Survey Results: Why Couples Fight, Split & Seek Counseling

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Therapists shatter relationship myths. Plus: a surprising benefit of couples counseling!

Press Release—New York, NY (March 7, 2012)—A recent survey of counseling professionals from YourTango.com—the leader in love and relationships—has dispelled some long-held myths about relationships, namely that couples fight primarily about sex and money (or the lacks therof), and that infidelity is more toxic to a relationship than any other issue.

YourTango Experts, an esteemed organization of 1,100 therapists, counselors, psychologists, coaches, social workers, marriage educators and other helping professionals, completed a survey to offer insight into the relationship habits and behaviors that couples address in and outside of therapy. 

According to the survey, couples don't fight most about sex or money—the #1 reason couples argue is because one or both parties don't feel important or valued by the other; communication problems ranked second, followed by money in third place then sex at a distant fourth.

"Feeling important and valued by your partner is not as difficult to achieve as most couples think," YourTango Expert Ilene Dillon advises. "Couples married a long time indicate that it's "little things" that make the difference: being of service to one another, giving a touch on the shoulder, offering a love note in a lunch box, holding hands, giving a card or a single flower, creating a simple but great meal, or eagerly greeting one's partner."

When asked why couples split, Experts chose not infidelity but "communication issues" as the top reason couples break up, followed by "loss of intimacy." Infidelity came in third.

Speaking to the importance of healthy communication, 72% of therapists listed "communication problems" as the top reason couples seek therapy, followed by a lack of emotional intimacy. The feeling that "the spark is gone/we no longer enjoy one another" was third and infidelity came in fourth.

"It's a common misconception that people think most fights are about sex or money, but those are just symptoms," YourTango Expert Johanna Lyman explains. "The underlying problems are a lack of clean communication." 12 Myths You Shouldn't Believe About Therapy, Sex & Infidelity

Expert Lynn Zakeri expands on the benefit of addressing communication issues within a counseling environment. "Often I hear one spouse speak his or her feelings out loud, and the way I interpret it is often vastly different from his or her spouse's interpretation. Oftentimes a spouse is being sincere and heartfelt but his or her spouse hears condescending and sarcasm. It is always an eye-opener when I ask them to explain what they meant and the genuine sincerity comes through."

Next: The time in your relationship infidelity is most likely to happen & the unexpected benefit of therapy...

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