My relationship isn’t going well, do I need counseling?

This is the question that many couples ask themselves. In general people go to counseling as the last resort. They go to individual or couples counseling after years of fights and resentment, virtually exhausted and in many cases without motivation or energy to continue. In either case it could be beneficial, to realize that there is still something binding them or perhaps that the relationship has come to an end.

A good indicator as to whether to consider couples or individual counseling is when the couple has tried to solve their “difficulties” by themselves and they now find that they are in destructive cycle of dynamics with no way out, coming to the conclusion that they have lost all perspective.

Common destructive cycles of dynamics include:

  • Lack of communication, the feeling of banging our head against the wall when talking to our partner.
  • Lack of sexual desire and a recurring feeling of physical and emotional distance. We may view sex as an “obligation” or as emotional currency to obtain what we need from our partner.
  • Conversations become difficult as we feel we are going round in circles with no conclusions.
  • Accumulated frustration leads to tense conversations with an aggressive or disrespectful tone over and over.
  • There are hot topics that trigger us immediately so we avoid bringing them up because we are afraid of things getting even worse. There are untouchable topics that can go on for years.
  • There may be repeated threats of breaking up followed by reconciliations where the relationship seems to improve temporarily but goes back to the previous bad situation.
  • Continuous doubts from one or both partners as to whether they have chosen an appropriate person so they are neither completely in nor completely out of the relationship.
  • There is so much pain and resentment that we doubt our real feelings for the other person.

Specific situations that would almost certainly benefit from counseling include:

  • The failure to overcome an infidelity and the resentment and lack of trust that this can bring about
  • The effects of an addiction on the relationship
  • The effects of a serious or chronic illness of one partner
  • Issues with the in-laws
  • Acute differences regarding the children’s education
  • Financial problems
  • A personal crisis of any of the partners: existential, middle age, etc

If your relationship is in this situation and you would like to give counseling a try, I encourage you to get in touch.

If you would like to read more on this subject, you can look up the category relationships.

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