When Should I Consider Relationship Counseling?

There’s no question — relationships come with challenges. So how do you know if your relationship could benefit from professional help?

Your Sex Life is Affected

How often you have sex as a couple is not what matters; what counts is a change in the pattern. For example, if you normally make love once a week but now it’s more like once a month, then that is a sign of a potential problem. It’s not important to engage in sex often, but a sign of a relationship issue is when there is a change in the usual behaviors. Some people bottle up their feelings, and they end up showing them in physical ways instead of verbally.

You Have Money Problems

Disagreements over money are one of the top reasons couples find themselves in conflict. If your partner keeps you in the dark about finances or feels the need to control everything related to money, it may be time to speak up. You should say to your partner: “I want to be aware of our monthly bills, our debt, etc.” If he/she objects, it’s time to see a counselor. (This applies only to couples that share financial obligations).

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There is Poor Communication

It’s imperative to seek professional help when a couple isn’t able to talk about their problems. When you aren’t able to talk about anything without arguing, or just don’t talk much at all, a therapist’s job is to help you find ways to communicate in healthy ways. Counseling will also help you clear up any issues that have been pushed aside and allow you to both see the whole picture. Also, when couples are able to see both sides of issues, they will be more capable of making compromises.

Work or Children Add Stress

It’s easy to let work, children, or other stressful situations negatively impact a relationship. Your partner is often the one that is around you the most and the one you confide in when you’ve had a bad day or are frazzled from the children. Who is the one there when you (or your partner) is upset? Couples often take it out on each other without realizing it hurts the relationship. But there are ways of coping with stress that won’t push yourselves away from each other.

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A Traumatic Event Occurs

It may be a good idea to talk to a professional when there has been a traumatic event in your lives, like an affair or the loss of a loved one — and one partner (or both) cannot let the past go. Stressful times often put a damper on relationships. They may put distance between you both or produce negative feelings. Especially when it comes to negative events, each person processes these emotions differently. The emotional trauma can adversely affect a relationship, but can may resolved with proper guidance.

There is a Continual Issue

The issues that get brought up over and over put a continual strain on your relationship. When they are not effectively being resolved on your own, then it’s a good time to have a therapist take a look at them. Finally nipping it in the bud can save you from a lot more heartache down the road.

You Still Love Your Significant Other

If you still love your partner and really want to make things work (but haven’t been successful), then consider the guidance of a counselor. You need to seek advice before things get to where you feel like giving up is the only option. The sooner you take action, the better the chances are to mend broken hearts. Many relationships can work if the right effort is put forth by both partners, and counseling can help you achieve that.

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Whether you choose to seek help or continue down your current path, be aware that counseling does not break couples up or even keeps them together. Relationship counseling is about helping couples communicate better and understand what is going on. Do not expect a miracle overnight — all relationships take ongoing effort from both partners. Getting a counselor is often the right effort needed to save your relationship.

Marcie has been working with couples and individuals for over 8 years. Helping them start off right, strengthen and enhance their relationships and even avoid divorce. Her company, Love Your Relationship, focuses on telephone counseling.

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