One of the biggest frustrations couples face is trying to get their partner to change. I hear this difficulty over and over in the couples I treat. It sounds like this, “If he would only do…..,” “If she would just…..” It’s what many distressed couples say to me. What they really want is for their mate to be different.
I was sitting with my husband the other night. We were at a restaurant and I started thinking whether he considered us friends. We have been in each others lives for the last 17 years and yet I didn’t know what he thought.
“Are we friends?” I asked him. He turned his head toward me with a confused look on his face and then he asked me where this question came from. I told him that sometimes when I work with couples they tell me they love each other, but they are not very friendly with each other…
As a couples counselor I am never surprised to hear people express their love for their better half. In fact I have worked with couples who have had disasters between them and yet each will profess true love for the other despite horrific behaviors that would suggest the opposite.
Couple after couple will tell me how much they love the other person. And yet there are problems upon problems by the time they come in to the therapy office.
I used to bristle when I would hear the word hater. It felt so sharp, and yet so accurate. I have even used it once or twice to disparage a group in opposition to a particular position. But I didn’t really feel good using that word or lining up against any person or group when I did use it.
As a therapist, I am always trying to understand feelings. In my work with people who have difficulty I try and understand motivations and feelings that might give me insight to how the person might be experiencing events in their life. So when I think about “haters” I consider these elements to help me understand why people hate and why hating has become so commonplace.