According to Ellyn Bader and Peter Pearson, “over time many partners create symbiotic binds for each other. These binds arise out of unresolved issues from each partner’s early development, beliefs about what makes a perfect relationship and experiences within the relationship. Couples lose sight of their strengths and talents, and they focus on each other’s flaws. They don’t have the ability to build upon their strengths, so they become regressed and pull the relationship down instead of building it up.”
Many of the couples who seek therapy have gotten stuck at a particular developmental stage. The work of couples therapy is to assist couples in identifying the stage at which they are stuck and to begin the arduous working of developmentally/psychologically “growing up”.
There are several particularly pernicious symbiotic binds that couples can find themselves in: