If you’re reading this, you’ve probably been in a relationship for a while. And if you’re a long-term couple, then chances are that at some point in time, one or both of you have thought about seeking professional help to help with your relationship issues.
According to Forbes, a recent survey from MidAmerica Nazarene University stated that an average of 49% of married couples seek counseling at some point in their relationship. According to it, therapy positively impacts 70% of those receiving treatment. And for many couples, it can mean the difference between a long haul or a divorce.
However, before rushing into couples counseling, or any type of therapy, it’s important to know when it makes sense to seek out this kind of support. Here are seven signs that could signal the right time for couples counseling:
Conflict is normal, but it should be resolved. When you and your partner have a disagreement or argument, the goal should not be to win the fight or prove that your way is better than theirs. Instead, the goal should be to resolve the conflict so that both people feel heard and understood.
If this can’t happen within a reasonable amount of time and if you’re feeling frustrated or angry about it, then couples counseling may help. It will provide an impartial third party who can help guide you through discussions about how to move forward with each other in ways that are healthy for both parties involved.
The stressors of a modern-day relationship can be high for a couple, especially in big cities like New York City, where work pressure, longer travel time, money disputes, and other distractions can take a bigger toll on a relationship.
Couples counseling in New York City is more important, as couples here tend to have less time and patience for each other and less family and friend support than available in smaller towns.
According to The List, communication breakdown is one of the most common reasons for divorce. A study suggests that a disconnect in communication often leads to excessive conflicts and arguing. Signs of communication breakdown include having no desire to discuss things with your partner, feeling that you both are strangers, and feeling “strained or forced” to talk to your partner.
If you’re having trouble communicating with each other, consider couples counseling as a possible solution for improving your communication skills together.
According to The New York Times, a study suggests that almost a third of couples experience pandemic-related conflict, and many of them say that their sex lives are suffering.
A Kinsey Institute study on the impact of the pandemic on marital quality found that 24% of couples reported having less frequent sex than they did before the pandemic. And 17% of women reported a decrease in both emotional and sexual satisfaction since the pandemic began.
When you’re dealing with the loss of intimacy as a symptom of other issues within your relationship, like communication problems or lack of trust, you need to take action before things get worse.
Loss of intimacy is often caused by one or more factors including:
- Communication issues between partners
- Fear of vulnerability on behalf of one or both partners
- Lack of trust within the relationship
There are many reasons why you might consider couples counseling. The following are some of the most common:
- Changes in family or living situation (for example, divorce or death)
- Changes in health status (for example, serious illness)
- Changes in work or school (for example, a job promotion that requires long hours away from home)
- Financial challenges that have caused stress on your relationship(s)
If you’re feeling stuck in your relationship and unhappy, it is time to seek help. A good therapist will help you figure out what is causing the unhappiness and then help you develop strategies for working through those issues.
Asking someone else for advice may feel awkward at first, but it’s better than continuing down a path that isn’t working for either one of them.
Sometimes, couples who are in therapy may notice that they’re repeating negative patterns of behavior. For example, you might always get into arguments about how much time each partner spends working or on social media. Or maybe one person always seems to take out their frustration on the other when they’re stressed out at work or school.
If you find yourself engaging in these kinds of behaviors, or even if your partner does, it might be worth considering whether it’s time for couples counseling.
The first step in the process of identifying the right time for couples counseling is recognizing that you are not happy. If you feel like something is missing in your relationship, but aren’t sure what it is, then this is your cue.
You may also be experiencing feelings such as sadness or anger when thinking about things related to your relationship. These are signs that something needs to change sooner rather than later.
The right time for couples counseling will vary from couple to couple, and these are just some general indicators that may be helpful. Seeking counseling is a proactive step toward improving a relationship, and it’s never too late to seek help.