3 Signs To Look For If You Think It's Time To Go To Couples Therapy

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man and woman looking away from each other

In my work with couples, I’ve noticed that many only come after spending years at each other’s throats or years growing further and further apart. Sometimes, by the time I hear from them, they’re at the brink of separation or divorce, strung out, depressed, and not their best selves.

Should you go to couples therapy before you get to this point?

Couples therapy can actually be preventative, a wise investment in your future that leads to a healthy relationship. You don’t have to wait until you’ve got your exit strategy planned and bags packed to reach out to a couples therapist.

RELATED: 20 Reasons You May Need Marriage Counseling

That being said, it’s also OK if you did wait and now you want to make one last effort to save the relationship or marriage. Maybe you just weren’t ready until now. Everyone has their own process.

So, should you go to couples therapy? Here are 3 signs to watch out for.

1. Your gut says it’s time.

Your internal warning bell may be letting you know that your relationship has changed in some way. Or problematic patterns that were always there are no longer working for you.

When you slow down and listen to your intuition, you probably know a lot that your conscious mind isn’t even always aware of. Take some deep breaths and let your mind wander to your relationship.

Notice what feelings you have in your body. Do you feel relaxed and at ease? Or do you notice some tension or discomfort? Where do you feel that discomfort? What is it telling you?

Sit quietly and just let the answer come from your own internal knowing. Usually, when something isn’t totally right in your relationship, you know, on a deep level, that you need to slow down and check in with yourself.

Intuition is your friend.

2. You keep having the same fight over and over and nothing feels resolved.

You’re just getting more and more frustrated with each other and feeling stuck. You want to feel heard and understood, but you’re feeling judged and alone. All couples have perpetual issues.

John Gottman, the well-known relationship researcher at the Gottman Institute, estimates that about 69 percent of relationship issues are not solvable!

But the key is being able to talk about the unsolvable issues and come to a place of understanding, acceptance, and love.

If you’re having trouble getting to that place, there may be negative communication patterns or other challenges getting in the way.

Couples therapy can help you understand what’s causing you both to feel stuck and work through that so that you once again feel hopeful and heard.

RELATED: What Couples Therapy Really Is — And How It Can Fix A Marriage

3. You're feeling distant and disconnected and avoid talking through tough issues.

Maybe you and your partner tend to be conflict-avoidant types who like to keep the other person happy by never bringing up what’s bothering them.

This can work for some couples, but if there’s never any conflict that’s a sign that problems are being swept under the rug that will eventually cause distance and disconnect.

Some conflict is necessary in relationships. It helps you really understand and feel close to each other.

The good news is that you and your partner can become closer again if you’re willing to talk more honestly and openly about your feelings, even the scratchy ones. Couples therapy can help with that.

Here’s a bonus reason to seek couples therapy: you already have an awesome relationship and you want an even more awesome relationship.

For example, you may have just gotten engaged. Couples therapy at this stage can be preventative, fun, and useful.

You can explore your strengths and challenges, get tools for continuing to grow and learn together, and feel more confident moving into the next phase of your relationship.

RELATED: 5 Critical Questions To Answer About Your Relationship Before Going To Couples Counseling

Susanna Guarino is a zen practicing therapist+musician and couples therapy expert who loves working with people on their journeys to healthier relationships and becoming their most authentic selves. For more information, visit her website.

This article was originally published at Good Earth Counseling. Reprinted with permission from the author.