Do I Need Couples Counselling? 10 Signs It May Be Time
People often see couples counselling as a last-resort attempt to save an already failing relationship. Many couples will only go to therapy after dealing with the same issues for years. It is completely valid to go to couples counselling when you feel like you’re at the end of your rope, but you don’t need to wait until you’re at that point to reap its benefits.
As an intake specialist, I have seen couples at different points of their relationship attend therapy. I’ve also seen the range of issues that couples counselling can address. In this article, I will break down ten signs that you and your partner are good candidates for couples counselling.
By the end, you'll have a clear understanding if couples counselling would be a good fit for you.
1. You keep having the same arguments
A key sign that you may need an objective third party is that you and your partner keep having the same unproductive arguments. Whether it’s about money, the kids, or daily chores, it seems like you’re stuck in the same loop with no solutions.
Do you feel like your partner doesn’t listen to you? Are one or both of you making promises you can’t keep? Do you think there’s a fundamental misunderstanding between you?
Whatever the issue, having the same argument over and over is a sign that you may need couples counselling.
2. Your arguments are getting nasty
You notice there’s disrespect from one or both of you when you argue.
This may look like harsh criticisms, name-calling, or comparing them to other people. You may blame one another regularly, or you may say purposefully hurtful things to one another.
A couples counsellor can help you shift away from nasty arguments, forgive one another, and regain a mutual sense of respect in your relationship.
3. There’s no communication
On the flip side, you may feel like there’s no communication between you and your partner.
It may feel like one or both of you have just ‘given up’ talking about your issues. While this may feel like a better alternative to arguing, not attending to your problems doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Relationship issues often grow when they’re swept under the rug.
If there’s no communication in your relationship, you may benefit from talking to a couples therapist. They can help you tackle issues in a way that feels manageable for you both.
4. The passion is gone
Have you had one or more of these thoughts:
- My partner is more like a roommate than a romantic interest
- I love my partner, but I’m not in love with my partner
- I can’t imagine being attracted to my partner anymore
On the flip side, you may crave affection from your partner, but it seems like they can’t or won’t provide it. Loss of intimacy in a relationship can feel like a failure, but it’s a lot more common than you think.
A lot of couples attend therapy to regain passion and intimacy in their relationship. With time and commitment, many end up re-sparking the flame.
5. There’s been infidelity
Infidelity can rock a relationship.
While it can be extremely painful to go through, it is usually a sign of underlying issues that have existed long before the act of betrayal.
Couples rarely survive affairs without assistance.
Couples counselling may heal some of the wounds caused by infidelity and help a couple regain trust in their relationship. It can also help illuminate some of the issues that led to cheating.
6. Your partner wants to try counselling
This sign is often overlooked, but nevertheless, a very important reason to attend therapy.
Getting on the same page about where your relationship is and where you want it to be is really important.
Remember, therapy is not a sign of weakness or a sign of failure.
A therapist will not take sides in your arguments, or make one person the bad guy. A couples counsellor wants to help you make things work. Even if the process of therapy scares or confuses you, attending sessions when your partner wants to go communicates that you’re trying to make things work.
7. You’re going through a difficult transition
Whether it’s a big move, financial issues, or a loss, difficult transitions may bring up issues you never knew existed.
You and your partner may have difficulties supporting one another, or understanding what the other is going through. One of both of you may feel like the external change shifted how your relationship functions.
If you’re going through a difficult transition, couples counselling can help smooth out some of the bumps in the road. It can also help you redefine your relationship in ways that feel better for you both.
8. You want to get on the same page before marriage
Premarital counselling is extremely common amongst couples.
Getting married introduces a variety of topics that may be difficult to talk about without a third party. Common issues discussed in premarital counselling include:
- Who will take care of what household duty
- How finances will be split or shared
- What role your inlaws will take
- Whether/when you want kids
A couples counselling session can be a safe place to discuss these big issues with respect and understanding.
9. You want to shift into a nontraditional relationship
Nontraditional relationships are becoming more and more popular. Many couples are looking to open their relationship and try ethical polyamory.
However, it can be an intimidating conversation to have.
Relationship counselling can help couples negotiate an understanding that works for all parties. It can also help partners deal with the unique issues that come as a result of their shift.
10. You’re dealing with parenting issues
Parenting issues arise at all points of parenthood and in all kinds of ways.
Some of these issues include:
- A child struggling in school, at home, emotionally, or with their identity
- The parents have conflicting parenting styles
- Having a child has affected intimacy
- Separated parents are having issues co-parenting
- One or both parents are trying to adjust in a blended family
Couples counselling can help ease some parenting-related issues and find resolutions that help both the parents as well as the children.
Next Steps to Starting Couples Counselling
The truth is, any couple looking to improve their communication, intimacy, or overall satisfaction with their relationship can benefit from couples counselling.
If you feel like you’re at the end of your rope, couples counselling can help you regain some of the things you may have lost in your relationship. But remember: you don’t have to wait until your relationship is hanging on its last thread before attending.
Therapy is not only about healing deep wounds; it is also about prevention and maintenance. Having a safe and supportive space to talk about your concerns before they hit their ‘boiling point’ will result in a longer, happier relationship.