This article is part of the Why Couples Fight Series
Revised on April 30, 2019.
Maybe, for you, couples therapy is long overdue.
Does making an appointment with a marriage counselor seem like a good idea right now?
Here are 11 critical signs that couples therapy is long overdue for your marriage.
1. You’re Squawking Instead of Talking.
Your fights are only interrupted by a long lonely silence. You don’t know how to talk to your partner as if they were someone that you loved. