Surefire Signs That You Need Couples Therapy (aka Marriage Counseling / Relationships Counseling
Are you having difficulty connecting, communicating or feeling intimate with your spouse or partner?
Do you feel that your marriage or relationship has hit a snag?
Does it feel sometimes that you’re living separate lives with your partner?
Have you been bickering and arguing over the same issues over and over again?
Do you tend to avoid talking about certain hot topics or shy away from each other out of fear of rejection or conflict?
Do you desire to express your innermost feelings and emotions without being judged, derided or dismissed?
Are you struggling to get past your partner’s infidelity?
While the best of us dread the thought of having to seek couples counseling, it can be stressful, lonely, and painful to go through the motions of your marriage or relationship on your own. I’m sure you are wondering: should I consider seeking marriage counseling near me? Is couples therapy the best way forward for my marriage or relationship?
You are not alone. Most of us were never taught how to engage in a loving, healthy relationship characterized by collaborative and supportive communication. Even worse, some of us never learned how to express our needs, feelings, and wants non-defensively and openly. Maybe you never learned how to compromise or negotiate to resolve interpersonal conflicts.
But, if your marriage or relationship has been rocky recently, you might want to seek outside help. You see, meaningful change for your relationship can only begin when you accept that you need help. Which begs the question: what are the signs that your relationship can stand to benefit from couples counseling?
In this explainer article, I am going to take a look at 12 most commons signs that show that your marriage is stuck in a rut, and couples counseling might be the best way forward. I’ll also cover a few pointers, tricks, and expert tips on couples counseling.
Sign #1: When Your Marriage/Relationship has Been Severely Damaged by Infidelity
Discovering that your partner has been cheating behind your back can be quite shocking, if not downright overwhelming. The anger and shock that come with discovering infidelity can transform into a strong sense of rejection and betrayal. No matter how you look at it, infidelity can rock every aspect of your marriage or relationship, from communication to intimacy to children and everything in-between.
If you feel that infidelity has severely affected your relationship, it might be a crucial time you seek couples counseling. A professional marriage counselor will help you work through the feelings of guilt, anger, hurt as well as encourage the expression of support and empathy. A great couples counseling helps both of you identify what factors might have led to infidelity.
Couples therapy will also help you recognize how infidelity can be forgiven, and how it can be prevented from occurring in the future. Throughout the sessions, I will help you learn how to express feelings of anger, communicate better, and empathize with each other. Moreover, I will help you cultivate understanding and empathy so you can regain security and trust in the marriage.
Sign #2: When your Relationship/Marriage has been plagued by Resentment and Grudges
If you or your partner find yourself holding onto resentments and grudges in your relationship, it might be a sign of instability and unhappiness in the marriage. The strength of your relationship relies on your ability to forgive and not bring up past issues over and over again. If you or your partner has formed a habit of dredging up past behavior, you might want to seek couples therapy.
The truth of the matter is that most couples usually hold grudges or resentments subconsciously as a way to ward off a more serious issue in the relationship. What went so wrong that you started resenting your partner? Couples therapy will help you zero in on this vital flaw that’s threatening your marriage. In other words, it helps you identify and understand deeper issues you are sidestepping by being resentful and begrudging. It is only this way that you will begin the healing process, and rekindle love and passion in your relationship.
Sign #3: When There’s Endless Bickering in the Relationship
It is no big secret that you won’t agree on everything, even if your relationship is rock solid. But, if you bicker hours on end when you are together or on the phone, then there must be a deeper, underlying problem in your relationship.
When is bickering too much?
If disagreements and conflicts in your relationship are rarely discussed or resolved in a constructive manner, the feelings of warmth, passion, and positivity will begin to dissipate in your marriage. That’s a big no-no if you want to grow as a couple. What’s more -- if you or your spouse feel patronized or roundly disrespected every time you argue, then you need couples therapy to help you learn healthier ways of communicating.
If you are sailing against the winds of endless bickering, I will help you cultivate the ability to compromise and negotiate, and learn and practice to stay away from trivial and petty arguments. Beyond that, you will learn how to disagree constructively and maintain a warm and understanding tone in your arguments.
Sign #4: When Conflicts and Arguments Over Money are Affecting your Relationship
Let’s face it; money issues and finances have brought many relationships and marriages to their knees. If anything, money problems can add to your marriage woes. You see, if one of you is way too financially irresponsible or one partner has too much power over the spending and budgeting, insecurity and tension can build up in the relationship.
The good news is that some couples therapists have long-standing experience and a wealth of knowledge when it comes to family finances. Couples therapy has been known to help couples identify what might be the cause of family money issues. This way, you can understand and work through issues relating to money and finances. Even better, a good marriage counselor will refer you to someone who can help you stay on top of your finances. Oftentimes that means recommending an affordable CPA or financial advisor who can find ways to improve your financial health.
Sign #5: When Your Kids Become the Center of your Conflicts
Are you worried that you and your partner are fighting constantly over issues surrounding your kids? Turns out, most unhappy marriages end up in a situation whereby kids become the epicenter of arguments and conflicts. That’s right; it is not uncommon for unhappy couples to differ constantly on key child upbringing practices like methods of discipline, which can lead to further disputes and tension build-up in the relationship.
Do you find yourself subconsciously recruiting the kids as allies in your ongoing fights with your partner? Being coerced to be part of a marital conflict in such a way can have adverse effects on the mental and emotional well-being of the child. More importantly, children can learn from forming such alliances that they can divide and conquer the parents whenever they want something. This, in turn, will make relationship problems even worse.
