University Counselling Services

Relating to others

Some people have problems forming the relationships they want to with friends and partners. Some have problems maintaining them or get into relationships that do not work or are abusive.

The ending of any relationship can be painful, and it is normal to experience a grieving process in relation to this kind of loss. Sometimes the support of friends and the passage of time is all that is needed to start to recover and move on, but sometimes people can get 'stuck' with feelings that they seem unable to resolve.

Sometimes people notice that a pattern starts to emerge and that the same problems keep cropping up in a series of relationships. If these patterns cause distress, it can be helpful to look at what might be generating them and keeping them going. For example, someone with low levels of self-esteem might feel an internal pressure to tolerate abusive behaviour in a partner because they don't believe they deserve better. Alternatively, a fear of getting too close to someone can stop relationships developing or mean that they stay relatively superficial and unfulfilling.

Sexual intimacy can be a source of worry and self-doubt, and people may experience a pressure to be sexual that makes them uncomfortable, or leads to them having sexual experiences that trouble them.

Traumatic experiences in past relationships and family relationships can also interfere with present relationships.

At PCS we offer counselling to couples in difficulty.  Only one partner has to be a student of the university.

In all these cases, it may be that there are underlying issues that would benefit from exploration and understanding and that talking things over with a counsellor might help. Contact Reception: counsellingreception@sussex.ac.uk and refer to University Resources.