Are We In Trouble?
Have you and your partner been fighting more than usual lately? Or does the communication seem off? You might not even be able to pinpoint a specific change in your relationship, but your gut nags that something’s not right. If you do need help, sooner is better than later. Here are some red flags that you two could use couples counseling.
Signs Your Relationship Needs Help
#1. Communication feels forced
Couples who are on the same wavelength find communicating with each other natural and easy. You may have initially felt this way with your significant other, but then it seemed like you two were speaking different languages.
If you have lots of misunderstandings or if you don’t feel you can really express what you’re thinking, it would be a good idea to see a counselor. A therapist can help clarify and guide you to expressing your feelings and understanding your partner better.
#2. One contentious issue keeps popping up
This issue could be a past flame, an old betrayal or any unresolved topic that becomes fodder for every argument you have, regardless of whether it’s relevant. If you’re hearing the same old themes over and over, these issues have not been resolved.
Even if the husband and wife have agreed to a solution to the issue, if one of you brings it up during emotional moments, then it hasn’t really been addressed. It’s important to see someone who can help you uncover and truly settle the problem. Otherwise, it’ll work like a tiny termite eating away the supports of your relationship.
#3. There’s no more sex, or very little
Dry spells are common for couples, particularly those under stress, and aging changes both men’s and women’s sex drives in frustrating ways. But intimacy strengthens the bond between two people. When you let that part of the relationship fall away, your partnership no longer meets important needs for you both.
Difficulty in bed can be some of the hardest trouble to address because of the taboos of talking about sex and concerns that your partner may think you don’t find them attractive. For men, especially, talking about bedroom problems can feel like an assault on their manhood. Couples counselors can help you work through these sexual compatibility issues. They can guide you in discovering what’s really going on and providing strategies for how to get back together under the sheets.
#4. Life demands your attention all the time
As couples raise families, grow careers and care for aging parents, the immediate needs of everyone else can take precedence over the needs of the relationship. You may be faced with the choice of helping your son with his math homework or spending some alone-time with your spouse. You may reason that you will always have time to spend with your spouse, but the homework is due tomorrow and so it’s more important.
However, taking your partner for granted can easily lead to losing them altogether. Couples counselors can help you both see how the distractions of life have been impacting your relationship. They can show you how you’ve been neglecting your own needs as well as your partner’s, and how you can set your priorities differently.
#5. You take very different approaches to money
Disagreements over finances cause many couples to split. You may feel that your partner spends money too freely. You may see unnecessary purchases as a sign of disregard for your basic well-being. While your partner may feel that your constant reminder to save or buy the cheaper item flushes all the fun out of life.
Even if you two agree on what to buy and how much to spend, the underlying emotions will still bubble up. Two people who take opposite approaches to handling money will need to understand and sympathize with each other in order to compromise on money issues without residual bitterness. Couples counseling can help develop that sympathy and create spending plans that both partners are OK with.
#6. You often daydream of being single again
Everyone remembers fondly the days of independence, before an endless line of family, work and home requirements trampled that independence to death. Families and careers give you purpose and fulfillment. But if you’re constantly dreaming of freedom, something more serious may be wrong.
Daydreams can show your needs and desires that aren’t being met. If you still love your partner and want to feel more committed again, you may just have some unmet needs. You may not have enough time for yourself or enough time alone with your partner.
There may be hobbies you gave up that you’re longing for again. A couples counselor can help you uncover these unmet desires, express them safely to your partner and find a way to meet those needs without destroying your relationship.
#7. Somebody cheated
If you and/or your partner has cheated, even if it happened a long time ago, it’s worth seeing a couples counselor. Cheating almost always indicates a problem with the relationship. It’s rarely one-sided.
Even if you are just thinking about cheating or looking for an affair, this is a sign that you need to address a problem before you act on your emotions. Couples counseling is important when working through a betrayal.
Even if you and your partner eventually decide to split, the counseling can help you do so with maturity and consideration, making the whole process so much easier on you both.
#8. You fly off the handle for no reason
You might find yourself throwing fits of jealousy or getting unreasonably angry at small transgressions. Maybe you melt into tears at the slightest comment. Or maybe you see this behavior in your partner. Either of you may be going through some depression or mental challenges.
Or there may be unresolved problems in the relationship that you’re not consciously aware of. Any psychological trial that one partner goes through will be a good reason for both to see a therapist. It’s important that both partners understand what’s going on and how to deal with it as a couple, even if one partner sees a therapist on their own as well.
Even healthy couples sometimes see a counselor just for a status check. As life develops, people change. Priorities and needs shift, and a couple who wants to go the distance will need to adjust and re-adjust. A counselor can help two people navigate the relationship pitfalls before they become true hazards.