When is it Right to Seek Couples Counseling?
Every couple is unique, just as their individual strengths and weaknesses are also unique to them as a couple. And when problems occur in a relationship, regardless of whether or not the couple is married, it can be difficult to know when it is right to seek help and try to make things right, or when it is right to simply throw in the towel and part ways.
The first sign that couples therapy may be appropriate for your relationship is if communication between you has become either negative or non-existant. If you have little to say to each other, or can only find negative things to say that often lead to fights, then an outside mediator may prove effective for you. Poor communication can oftentimes lead to one or both members of the couple to act out inappropriately, either through physical abuse, infidelity, or simply being intentionally hurtful in words or actions. These actions can only breed resentment and hatred, and this kind of behavior is counterproductive and unlikely to change on its own accord. Bad communication is not always two-sided, and a therapist can help determine, not who is to blame for poor communication in the relationship, but how the two of you can play off of each other and work together to make sure that communication is effective, rather than hurtful.
Counseling may also be effective for couples who have simply “fallen out of love” or who have slowly turned into roommates or friends as opposed to lovers and partners. If life has become monotonous or boring, and the time you are spending together no longer has the same meaning that it used to, then the relationship may not even be to blame for the changes of heart. Partners may be experiencing mental traumas on their own outside of the relationship, and unable to address these problems properly, they are bringing them into the relationship. A good couples counselor can get to the root of what’s really going on, and if possible, help you find your way back to each other again and remind you of why you fell in love in the first place.
The best reason to seek couples counseling is if either one of you or both of you wants to fix the relationship, but neither of you knows how to. Acknowledging that you have a problem is perhaps the most important step in finding a solution, so if you’ve come this far, then you are halfway there already. If you are considering couples counseling as a serious option, then it is more than likely that at least one member of your partnership would like to make your relationship work, and at the very least, the other member of the partnership has kept an open mind towards the possibilities.
It’s important to remember when entering couples counseling that not every relationship can be saved, so even if you and your partner end up parting ways for good, your counseling can still help you to discover more about yourself and what you are looking for out of your relationships. Enter couples counseling with an open heart and an open mind, and while you and your partner may not necessarily leave counseling “happy” and with your desired outcome, you will emerge emotionally stronger, more compassionate, and with a better understanding and awareness of yourself and each other.