The secret to saving your relationship: eight lessons from a couples therapist

Over three decades, Susanna Abse has worked with every kind of couple. She shares what she’s learned on how to stay the distance – and why fighting is good

Susanna Abse is the marriage counsellor’s marriage counsellor – 30 years in practice giving her peerless insights into the challenges couples face without making any dent in her curiosity and originality. This serene, witty 65-year-old is exacting but non-judgmental; I imagine you’d feel able to say absolutely anything in front of her, unless it was bullshit. You would trust her with your marriage, but you’d want to take your A-game.

Abse can’t begin to estimate how many couples she’s seen since her first in 1986, but puts it at tens of thousands of hours. She has worked with every kind of couple, from the ones who “bang their heads together and shout and stand up and walk out” (she calls these “doll’s house” couples in her book – people who break things without any sense of consequence), to the ones who think there’s never been anything wrong, and can’t understand why they’ve suddenly got issues.

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