5 Signs You Probably Need Relationship Counseling
Relationships experience an intrinsic ebb and flow. Much like the Miami tide, challenges in a partnership flow in and out rhythmically.
A successful couple can manage challenges and conflicts while maintaining the connection to keep a healthy balance.
Even a successful couple can get off rhythm, though. If a relationship remains unbalanced for too long, it’s a warning sign that underlying issues may be putting it in jeopardy.
Unsure of what to do, couples too often leave issues unattended and unresolved. Unfortunately, the relationship could become badly damaged from lack of care.
The help of a relationship counselor is often invaluable in these cases, as an objective perspective can help identify and address indicators of trouble that might be difficult to recognize from inside the relationship.
Consider these 5 signs that you probably need a relationship counselor:
1. You Have the Same Recurring Fight
All couples argue. Conflict between people who have emotional ties to one another is inevitable. Conflict will arise when partners disagree about perceptions, ideas, values and needs no matter how trivial the issue may appear to others.
When issues go unresolved, or the differences that partners have with each other are not dealt with appropriately, then couples tend to have the same fight over and over again.
The same annoyance or feeling of being unappreciated or taken for granted continues to surface time and time again and the partners find themselves in an endless loop of having the same argument.
Relationship counseling can help couples to finally understand the causes of the conflicts between them while creating new ways to deal with and resolve those conflicts.
2. You’ve Become Really Great Roommates
It’s great when a couple gets really good at the business side of their relationship, taking care of the house, the finances and the kids. By sharing those responsibilities each spouse can feel that they are doing their part.
Ironically establishing a comfortable and efficient living routine can sometimes give rise to taking each other for granted. In some ways it is the very idea of predictability and reliance on each other for those fundamentals that may cause a couple to lose sight of the romantic side of their relationship.
The couple then feels like they are in a rut and that life together gets boring.
To get back on track romantically can be very difficult. It is hard to break bad habits formed over time.
Relationship Counseling can give you and your partner the guidance you need to reboot those romantic feelings you use to have for each other.
3. You No Longer Have Sex
Having a sexless relationship does not necessarily result from disliking your partner. As in the “roommate” example, inattention or boredom can also render a couple’s sex life flat.
All couples struggle with the drop in desire they may have had for each other sexually as their relationship ages. When there is a loss of connection or intimacy there is often a drop in sexual activity between partners.
The subject may be difficult to bring up between you. There may be fear of hurt feelings, the concern about appearing to blame the other or simply fear about how to approach a delicate issue.
Relationship counseling can address the issue of sex in a non-judgmental, safe and professional environment. The focus is on helping you and your spouse learn to connect again, thereby becoming the loving partners you want to be.
4. Your Relationship Endured Significant Obstacles or Transitions
Relationships can change drastically in response to life stress. Sometimes significant changes happen gradually. Other times, life circumstances and the associated decisions that accompany them abruptly changes the way a couple interacts and changes their course.
Recognizing how these changes affect you individually and as partners can be an enigma for any couple.
Perhaps you and your partner are navigating life after a baby, career changes, relocation, or assuming care-giving responsibilities for a parent. If you sense you and your partner aren’t on the same page, ignoring the disconnect will only make matters worse.
Often couples take these things for granted, expecting that they will be able to navigate them on their own. It is usually wise to realize that finding the right help is how we grow.
Relationship counseling helps you to understand the changes and the impact they may have on your relationship.
5. Your Communication is Ineffective
Perhaps the number one complaint most couples have about their relationship is poor communication.
Spouses will say that they don’t know how to communicate with each other or that they argue or that their partner doesn’t hear them (they really mean listen and understand them).
This term, communication has been used so often and in so many contexts that it has almost lost its meaning.
We typically think of communication in broad terms: conveying information through digital, broadcast or print media.
In more personal terms it is the ability to impart or exchange information, ideas, or feelings from one human being to another. The feelings aspect is obviously critical in a relationship.
To communicate with feeling and have your partner do so in kind is what most couples aspire to. This type of communication includes non-verbal as well as verbal expression.
In fact it has been found that about 70% or more of communication is non-verbal. We communicate on Meta and Macro levels, both subtly through body language and nuance of expression as well as overtly through words and tonality.
For instance a smile or a nod can indicate we approve, an eye roll can show disapproval or even convey ridicule.
We also use tone and inflection. The voice and the way it is used as well as the other non-verbal methods can convey more meaning than the actual words and have more profound effects.
Communicating effectively can be a complex matter. However you can learn to improve your skills and get better at it.
Relationship counseling can teach you and your partner better ways to communicate. People aren’t born with great communication skills, they have to learn them.
About the Author
Dr. Stan Hyman is a licensed psychotherapist and life coach in private practice in Miami, Florida. He works with couples struggling with powerful issues such as infidelity, careers and intimacy. He also specializes in treating addictions, anger, anxiety, stress, depression and work life balance.