- There are many reasons to go to couples therapy. You can even go if there is nothing wrong and you simply want to develop a stronger connection.
- When there is a reason to go to couples therapy, it can manifest as obvious problems or as more subtle warning signs.
- This article should serve as a general informational guide, but is certainly not exhaustive. The best way to determine if you need couples therapy is to talk to your partner as well as a therapist about your options.
Being in a relationship is a lot like being on a boat. Sure, it gets choppy sometimes, but with your partner helping, you can get through it. You work as a team, and everything seems to be functioning properly up top.
But sometimes, if you go below deck, you might find yourself standing in a foot of water. Big problem.
In a relationship, there are sometimes obvious signs that something is wrong. Other times, the signs are more subtle. The good news is that, with a little bit of help from a licensed therapist, nearly every relationship problem can be solved.
Let's discover 5 signs that your relationship may be in trouble, as well as some tips for how to ease them between sessions with a licensed couples therapist.
5 Signs You May Need Couples Therapy:
#1: You're always fighting.
#2: You never have disagreements.
#4: Family Fighting
#5: Social Isolation
#1: You're Always Fighting
This is perhaps the most obvious sign that your relationship may be in trouble. Consistent fighting can mean several things:
There is a misalignment of values
There was some sort of upsetting occurrence that was not fully processed
One or both partners is overwhelmingly stressed
Whatever the reason, here are some tips to reduce consistent fighting between session with a a therapist:
Tip #1: Take a deep breath when you start to get frustrated.
Taking a deep breath gives your brain more oxygen, which does all sorts of good things in your brain to help you calm down.
Specifically, more oxygen means your parasympathetic nervous system is more able to tell the rest of your brain - namely your fight-or-flight response - to cool off.
This allows you to think through things more logically and find solutions without letting anger cloud the situation or make things worse.
Tip #2: Give Yourself Space
If you're finding it hard to calm down, removing yourself from the situation for a bit can also prevent the argument from getting worse.
Note that his does not mean that you should totally ignore the argument: It's still important to resolve things. But anger can make you say or do things you don't mean, which can hurt your partner and make a resolution more difficult.
#2: You Never Have Disagreements
On the other side of the spectrum, a lack of disagreements can also be a sign of trouble.
A total lack of conflict usually means a lack of communication. It can also mean that one or both partners are not allowing themselves to be individuals, and sacrificing their own personal values for what they perceive to the the good of the relationship.
Does it keep things quiet? Sure. But it also keeps things stuck in the same place, never growing.
Here are some tips for changing this:
Tip #1: Commit to Voicing Problems
It can be very easy for some people to simply tolerate stuff they don't like. The problem with this is that it can build resentment over time.
Make a commitment to voicing your concerns as they arise. If you find that every time you do this, it leads to an aggressive argument, couples therapy is definitely in order.
Tip #2: Be Receptive
As mentioned in the point above, many people in relationships find that every time they try to voice a concern, their partner becomes very upset or defensive.
Understand that there is a chance that you are that partner.
Talk to your partner about your new commitment to being receptive to disagreements, and make sure they know that you are trying to be better about how you handle them.
When one partner cheats on another, it's very important to seek therapy. Cheating destroys trust, which is foundational to a healthy relationship. It's possible to build it back, but you have to be ready for the work.
If you or your partner has been unfaithful, there are a few things you can do to preserve the relationship until you are able to access therapy.
Tip #1: Don't forgive, yet.
If you are generally conflict avoidant, your instinct may be to forgive your partner and move on.
Doing this before speaking to a licensed marriage counselor or therapist can create deep-seated resentment, insecurity, and distrust. The longer those go unaddressed, the harder they can be to fix.
After attending therapy sessions with your partner, and if you are feeling ready, then you can forgive your partner. But only after you have done the work necessary to build back trust.
Tip #2: Don't do anything dramatic.
On the other side of the same coin, many people's first instinct after being cheated on is to do something dramatic like tell mutual friends or family members, destroy property, or end the relationship with no communication.
It's entirely possible that the relationship will end anyway, but it should be after an exploration of how the infidelity happened and why. Ideally, you would see a therapist to discuss these things in a healthy and productive way.
As for telling all of your partner's friends or family about their actions, or destroying property, these things only serve to elevate the situation and hurt everyone involved.
#4: Family Fighting
If your relationship is genuinely healthy, but your two families are always fighting each other, therapy can help with that too.
The only real tip here is to visit either a couples therapist or a family therapist. When families are involved, it's very difficult to try to navigate the situation without hurting someone. A professional can help you parse out the problems and work to resolve them.
#5: Social Isolation
A common occurrence in many relationships, social isolation can occur for two reasons: manipulation or general lifestyle changes.
Sometimes, one or both partners simply forget to reach out to friends outside of the relationship. Other times, one or both partners develop jealousy of how the other spends their time.
Regardless of the reason, if you haven't seen your friends for a long time due to forces in your relationship, you may consider couples therapy in order to work around it.
Couples Therapy in Austin: Williamsburg Therapy Group
If you or your partner feel stuck or as though there are some obvious or underlying problems in your relationship, an Austin couples therapist may be able to help.
Our office in Austin, TX staffs some of the cities best doctoral-level couple's psychologists. Get in touch with us to get matched with the right therapist for your situation. Feeling better may be closer than you think.