So, you have been thinking about couples counseling but you’re just not sure if it’s right for you. I mean, sure you and your partner argue sometimes and you haven’t had sex in weeks or possibly months, but doesn’t everyone go through rough patches? Arguing and lack of sex doesn’t mean that your relationship is so far gone that you need counseling, does it?
Well…the short answer is “maybe”. I know, not very helpful. Let me explain…
Whether you need counseling is a matter of perception – YOUR perception. If you are concerned about aspects of your relationship and think counseling could help, then by all means go see a counselor! Even if your partner is not ready or willing to go, there is a lot that can be improved in the relationship even if just one person attends.
Reasons Where Counseling May be Right for You
- Disagreements are becoming more heated and/or more frequent. You find yourself arguing about the same big things (parenting, finances, trust, etc.) and the same little things (laundry, tv shows, the dishes, etc.) all the time.
- You feel distant from your partner. You’re just not on the same page emotionally, physically, and/or intellectually.
- Communicating with your partner feels like you’re on a hamster wheel. You just go round and round and never get anywhere.
- Conversation is minimal and limited to daily tasks, chores, the animals, and the kids.
- You don’t feel appreciated by your partner.
- Your in-laws are driving you up a wall.
- Your kids are driving you up a wall. Or your kids are great, but you and your partner can’t get on the same page of how to raise them.
- You can’t remember the last time you had sex or you can, but it was 6 months, 2 weeks, and 4 days ago. (Lack of sexual intimacy in a relationship could be a sign of bigger issues.)
- You feel like you are competing with your partner rather than being on the same team. One-upping each other has become common practice in your house.
- You are involved in or thinking of starting an emotional or physical affair.
- Last but not least…ANYTIME you want help improving or repairing your relationship.
Reasons when Counseling May Not Be Right For You
While couples counseling can and does benefit most people, there are situations when counseling may not be right for you. If you fit any of this criteria then you may want to talk to a counselor before committing to couples counseling:
- You are unwilling to own negative patterns impacting your relationship and instead want to use counseling to complain about or try to “fix” your partner.
- Physical, verbal, or emotional abuse is reoccurring and you or your partner are afraid to bring up important topics.
- You or your partner is having in an affair with no plan to end it.
- You or your partner refuse to seek individual help for addiction and/or mental health concerns that are negatively impacting the relationship
- The divorce papers are about to be served. You or your partner have decided the relationship is over prior to beginning counseling.
- You are unwilling to engage in counseling or have a firm belief that counseling does not and will not work.
So, Do You Need Counseling?
Regardless of where your relationship fits on these two lists, the true determining factor of whether or not you need counseling is YOU. Do you want help? If so, don’t let anyone stop you from getting the support you need.
Now to be honest, couples counseling isn’t always pleasant and a lot of people decide not to go, but for the majority of people who give it a try and stick with it, it can be a powerful and enlightening experience. Couples counseling can help heal relationships from day-to-day annoyances to earth shattering struggles. Relationships are hard and sometimes it can be difficult to see the forest for the trees. Having the support and guidance of a professional counselor can expedite the relationship healing as well as provide you with additional tools to maintain a healthy relationship.
About the Author
Amber Groves is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and infertility specialist at The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, CO. She helps couples, families and children to have the calm and peaceful lives they want in their relationships and family. In her spare time, she is the mother of one inquisitive toddler and a busy little baby.