When you are dealing with a rough patch in your relationship, seeking help through a couple’s therapist has become increasingly common. Not only are more people than ever seeking help with their relationships, more are open to speaking about it, normalizing the experience by removing the stigma.
However, regardless of how “common” counseling has become, many people are still hesitant to seek outside help, even in cases when it is clearly warranted. There are several signs within your relationship that tell you it is time to look into outside help as a means to reconnect and move forward. [Related: 3 Changes You Can Make Today To Improve Your Troubled Marriage]
- When You No Longer Speak to One Another
This is both a literal and figurative sign. Obviously, no communication AT ALL is a really bad sign. However speaking to one another about only the bare minimum – necessities such as who fed the dog, for example – is just as damaging. A solid relationship is build upon communication. Whenever that breaks down, it is time to seek help.
- When You Are Scared of the Consequences if You Do Talk
One of the jobs of a good couple’s counselor is to help partners explore new avenues of communication in a safe space. It is when the very thought of bringing up the subject of your relationship or even aspects of your life together, including sex and money, insights fear of rejection, heartache, or retaliation that you need to talk the most.
- When All the Talking You Do Is Negative
This sort of piggybacks with the last point. However, if talking with your partner about delicate subjects always leads to a fight or hard feelings, then you need to find new ways to open up and have an honest, productive conversation. This is, again, one of the primary roles of a couple’s therapist. [Related: How to Find a Good Couple’s Counselor]
- When Your Partner Is the Enemy
Part of what leads to the feelings of fear and negativity of conversation is an antagonistic relationship between partners. When you are angry and hurt and not communicating the “me vs. you” mentality makes getting on track hard. Remember, you are a team, which means working together to solve issues and not seeing the other as a barrier to success. A therapist can help you regain that team relationship. [Related: Can You Convince Your Spouse to Go to Couples Counseling]
- When Keeping Secrets Becomes the Norm
We all have secrets, even from our partners. Oftentimes these secrets are minor or have to do with our past – water under the bridge and all that. However, withholding relevant information about your life, especially information related to your life together, such as spending habits and fidelity, is seriously damaging. A healthy relationship is one in which you both feel completely comfortable telling each other EVERYTHING, even if you don’t actually do that.
- When Changing Your Partner Is the Key to Your Happiness
Most of us are aware when we are depressed or our life is off balance. The key to righting that wrong is ALWAYS in changing yourself. Why? Because you are the only one who you have the power to change in the first place. Waiting for someone else to change is a great way to ensure that you continue to wait. A good therapist can help you to understand who YOU are and what it is YOU really want, which is the crux of the problem. [Related: Why Solving Your Spouse’s Problems Doesn’t Help]
- When There Are Unexplained and Abrupt Changes in Your Sex Life
Life happens, and as we age and are together with our partners for longer and longer periods of time, sex changes with that. However, these changes should be gradual. Any time sex abruptly changes, either increasing or decreasing significantly, without a clear causation, this is a sign that you need to work things out. And remember, more sex is not always better. Sometimes offering sex more often is a way for one partner to cover up something else through distraction.
- When You Live Separate Lives
There is a big difference between a spouse or a partner and a roommate. Though you understandably have different obligations and responsibilities each day, it means that there is a lack of connectedness between you two, regardless of how different your daily comings and goings may be. It is the intimacy, the shared stories and stolen times together that make a relationship strong. If you find that you are just going through the motions in parallel, it is time to take stock of why and ask a counselor to help you open up the lines of communication in order to do so. [Related: Understanding When Divorce is Really the Best Option]