“So why are you here?” Twelve couples—many of us married, some living together or dating—are jammed into the living room of a house high up on a hill in northern California. It’s the first gathering of “A Path for Couples”—a workshop led by psychotherapist George Taylor that will meet monthly over the course of the next year. My heart pings anxiously in my chest as I listen to others answer the question posed by George, who goes by Geo.
“I need to learn to tolerate my partner’s negative emotions without freaking out,” offers a woman I judge to be in her mid-30s.
“I want to live in a state of connectedness, but we get stuck in endless power struggles,” says a man whose wife, sitting next to him, nods her head in agreement.
“There’s way too much conflict in our household,” a man in his 50s pipes up, “and it’s hell on the kids.”
I’m impressed by how open this collection of strangers is on Day One. Yet, listening to them I wonder if my husband, Hugh, and I have stumbled into the wrong group. Many of the other couples seem to be on a quest to manage conflict, while…