Despite everyone's growing obsession with wellness and noticeable shifts toward becoming more proactive about self-care, there still seems to be a lot of stigma surrounding seeking out help when it comes to relationships. The prospect of something like couples' therapy is often associated with a relationship nearing its bitter end. However, that's not always the case. But Noticing the signs you need couples therapy is certainly doesn't spell the end of your relationship. In fact, realizing that you should seek out help means you care enough about the relationship to keep it going.
It seems the recently rekindled duo Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez might have realized this idea as well, considering the two are reportedly seeking out couples' therapy, according to TMZ. (Elite Daily reached out to Bieber and Gomez's teams for confirmation of this report, but did not hear back by time of publication.) The catalyst for their reported decision was supposedly a fight that transpired between Bieber and Gomez after Bieber tried to reconcile with his ex Hailey Baldwin. Given the ups and downs the two have experienced with their relationship in the past, some may be wondering what took the couple so long to seek professional help. But according to dating expert and licensed marriage therapist Anita A. Chlipala, holding off is all too common for a lot of couples.
"On average, couples wait about 6 years before they seek help, and that's a lot of extra time for damage to be done," she says. Chlipala suspects that a couple's choice to put off therapy is sometimes fueled by the fear that a therapist might advise them to breakup; however, this definitely isn't a good reason to avoid it. "If a therapist says that to you, never see them again," says Chlipala.
If you're still not sure whether or not your relationship would benefit from therapy (even if nothing's wrong, it pretty much always will), if any of the following rings true for you and your boo, it might not hurt to talk to a professional.
1. You Keep Fighting Over The Same Things
According to Chlipala, if you and your partner are constantly fighting about the same sorts of things but feel like nothing is ever getting resolved, then this is a big indicator that therapy might be a good option.
"People still think you have to be crazy or there has to be something wrong with you to seek help from a therapist. High-functioning people go to therapy, too," says Chlipala.
All couples have their issues. Some are more of a threat to the relationship than others, but ignoring reoccurring problems for the sake of not wanting to seem flawed is putting the longevity of your partnership at risk.
2. You Don't Feel Appreciated
Everyone wants to feel like their partner acknowledges and appreciates the effort that they put in to keep their bae happy. If you or your partner aren't feeling valued by each other, then that is a problem that needs to be addressed, STAT.
This particular conflict could simply be the fact that you aren't speaking the same love language and need to adjust how you both give and receive love. But left unresolved, feeling unappreciated can grow into resentment, which can be a much more difficult problem to overcome.
3. You Don't Feel Respected
Everything about how you treat someone close to you communicates that you either do or don't respect them. Constantly showing up late or cancelling plans last minute shows your bae that you don't respect their time and are flakey when it comes to commitments. Saying hurtful or degrading things are also a huge red flag that your partner doesn't respect you.
In this case, it doesn't necessarily matter if you know your partner loves you deep down. If you're being disrespected — or if you're disrespecting your partner — something needs to change. "People are fine going to a doctor or a financial advisor, but they somehow think they should know everything when it comes to love. Love isn't enough — if it was, the divorce rate wouldn't be so high," explains Chlipala.
Disrespect doesn't necessarily mean that someone doesn't love you. Depending on the specifics, they honestly may not know how much their bad behavior upsets you.
4. You Feel Disconnected
Life can be exhausting and leave many of us feeling drained — meaning that, sometimes, we are unable to remain fully connected to our partners. But the good thing is that feeling a bit detached is a lot more common than you might think, and it doesn't have to mean that your relationship is doomed.
"A big portion of my work with couples is education about what makes relationships work and giving them the tools to succeed. Therapy can provide you with information and tools that can ensure [you're] engaging in the types of behaviors that happy couples engage in," explains Chlipala.
Deciding to get help can feel like you are giving in to the fact that your relationship needs work, and while this may not feel good, there is nothing wrong with asking for help instead of waiting until the issues have gotten more complicated. If you want your relationship to last, and you're willing to work at it, couples' therapy is a step in the right direction.
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