5 Signs You Need To Talk About Couples' Counseling, According To Experts
Not all relationships are built to last. Some relationships might not really be worth fighting for, for various reasons, so you typically just kind of let them play out and end in due time. However, when you're in a relationship that is worth fighting for (one for which you do want to do the work to maintain), worrying you need help to get back on track when times get tough is one of the signs you need to talk about couples' counseling. That’s because the first step to fixing things is just admitting you could use a little extra help.
If you're not sure the relationship has reached the point where the two of you need a little outside help, there are are a few situations that experts say you should be looking out for. These signs will let you know that it's time to have a conversation with your SO about, well, having conversations with someone who has the training and skills to help guide you back onto a better, healthier, and stronger path for the future — and who doesn't want that? Everyone deserves a happy, healthy relationship. Here's how the experts say you'll know you and your partner should have a conversation about starting couples' therapy.
1. You don't feel like you can tell each other the truth.
Do you feel like you’re walking on eggshells around each other because you're afraid to tell each other the truth? If so, then Frank Kermit, dating and relationship coach at FrankTalks.com, says it's time to start seriously discussing setting up a couples' counseling session. “Walking on eggshells around the person you have the most invested in is a pathway to being unable to discuss important and intense issues, and can lead to resentment,” Kermit tells Elite Daily. As Kermit explains, resentment is lethal to relationships because it can “destroy any feelings of affection and connection.” To avoid this, he suggests seeking out counseling. It can help you because “[learning] to better communicate your needs" and "learning how to handle truth are good skills to have, not just for relationships, but all areas of life.”
2. You have the same argument over and over.
Another sign that it's time to set an appointment with a counselor is that you feel like your relationship is in a time loop, and that you're just having the same fight over and over again.
As Anita Chlipala, licensed marriage and family therapist and author of First Comes Us: The Busy Couple's Guide to Lasting Love, told Elite Daily, if you keep having the same fight “a couples' therapist can teach you to identify which issues are situational and perpetual. For the latter, those are the arguments that are recurring and need to be managed, not solved. We have tools for that!”
3. Problems from previous relationships keep resurfacing.
Kermit explains that if the issue that's causing problems in your relationship is one that has cost you past relationships, it's time to break the cycle. “You may have to come to terms with the fact that this issue will continue to sabotage your future relationships,” he explains. “Coaching or therapy may not be able to save your relationship if you are just too incompatible, however, it can help you get to the source of your particular issues so that you can heal and not let it interfere with your current saved relationship and/ or future relationships.”
4. You’ve had a breakdown in communication.
Healthy communication is the foundation of any successful relationship, and without it, your relationship is hard-pressed to succeed. This is why Dr. Fran Walfish, Beverly Hills family and relationship psychotherapist and author of The Self-Aware Parent, told Elite Daily that if you're having difficulty communicating, it’s time to seriously consider counseling. She says that it’s also fairly common for couples to need a little a help in this department, because “most people lack healthy give and take," and "listening and talking skills regarding good communication. Whether the issue is money, sex, children, work/career, in-laws, or other environmental stressors, the bottom line is that people don't know how to talk with each other about difficult things. However, by speaking with a counselor, Dr. Walfish said you can learn those skills and even “gain a deeper intimacy in the relationship.”
5. You’ve tried everything you can think of to fix things on your own.
Seeking out couples' counseling is something you can really do at any point in a relationship, but dating coach and relationship expert Susan Winter told Elite Daily most people do it as a last resort, when they’ve tried everything else on their own and but still aren’t really getting anywhere. In this situation, Winter said, “if you and your partner have unsuccessfully tried every avenue possible to correct the issues disturbing your relationship, it’s time to enlist the help of a professional.” The goal is to find a way to communicate and resolve problems in a way that will avoid growing resentment. “If nothing you do or say gets through to your mate, seek help,” said Winter. Otherwise, those “resentments fester and there’s no resolution in sight.”
How to pick a couples' counselor.
Are some of these signs ringing a few (concerning) bells? Then it’s time to have a chat with your partner about finding a couples' counselor to help ease you through the rough patch. “Coaches and therapists are as diverse a group of people as any," says Kermit. "Each one has personal philosophies that differ from the others. It is important to find someone that you both trust (not necessarily like, but trust).” Kermit suggests that you take your time and do your research by finding someone “that has written a book, or released some audio/visual material that you can preview to see if that person has similar viewpoints about life and love that match your particular family values as a couple.”
Every couple is different, so it makes sense that you should seek out a counselor who will best fit your personality and needs. If all this seems intimidating, I don't blame you — it can feel like a lot. But when you have a relationship worth fighting for with a partner who is willing to be in the fight with you, it’s totally worth it. Plus, on the other side of the fight is the happier, stronger bond you both really want and deserve.
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