SHOULD YOU GO TO COUPLES THERAPY?
Could Professional Help Save Your Relationship?
By Megan Bailey
In the United States, upwards of 50 percent of all first marriages end in divorce. Second marriages have an even higher percentage at 60 percent. These are scary numbers to think about, so how do you stay ahead of the problem? There are red flags that signal you and your significant other could benefit from couples counseling to keep your relationship or marriage going strong.
Choosing to go to therapy is a massive step for a relationship. For those who are not knowledgeable about counseling, it can seem like a scary and overwhelming experience. You and your partner might feel ashamed in needing to ask for help, and it is hard to think your relationship is not perfect. On top of that, it can take a lot of effort to find the right provider, figure out insurance, and working it into the schedule.
Couples counseling is also associated with a relationship being in serious trouble, but that is not always the case. Sometimes, it is better to go to therapy early to get ahead of issues before they become full-blown problems. Treatment can be useful for any relationship, regardless of what stage.
There are some common issues many couples go to counseling for, like infidelity, financial troubles, and communication problems. Here is a list that can help you decide if it might be right for your issues too.
When someone has cheated.
Infidelity can destroy relationships because trust is broken, and parties feel betrayed. Without a professional therapist, many couples do not survive because they do not know how to communicate with one another, and emotions are high. Infidelity is often a reactive situation, and a therapist can provide hope and stability to a quite chaotic process. In therapy, you will be guided to deciding if the relationship is worth staying in or if it is better to go your separate ways. Additionally, you will have a safe space for both of you to discuss the full context of the situation.
You have a poor sex life.
It is common for people in long-term relationships to get bored and in a rut, particularly in the bedroom. It is not healthy to stay in these ruts, though, and if you cannot shake things up on your own, consider getting a counselor. Some couples struggle with intimacy from the start, for various medical or mental reasons, that therapy can also help navigate. Therapy is especially important if your poor sex life is leading you to think about cheating. Investing energy and time back in your relationship will help.
You have a problem you want to prevent.
Premarital couples often go to counseling to address problems before they get married. It should be the same with couples everywhere that have small issues that need to be addressed. Otherwise, they could blow up later and cause significant damage. Additionally, therapy can teach couples critical relationship skills so that they know how to overcome the issue as a team when problems do happen. Therapy can be like getting a flu shot to prevent the flu. It can safeguard your relationship, so look at therapy as an annual checkup.
You are about to hit a significant milestone.
Like prevention therapy, this is an excellent idea for stopping big fights before they begin. Even when relationships are hitting exciting new milestones, there is stress that is involved. While you and your partner are thrilled to be moving to your first home or are having a child, there are also a lot of changes that come with these experiences. Seeking help before the transition will help you anticipate any problems and plan strategies for overcoming them.
You want to understand your partner better.
How you were raised might be drastically different than how your partner was. You might want to seek to learn their culture better, any trauma they went through as a child, or what shaped their values. A therapist can help you get to know your partner on a deeper level, even if you feel like you have already told your significant other everything. Next time you and your partner fight, you might have a better understanding of where they are coming from or why they are reacting the way they are.
You keep having the same fight.
If you and your partner are fighting about the same topic repeatedly, it might be time to reach out to a third party for help. A therapist can give an objective view of your situation and help you all resolve the conflict one and for all. Additionally, therapists can identify if any underlying problems might be causing repetitive fights. By working through this as a couple, your home and communication will be much more peaceful.
You do not agree on finances.
One of the leading causes of couples fighting is money. It can be stressful enough to manage your own money, so adding someone else’s budget, debt, and financial habits into the mix can get overwhelming. You might have different views on how you should spend or save your money for the future. Talking about money, even though it is just a number, is typically a very emotionally charged conversation. Whether you are fighting over who will get the dinner check or how to best divide the utilities in your new home, a counselor can help you navigate budge issues and get you on the same page.
Coupling counseling might be a great idea for your relationship, even if you do not fall into any of these categories. We all go through different phases in life that can be hard to navigate, so hiring a professional to get you through them is a smart idea. Therapy shows that you both want to put in the effort to make the relationship work, no matter what it takes.