For many people, it’s hard to maintain a long-term romantic relationship. Many factors in life can pull a couple apart. In the United States, between 40% and 50% of marriages result in divorce. Counseling can help couples solve the problems that prompted them to consider divorce or help them make a decision to end the relationship. If your relationship is not going well, you might want to think about getting help. Here are 10 signs you need relationship counseling.
1. You Have Problems Communicating
One of the biggest signs you need relationship counseling is communication problems. All human relationships are based on communication. Counseling helps couples learn to speak to each other in a way that offers support and understanding instead of leading to arguments and bitterness. The way our parents interacted with us and with each other has a strong influence on our adult communication styles in relationships. Counseling teaches couples about positive communication and lets them know they can choose to create a different dynamic than the ones they saw in childhood.
2. You Have Issues Trusting Your Partner
Trust issues are another common sign you need relationship counseling. People frequently begin relationship counseling because trust has been broken in some way. Sexual or emotional affairs, hiding financial assets or financial problems like overspending, or breaking a promise to work on an addiction issue can lead one partner to feel they no longer believe the other partner is telling them the truth. In relationship counseling, the goal is to get both partners to express their feelings and then begin to repair trust.
3. You Have Problems With Your Extended Families
When the very idea of spending time with your in-laws fills you with anxiety, holidays become extremely stressful. Maybe your partner always supports their point of view instead of yours when you argue with their family or ignores their parents’ hurtful criticism of you. Having problems with your extended family can be another sign you need relationship counseling. A relationship counselor can provide a safe space for both of you to share your feelings about each other’s families and teach you how to truly listen to the pain this situation is causing both of you.
4. Your Approaches to Parenting Don’t Match
If you’re a strict disciplinarian and your partner is passive and hands-off when it comes to the kids, you’re bound to fight about it — probably more than about any other problem in your relationship. It’s not a good situation for the two of you and it’s definitely not healthy for the children. A counselor will help you talk through the reasons behind your different parenting styles and explain how to present a united front to your kids. And if you and your partner don’t see eye-to-eye on having children at all or how you want to raise them, it’s important to a counselor before kids even enter the picture.
5. You’re Growing Apart After a Painful Loss
Couples who lose a child often break up, unable to deal together with their grief. Losing a job or handling a relative’s crisis can also push couples apart when they need each other most. Even a move across the country for a new employment opportunity can create enough stress to jeopardize a relationship. About 44% of people seeking to buy a home search online for properties — and such searches can easily lead to arguments.If you and your spouse are growing apart after a painful loss, it could be a sign you need relationship counseling. Counseling provides a supportive atmosphere in which you can work on renewing your bond.
6. You Have Sexual Issues
An unhappy sex life with your spouse is another sign you need relationship counseling. Diminished sexual intimacy may be a source of conflict between partners or it may be a sign that something else is wrong (or both). In any case, sex is often something couples argue about daily. The change in frequency may be abrupt or it may unfold over time. Sometimes, one partner is continually rejecting the other; at other times, sex is no longer appealing to either partner. A relationship counselor can help you get to whatever the underlying issues might be.
7. You Argue Frequently About Finances
Money is one of the issues couples fight about most often. If one partner spends lavishly on impulse purchases while the other hesitates to replace a 10-year-old coat with holes, arguments involving spending are inevitable. A sudden downturn in income or an unexpected large expense can also lead to conflict. If you argue frequently about money, you might need to take it as a sign you need to consider relationship counseling. A relationship counselor can help you explore the reasons behind your respective attitudes toward money and find a solution to current financial difficulties.
8. You’re Dealing With a Serious Illness or Injury
Few things are more stressful than a scary medical diagnosis or a life-threatening injury. In 2015, more than 20,000 slip and fall injuries at worksites were reported to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) just in the state of California. If you or your partner are badly injured or learns of a chronic health condition, you may feel the need to start relationship counseling so that you can learn how to weather the storm.
9. You’re Fighting More Frequently
You might just bicker about minor issues or you might be having huge fights with a lot of yelling and door slamming. In either case, what matters is the frequency and severity of these arguments. You might be able to trace it to one partner’s stress and expect that the arguing will stop when the stress is reduced. But it could be a sign that you’re heading into a constant state of conflict. It’s also possible that you might be trying to rationalize behavior that has become abusive or unhealthy. A counselor can help you identify the underlying issues and talk them through.
10. You Know There’s a Problem, But You Don’t Know What It Is
If you feel there’s a problem in your relationship, yet you can’t seem to put your finger on it, that’s usually a sign you need relationship counseling. Maybe you feel that there has been some sort of shift in the dynamic of your relationship, but you’re unable to describe it. Maybe you feel ill-at-ease in your partner’s company. You might resent them for reasons you can’t identify. These may be signs that the relationship is not functioning as it should. A counselor can provide a place where you can admit to these feelings without blaming your partner and help you get to the root of the problem by working together.
If you are seeing any of the above signs you need relationship counseling, sit down with your spouse and discuss seeing a marriage counselor. While the idea of going to a stranger to get help may not be appealing, you’ll become more comfortable after the first few sessions. Through counseling, many couples manage to solve problems that once seemed like impossible difficulties. Others learn that it’s time to let go of the relationship and move on. In either case, it’s a fresh start for both partners and the only way to move forward.