Many couples believe that couples therapy is something to be ashamed of, when in reality, it may be a game-changer in your relationship. If just one of you recognizes signs you need couples therapy, it can lead to action and prevent potential damage to the relationship.
Sometimes, one can't deal with stressful and challenging situations alone. Experiencing problems with your significant other, your loved one, is one of the most stressful situations in a person's life.
Thankfully, counseling is proven to help overcome problems, rebuild a healthy relationship, and heal your wounds. This article will review signs that you need couples counseling and what to expect from it.
6 indications couples counseling can help your relationship
1) Lack of intimacy
This sign is one of the most concerning ones. If you and your partner no longer kiss, cuddle, have sex, or even express your thoughts and feelings, it may be time to seek counseling.
A partner is supposed to be your lifelong companion, someone who provides emotional support and security. Finding yourself detached from them is a big red flag to look out for.
Sometimes, it can be solved through conversation and effort. But more often than not, when a relationship is at that point, you need professional help and guidance to rebuild trust and intimacy.
Life changing events like cancer can lead to a lack of intimacy. Click on the link to see what me and 39 other therapists said about "How to stay confident while battling cancer and hair loss"
2) Everything becomes an argument
They didn't wash the dishes, and you didn't make the bed. One of you came home too late or forgot to bring food on their way over. Anything can lead to an argument, even in the smallest situations.
Not only is this unsustainable in the long term, but it wears you off and alters your personality. Where is the sweet and loving person you once were? Why is everything so stressful and causes anxiety all of a sudden?
The good news is that it's not you. The bad news, though, is that you probably need to head to couples counseling.
3) Loads of resentment
Love forgives. If you find yourself unable to forgive or forget something your loved one did in the past, the chances are that your relationship is damaged and needs professional help.
It's okay and normal to feel hurt occasionally. But a healthy relationship deals with these situations by expressing emotions, avoiding hurtful patterns, compromising, and moving on. If you’re stuck and can't move on, it's a sign that you need help.
It's also worth noting that not everything is forgivable. If you have been cheated on or treated poorly, you have the right to say "no" to a second chance. Read our article How to Fall Out of Love After Infidelity for tips on how to make things easier when saying goodbye.
4) The negative experiences outweigh the positive ones
This one is tricky because it involves something known in psychology as intermittent reinforcement. It means you get a reward (in this case, feeling good and in love with your partner) at irregular intervals. You never know when you will get that dopamine or serotonin rush.
That situation can get you addicted to a turbulent relationship, even when the negative experiences are more frequent than peace and love. Watch out for this sign if you are wondering whether to initiate couples therapy.
5) You fixate on a problem
Maybe your partner didn't remember your anniversary, or perhaps they canceled a plan on you to hang out with their friends. These situations lead to resentment and hyper fixation.
It's not that forgetting your anniversary was such a big deal, but that you can't stop thinking about it because your relationship is damaged. If you find yourself fixating on small details and arguments, it's worth having a long and meaningful conversation with your partner.
Related reading: 13 Signs You Can't Trust Your Partner
6) You pretend nothing is wrong
On the other hand, some damaged couples pretend everything is fine. It's easier to avoid a problem than to deal with it, but that leads nowhere in the long term.
Closing your eyes doesn't mean the issue magically disappears. It just means you are choosing not to see it.
Denial is a psychological coping mechanism that people use to protect themselves. Think of the grieving process when someone passes away. Many people will first deny the fact before accepting it and letting go. Denial gives us a sense of control, but in reality, we are only creating an unreal alternative and harming ourselves.
Couples therapy vs. individual therapy
Some people are not willing to see a therapist, no matter what, and the other partner is left alone in the search for therapy. If that is your case, you can opt for individual treatment.
However, you can't expect the same results. It's one thing to heal as an individual and another to do it as a couple. Furthermore, the mental health professional will only hear your side of the story, which can be biased or incomplete. Additionally, it’s also a problem that you will be the only one making an effort.
If your partner is unwilling to join you in the journey to regain trust and build a loving, healthy relationship, it may be time to let go and grow as a person yourself.
What to expect from a couples therapist
Therapists will use a wide range of psychological techniques to help you deal with your situation. Depending on the education they have received, they might employ behavioral, emotional, or cognitive techniques.
Emotionally Focused Therapy is an example of a widely used treatment. As its name suggests, it focuses on creating positive experiences and emotional responses to everyday situations.
But there are many ways to work with a couple, and each professional will find out what's best. The most important thing is that they are qualified and have certifications - Otherwise, they might cause more harm than good.
What you will learn in couples therapy
Broadly speaking, though it depends on each relationship, here are the main results you can expect from couples therapy:
Learning to identify your emotional responses and behaviors and how to control them
Learning how to actively listen and be empathetic toward the other partner
Learning how to negotiate and have meaningful conversations
Understanding each person has a different love language and attachment style and learning how it affects relationships
Knowing when to back off and let things get back to normal
Making a commitment to your partner and yourself to become better persons and love each other through hard times
If you are tired of being stuck in a broken relationship, it's time to schedule an appointment with a therapist to talk things through and rebuild your romantic life.