Often when couples come to counselling for their relationship, they are in such a bad place that it can be difficult or even impossible to repair. Often at this stage at least one of the couple has decided to leave the relationship and is simply going through the motions of counselling.
The best time to go to couples counselling is when the relationship is healthy or when you are first noticing that it is not as rewarding as it used to be. It’s a little like servicing your car. You can get it checked when you first notice something isn’t quite right, or you can ignore the signs and wait till it breaks down to look at it.
So what are some of the signs that your relationship may be in trouble?
- There is constant criticism in the relationship. You no longer notice the positives in your partner but are aware of all the negative traits they possess. You are very aware of what is wrong in the relationship rather than what is right.
- Your emotional needs aren’t being met by your partner.
- You engage in regular conflict with each other. This may mean yelling and fighting or simply that you are unable to see each other’s point of view and rarely resolve issues together.
- There is jealousy or lack of trust with each other. You may need to check in with your partner often about their whereabouts or activities and question whether they are being open and honest with you.
- There is a loss of intimacy or affection. These are really important in a relationship and often act as a form of ‘glue’ to help get through the rough patches. This one is usually one of the first indicators that a relationship is not entirely healthy.
- You engage in the same arguments over and over. Often it is over really minor things that would not have bothered you in the past.
- You only speak to each other about superficial things. Functional things like work, household and children. If you aren’t enjoying a deeper level of communication this is an early sign also that you need to pay attention to your relationship.
- You’re more like flatmates than lovers. You share the same space and get on well and perhaps even do things together but it is not a deeper, loving relationship.
- When you go out it is often with friends, family or children and rarely alone as a couple. Many couples don’t see this occurring but this can be a sign that you are using other people as a buffer in your relationship.