Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist


Brian Carlson


Brian Carlson

Relationship/Couples Counseling

One of my clients said to me, “all of my relationships end badly” and I replied, “They do until they don’t.” This was a moment of clarity for my client and for me. Her assessment was accurate enough. From her perspective, her relationships were ending badly… because they were ending. The heart of the matter is … our relationships stay with us through life. Relationships shape and inform the choices that guide our experiences.

Imagine an open field of wheat-like grass that hits just below your knee. There is nothing else in this open field but the waves of grass against a clear blue sky. You look back and see a meandering footpath of bowed grass. Then you look forward and something catches the corner of your eye. It’s someone else. You realize you are not alone. You alter your path and soon the two of you are walking side by side and your path has become one, twice as wide. You slow and speed to accommodate your companion. This can go on for a lifetime … if you choose it.

I believe that there is no such thing as a failed relationship. Though it may take years and even decades to realize the value of your relationships, the fact of the matter is, each one of your relationships has informed you in some way. If you are aware of how you have been informed, THEN there is success. 

Our goal in therapy is to raise your consciousness within your relationships, recognize your genuine self and honor the genuineness of your partner. Ultimately you will find yourself to be present in your relationships rather than participating unconsciously in an anxious and needy way. 

Ask yourself these questions…


  • Are you repeating choices in your current relationship that didn’t work in past relationships?


  • In what ways do you avoid and/or seek confrontation with your partner?


  • In what ways do you emotionally depend upon your partner?


  • Has your relationship been diluted to a question of power? 


  • Has the respect fallen from your relationship?


  • How do you measure the success of this relationship? Is it measured by how well the other person meets your needs or how good you feel in your ability to take care of them? 


  • Does your happiness and comfort equal the happiness and comfort of your partner and are you taking on the responsibility of maintaining “happiness” in your relationship more than your partner?


  • Do you measure the success of your relationship by comparison and/or approval of others and their relationships?


  • Do you believe your relationship is successful because you “made it through the tough times and stuck it out?”


  • Do you believe that if your relationship has “failed” then you are a failure? 


What I hope for you is that you engage with your relationships in a new and conscious way. You will come to see that your past relationships have not ended badly or otherwise, but that they have informed and shaped you. Whether aware of it or not, all of those that you have encountered in your life have nudged the trajectory of your life. The sooner you become aware of this, the sooner you will be able to appreciate your past rather than regret it, forgive yourself and others for not being able to meet the needs of the moment and now make well-informed choices that will yield greater success in every aspect of your life. 


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