Relationships are hard. There’s just no getting around that fact. The perfect, yet effortless relationships of sitcoms are nothing more than hopeful myths. To truly have a great relationship, you’re going to have to work at it everyday. Part of this work is recognizing when your relationship needs something different than what you’ve been giving it.
When some people envision couples therapy, they see it as the last step before breaking up or getting divorced. Some may even be embarrassed about attending couples therapy because they feel like their relationship is a failure if they have to “end up” in a therapist’s office. However, these negative connotations about couples therapy are far from the truth.
Truth is, you can attend couples therapy at any stage in your relationship and couples therapy is rarely a premeditator for breaking up or getting divorced. In fact, couples therapy can actually prevent your relationship from crumbling or help repair troubled areas. Here are some possible indicators that you should attend couples therapy and how it can help:
You don’t trust your partner: Trust is an essential part of a relationship and if you are having issues trusting your partner, this is something that needs to be resolved. You may also need to address this issue if you find yourself keeping secrets from your significant other. Whether the loss of trust stems from infidelity, an emotional affair, or lying about trivial things, trust is something that must be rebuilt to have a stable relationship moving forward.
Couples therapy can help establish a safe place to open up about vulnerabilities, which will help you to slowly build your trust between each other.
You and your partner have experienced something that has changed how you relate to one another: Major life changing events and tragedies can dramatically alter your relationship in a negative way. Things like losing a child, long-term unemployment, health issues, or family problems can cause your relationship to deteriorate.
In these cases, working on your bond is an essential part to keeping your relationship strong. Our counselors will help you to further develop your bond and take the necessary steps to strengthen your relationship during times of hardship.
You and your partner constantly fight: Fighting is a normal part of relationships, however if it has become a daily habit, it could indicate that some underlying factor needs to be addressed. It could also indicate that you and your partner do not know how to communicate your needs properly to each other.
Couples therapy provides a mediator to help you discuss the subject of your arguments, as well as equips you with strategies for handling future arguments.
You and/or your partner become dysfunctional when fighting: Learning to fight fair is an important part of managing conflicts effectively. Becoming dysfunctional while fighting not only makes the initial problem worse, but it puts a strain on your overall relationship which can eventually break it.
Couples therapy helps you to recognize dysfunctional argument behaviors such as lashing out, emotionally shutting down, being passive aggressive, or becoming vengeful. Once these behaviors are recognized they can then be managed accordingly.
Lack of Communication: Communicating well is an art form that takes years of developing. Many conflicts in relationships, as well as negative feelings, stem from a lack of communication or miscommunications. Learning to communicate effectively will help you and your significant other feel more connected to each other.
During couples therapy, our counselors will provide you will tools and methods to increase your communication skills with each other. This will help you to communicate more clearly on a daily basis and help you feel more connected and in tune to each other.
Something is wrong, but you don’t know what it is: If something feels off, it probably is. And sometimes you may not be able to clearly identify why that is. A large part of couples therapy can be simply identifying problems so that you can take the necessary steps to resolve them.
Physical and/or emotional intimacy is an issue: Relationships need both physical and emotional intimacy. When one is off, usually the other will shortly follow. Sometimes there can be a similar cause for both, other times they stem from different issues. Despite the reason, couples therapy can help identify where the lack of physical and/or emotional intimacy stems from and help to revive it.
The same issues come up again and again: If you start to notice that most of your fights resolve around the same issue or it comes up one way or another during normal conversations, you may have not resolved the issue fully. Unresolved issues can cause resentments and other relationship problems. Couples therapy helps to work through these issues in a way that leaves both parties feeling resolved and able to move forward.
When you feel more like roommates than people in a relationship: If you have the feeling that all you do is “co-exist” with your significant other, it may be because you are lacking communication, conversation, or intimacy. There may be other factors at play as well, and a couples counselor can help you identify where the problem lies and then give you strategies to address it.
You avoid connection: When the stresses of daily life begin piling up, you may begin to find yourself retreating into your own personal affairs while also, purposefully or not, excluding your partner. If you find yourself frustrated about things with the relationship, but choosing to let them continue, you may be purposely avoiding connection. This may also cause you to feel overwhelmed and unhappy with your daily life. Our couple counselors are specially trained to help you identify and address the real issue at play so you can connect with your partner more readily and combat issues together.
If you or your partner have noticed any of the aforementioned behaviors, it may be time to consider seeing a couples therapist. Call our office today to schedule a consultation with an NJ Family Psychiatry and Therapy couples therapist.