Love, Self

7 Signs It's Time To Get Thee To Couples Counseling, STAT

Maintaining a happy long-term relationship isn't easy. And when the going gets tough, the tough sometimes need outside help. Couples counseling isn't a last-ditch effort to save a broken partnership. It's a healthy form of relationship upkeep. Keep reading for 7 totally normal signs you need couples therapy, and find out how you and your partner can start rebuilding intimacy on your own.

1) You keep having the same fight.   

Forgive and forget? It's easier said than done. Some couples have the same fight over and over again, whether it's about finances or broken trust. Talking to a neutral third-party might be the only way to resolve a recurring issue. "Conflicts can be opportunities, or even blessings in disguise," says YourTango Expert LiYana Silver, a relationship expert and coach. "Addressing a problem gives partners a chance to build a stronger, closer relationship, but it often takes an outside perspective to see that."

2) "It's not you, it's me."

Ugh. No one wants to hear, "It's not you, it's me." And there's a good reason why: It's never just about one person. We inevitably bring our individual doubts and insecurities into our relationships. If you aren't feeling good about the person you've become, it's time to get outside help. Doing so as a couple can help you and your partner work as allies. As you take responsibility for your happiness, your partner can practice coping strategies and learn how best to support you.

3) You're unhappy about your sex life.

It's normal for people in long-term relationships to get in a rut, especially in the bedroom. But it's not healthy to stay in one. "If you find yourself feeling more attracted to others or thinking about cheating, it's time to invest time, energy, and creativity into your relationship," says Silver. Fortunately, you and your partner have options. Even without therapy, there's a new affordable way for couples to build intimacy. (We'll tell you more about it at the bottom of this post!)

4) You and your partner have experienced—or will experience—a major life change.

It's common for couples to seek therapy after a trauma, like infidelity or a death in the family. But therapy is also a smart way to plan ahead for a stressful transition, like having a child or starting a long-distance relationship. Relationships are strained during times of change. Seeking help before actually going through a transition allows couples to anticipate issues and plan a strategy for working through them.

5) You get more emotional support outside of your relationship than in it.

We shouldn't expect our partners to meet all of our needs. Mr./Ms. Right is only one person! However, if you feel unheard, misunderstood, or disrespected by your partner, it's time for counseling. Staying in a relationship like this isn't healthy for anyone. 

6) Your partner asks for couples counseling.

We're not offended when someone suggests seeking professional help for a sprained ankle or toothache. Therapy shouldn't be stigmatized either. If your partner suggests counseling, he or she is not trying to say your relationship has hit rock-bottom. Instead, your partner's communicating a desire to repair what you have and to make it stronger.

7) You're committed to your relationship.

A relationship is a living thing. If you don't nurture it over time, it's going to die. Couples therapy is a commitment to a better relationship. It takes time, effort, and money ... and it's absolutely worth it. "One of the tools for a lasting relationship is to learn and grow within it," Silver says. "You want support even when things aren't broken. You want to learn to love the other person better."

Photo: WeHeartIt

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