Couples therapy may sound like a scary thing, but it’s actually pretty popular nowadays. Longtime love birds Dax Sheppard and Kristin Bell attribute their happiness to counseling early on, and it’s not just something that only the “about-to-be-divorced” club does. Young, normal couples do it all the time and it could help your relationship move towards the “happily-ever-after” club instead. Doesn’t sound so bad, right?
1. Have you stopped noticing new haircuts, or small gestures that the other person does? These are things that you noticed in the beginning, and it shouldn’t fizzle out. If you feel the spark fizzling, it may be time to try a counselor.
2. Do you guys have the same fight over and over, and it starts to feel like Groundhog Day? Addressing a recurring problem within a relationship is near impossible – sometimes you need a neutral and professional third party to help bring that cycle to a halt.
3. If your sex life is in a rut or if your frequency of doing it has declined a lot, you might think it’s temporary, but nip that issue in the bud before it grows into something you can’t salvage. Intimacy is a big part of your connection, and you can’t let that spark run out.
4. If you’re getting more emotional support outside your relationship than in it. Some might call this emotional cheating, but even if you don’t have romantic feelings for the person you’re confiding in, your #1 should be in the loop. If you can’t come to them for emotional support, it’s time to talk to someone.
5. You resent your partner for some reason, or vice versa. If nobody moves on from resentment, it stays growing in our heart and making our actions and relationship toxic.
6. If one of you cheated, or contemplated it, but you still want to stay together. Issues like this can often break trust, but affairs don’t just bubble up on their own (usually). A therapist can help wade through an otherwise chaotic process with emotions getting heated quickly.
7. You have a problem maintaining independence in your relationship. If one person or both are too dependent and clingy, losing your sense of self can make a relationship crumble, and finding navigation concerning holding on to your sense of self is what a therapist can provide.
8. If the two of you love each other but come from very different background (cultural or otherwise). A couple therapist can show you how to find harmony in big differences (especially if your support system due to those differences is iffy).
9. If you’re heading into a major milestone, like moving in together, getting engaged, or even married. Big milestones can be scary, and smooth communication along the way is important. AKA, make a thing that’s stressful for everyone just a little less stressful – fix the little stuff before you head into the big stuff.
10. When one of you stops taking to the other. Not talking really ruins a relationship faster than a silent treatment contest. Couples’ counselors can show us new ways to communicate when we’re shutting the other person off. Start while communication has just gone off the rails – if you wait too long, the challenges might be too complex to repair.
11. If you’re keeping secrets from the other person. Secrecy can be an affair in its own, even if you’re not talking to someone. There’s a difference between privacy and secrecy, and honesty is a key foundation to a relationship that a therapist might need to help you rediscover.
12. When you feel as though the other person is the one that needs to change! Usually it’s not all one person’s fault, but we might need an outside perspective to discover that. For someone to understand that they share the blame in a situation that they are deflecting can be a huge game-changer in a relationship.
13. You’re scared to speak up. Whether it’s over a previous fight, or your emotions, feeling intimidated in a relationship can be a great reason to try out couple’s therapy. It can be scary to bring issues up, sometimes, whatever they are, and a therapist can help identify these issues and why you’re feeling scared.
14 You need to talk about money issues and find some financial harmony. This can be a big deal-breaker in relationships; perhaps one spends a little lavishly or impulsively, and the other can be overly frugal. One is unrealistic, and the other is overly anxious. Either way, a therapist can help clarify these issues.
15. If you really want the relationship to last and are dedicated. If it’s not important enough to you, counseling might not even be on the table as an option. Your pride should be less important than hashing the issues out with a partner, and if you want a toolbox to fix the fights and weather through the storms, go to couples counseling.