So, when the children become the focal point of most of your conflicts, it might a great time to think about marriage counseling. The last thing you want is for your kids to get caught up in the motions of your relationship. A good couples therapist will help you find ways to iron out your relationship / marital problems without involving the young ones. If possible, the children can come to some of the sessions so they can be equipped with right knowledge and necessary coping skills. This way, the kids can become part of the solution rather being the motivation for most of your marital fights.
Sign #6: When You Have Developed a Habit of Sweeping Issues Under the Rug and Pretending that Everything is OK
Are you the couple that pretends that everything is fine, but sweeps issues, conflicts, and whatnot under the rug? Do you and your partner feel that you are better off staying silent than airing what’s disturbing you in the relationship? It doesn’t matter how much effort you put into pretending that everything is OK, the elephant in the room will trample on your relationship big time at some point.
It is not uncommon for couples to be frightened by the thought of argument or conflict, so much so that some of them avoid debate or discussion of hot-button topics altogether. While sweeping touchy issues under the rug can help bring some short sigh of relief to the relationship, you and your partner will end being very frustrated. And, once the rage comes out, it can do insurmountable damage to the relationship. That is why when that happens you need to consult a marriage counselor. Through couples therapy, you can determine and remedy denial, enabling, evasive and any conflict avoidant habits you may be using to sweep issues under the rug.
Sign #7: Do You Find it Hard to Tolerate Your Each Other’s Idiosyncrasies and Personalities?
It is no big secret that no two persons are the same. The way you and your partner were brought up might be quite different, but most couples see through these differences to make the relationship work. However, if you are repulsed by the personality and things you once loved about your partner, you may want to find a good couples therapist. You see, when you view certain things your partner do as irreconcilable difference, your relationship is in big trouble.
It is often small differences that make a relationship unique and exciting. But, if you and your partner view each other’s personality as a source of incompatibility, you might become frustrated and harbor resentment. Couples counseling can help you appreciate and understand that your differences in perspective and style can be a good thing. It can help you complement each other and actually spice up the relationship. When you realize this, you can have a positive outlook on your relationship.
Sign #8: When You or Your Partner Has started Abusing Alcohol or Drugs
Substance abuse is one of the leading causes of divorce, separation, and breakdown of American families. The truth is that the vast majority of people who abuse alcohol or drugs have problems in their marriages. The real reason that you have started binge drinking might actually be a marital issue.
Whether substance abuse is causing marital strife or not, it is best for the couple to see a therapist. This way, you can comb through what might be the root of the problem so that you can work together towards recovery. If you are trying to quit drinking, for instance, couples counseling can help you figure out ways your partner can be instrumental. The last thing you want is another stumbling block in your journey to recovery.
#9: When You’re About to Make a Big Decision
If you thought things have to be bad for you to see a couples therapist, then you are mistaken. It can also be quite helpful to seek couples therapy and guidance when you or your partner is about to make a huge decision or hit a huge milestone in life. For example, you may want to seek couples counseling before moving in together or making a decision to have kids, get engaged or get married. While it might seem unnecessary at first, couples therapy will help you know what to expect, and prepare accordingly for what’s to come. Above all, a therapist can help you work towards achieving shared goals as a couple.
#10. When You’re Not on the Same Page Sexually
We all know that good sex is paramount for a healthy, loving marriage. But, it so happens that sex is one of the biggest reasons why most couples argue, alongside money, child-rearing issues, and insecurity. Perhaps you fight constantly because you and your partner have mismatched libidos, or you simply love different things in bed.
Sometimes you might feel that the chemistry in your relationship has gone or you want to explore a new thing that your partner doesn’t. The whole to and fro of mismatched sexual expectations can cause tension and frustration in the relationship. The good news is that a good couples therapist can help iron out your sexual issues and find ways you can rekindle your bedroom life.
Sign #11: When You Keep Secrets from Each Other
Sure, you are entitled to your privacy, but when you and your partner start keeping important secrets from each other, something must have gone wrong in the relationship. Perhaps you are embarrassed by your secrets or you are afraid of rejection. Either way, too much secrecy in a relationship can spell doom to your marriage. Luckily, couples counseling can come in handy.
Sign #12: When you start withholding affection or intimacy as a punishment
Let’s be honest; there are myriads of things that can get you riled up in a relationship. But being too angry over trivial and petty reasons can be a huge red flag for your relationship. I know of some couples who took it too far as to withhold affection and intimacy in the name of punishing each other. When you start using sex or affection starvation as a weapon against your partner or giving them the silent treatment, that is when you should knocking on the door of a good couples counselor.
Couples therapy can help you figure out ways to express your dissatisfaction without hurting each other. After all, there are better alternatives to giving your partner the so-called silent treatment.
There you are --12 most common signs that a couple needs couples / marriage counseling. If you’re pro-therapy and your spouse or partner is not on-board, you might want to have a sit-down and go through the pros and cons of getting professional help.
The thing is that most couples who don’t want to seek couples therapy are more afraid of the idea of what it implies to “need” counseling. But, the truth of the matter is that couples therapy is not just for when things have gone south. Even so, a couples therapist can help you iron things out and make your relationship stronger and more resilient.
Is it high-time you admit you need couples counseling? Once you have both agreed to seek professional help, you need to make a bit of due diligence to land the best couples counselor for your relationship needs.
Sasha Raskin, a therapist in Boulder, provides individual ,family, and couples therapy / counseling in Boulder, Colorado, and worldwide via video and phone calls, drawing from over ten years of clinical experience. Schedule your free 20-minute phone consultation with Sasha Raskin
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