main reason women seek counselling, according to Emma Shearer , MA, LAPC from, is Depression and Anxiety. Not far behind as the second most popular is Adjustment therapy, including getting married on the one hand, or getting over a breakup on the other. And the third top reason is  Difficulty in Relationships.


“Have you ever stepped back to think about how the deepest emotional wounds are almost always relational? They are. As I once heard, “we are hurt in relationship and we heal in relationship.” To combat these inevitable wounds, we create both conscious and unconscious defense mechanisms  against true intimacy. But when we face these relational wounds, whether in individual therapy or couples/family counseling, it creates the space necessary to break through these defenses.”

A question that comes up with many female clients is they seriously want to know Am I in the right relationship? Only they can answer that, and my job is to work with them to examine how they got there, is there a pattern, and then decide what to do next. It’s never a comfortable choice.

But then comfortable counselling rarely achieved anything worthwhile

“Talking about painful material in therapy is beneficial because this brings the material into the present where it can be looked at and understood.  This is the time to feel uncomfortable so that your therapist can perform the psychological surgery that needs to happen for you to feel better later.  Draining an infection is never pleasant, but it is necessary.  Once the painful memories are out in the open, they begin to lose their power.  You feel less burdened by them as your therapist will help you carry their weight.  Verbalizing the emotions and sensations you feel as you remember helps your brain to better process the information, helping you to feel differently or change your perspective.”

Please take care, believe in yourself and contact us if you are looking for affordable counselling either online, or inperson at Stokes Croft in Bristol.

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Mike Lloyd MBACP UK Registered counsellor


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