Ongoing relationship distress is harmful to each partner’s mental and physical wellbeing and in addition, can negatively impact the children.
Difficult conflict can lead to things being said that hurt us deeply. The growing emotional distance can leave us feeling disconnected, lonely, and insecure. The lack of commitment and trust perpetuates toxic interactions that push us further away from each other, and make it difficult to connect with one another again.
Relationship therapy can create a positive change when there is a willingness on both sides to make changes that can last. However, many couples do not seek support to improve their relationship and this may be due to the stigma against relationship therapy. Below are a few examples of the reasons couples may not attend relationship therapy.
- Thinking that attending couples therapy means, as a couple, we are not strong enough to work through problems on our own. That there is something fundamentally wrong in our relationship. It’s a shame game.
- Pretending the issues don’t exist and avoiding confronting problems that show up in the relationship such as nasty fights, an affair, or emotional disconnection.
- Convincing ourselves that the problem is our partner. So why go to therapy when the partner is the reason the relationship is broken? (Every relationship requires two people and so inevitability you are also involved).
- Believing the myth that “if love takes work, then it’s not meant to be”. A no-effort relationship is not a great relationship.
Not pursuing couples therapy when there are underlying emotions and issues that are destructive on your relationship’s emotional connection and each partner’s wellbeing can create bigger and more serious difficulties to overcome in the future.
So, how do you know when it’s time to go to couples counselling?
When to Pursue Relationship Therapy
Some couples choose to remain in an unhappy relationship or marriage due to financial reasons, children, or the shame of failure, among other reasons.
Below are signs that signal you and your partner could benefit from relationship therapy. These include:
- Escalating conflict and nasty communication habits.
- Emotional distance and loneliness.
- Falling out of love, – “I love you, but I’m not in love with you”.
- Trust and commitment issues, such as difficulty relying on a partner or not putting each partners’ wellbeing on par with each other.
- Feeling unsupported and emotionally dismissed or difficulty with opening up emotionally.
- Sexual intimacy is practically non-existent, there is a lack of desire, and/or it’s rarely talked about.
- Difficulties with in-laws, friendships, work, or life stressors including health issues.
- Abuse, affairs and addictions (alcohol, drugs, porn, etc.)
- Differences in parenting styles that lead to conflict.
- Management and disagreement of finances.
- Things feeling unfair in the division of household chores.
- Difficult childhood upbringings that can make it difficult to trust your partner or stay engaged when conflict arises.
Relationship therapy can support you in implementing strategies and tools to change the way you communicate as well as shift unhealthy dynamics in the relationship that can lead to a happy, secure, and loving relationship.