8 Ways you know you need couples’ counseling…
If living with your partner feels more like you are familiar roommates rather than an intimate couple, there is little real intimacy. Some couples do choose this way of partnering, but if this has not been mutually decided and agreed upon, counseling is a good decision..
All couples go through periods where closeness is lacking – this is normal. Sometimes it happens for couples who are “empty nesters” for the first time or again. In addition, we all bring to our relationships the template of the relationship in which we were raised or the one we ended prior to this one. These patterns can persist or return, especially when a relationship is distressed.
For whatever reasons, if you have gone for large spans of time where one or both of you have “checked out” … talking about schedules and tasks, avoiding the “real” relationship issues of emotional and sexual intimacy, it is likely that you simply do not know how to change this.
2. When you are having an affair (or thinking about one)
It is not unusual to find yourself attracted to someone, physically, emotionally, or spiritually. Perhaps it’s only human to imagine at times what it might be like with that person. The danger for couples arises when these thoughts are not passing thoughts, or when one or both people in the relationship start to imagine acting on those fantasies.
If you are in a committed monogamous relationship, persistent thoughts of an affair with another person is a strong indication that there is trouble in the relationship that is not being discussed. Counseling may be needed, especially if one of you has already been unfaithful.
3. Negative communications
If most all of your conversations have an ugly, negative tone, if you are afraid to talk because you fear your partner will judge or insult you. You know things are really bawhen zero conversation is happening and it feels like the “silent treatment”.
Under this condition, a partner’s refusal to participate at all, individual counseling for yourself may help you understand how this dynamic damages your self-esteem and help you decide how you want to proceed. Separation is not necessary, but a change in response and ability to sustain personal boundaries, emotionally and practically, is needed. Often the changes made by the willing partner can actually improve the relationship overall.
4. Financial “infidelity”
If you or your mate has been hiding financial information; such as receipts, credit card statements, ATM withdraw slips and so forth, we can see this as financial “infidelity”. cheating is going on. Money problems are a major cause of divorce, mostly because they are not being discussed.
Couples counseling can help you to get at the root of this dishonesty . . . it is rarely about money and often about anger, control, or other strong emotion. As a couple you can create a steady “bridge of truth” about spending habits and resolving the root cause of this break in trust. Unresolved conflict over the use of joint money is a major cause of separation and divorce for couples since the underlying issues are ignored and the financial vulnerability continues.
5. When little or no sex is happening
Most couples go through periods where sexual energy drops. Even after many years, sexual connection in a quiet way helps to sustain intimacy. Very infrequent, avoided, robotic, dispassionate, obligatory sex indicates a loss of trust and — unless a period of celibacy has been overtly discussed and agreed upon by both partners.
What is important here is that choices about sexuality in a healthy, happy relationship is mutual, more than the actual activity of sex. However if sex has always been problematic from the start, some couples seek out a couples counselor who is a trained sex therapist..
6. When you argue about the same old stuff
Do the two of you have the same disagreements about the same issues – over and over again? Do these disagreements often derail plans because one or both of you have now gotten into a “bad mood” (and of course it is the other ones fault)?
Couples therapy can help you understand why these arguments continue to happen. What is it that truly needs to be discussed, shared, resolved.. chances are it is not about how one of you loads
the dishwasher or leaves socks on the floor! Laying an issue to rest, finally.
7. Avoiding certain topics
Are the topics that neither one of you bring up, because it always starts a fight? Have these topics begun to accumulate, thereby making it difficult to talk about anything substantive or real? Is someone getting their emotional needs met through talking about intimate things with someone outside of your marriage instead of each other?
Working with a couples counselor, you learn how to speak directly and how to openup dialogue about these issues in ways that give both of you room to speak (and hear) what is true for each of you. Learning how to do this well offers safety, curiosity, trust and makes it unnecessary to continue sabotaging the communication in the relationship.. this is a transformative change.
8. When there is a break in trust
Trust is earned. It doesn’t take much to breech trust in romantic relationships. A break in trust can happen for a number of reasons, and continue because now there is not enough trust to work through the break in trust with just the two of you.
A skilled couples therapist will guide you to ways to explore these trust issues and work with you to repair the damage. Honestly? This is a one of the most difficult issues a couple can face, but it can be resolves, provided both of you are committed to change and restoration.
BUT… “Does couples counseling really work?” This is a common question for many who are considering working with someone to help them through a challenging situation. change. Yes, most often it does. What it takes is an experienced therapist who has training in couples’ work, trained to see how the nature of a couple’s interaction suggests certain problems and offers different solutions than the ones you have tried at home. If nothing changes in the sessions, nothing changes!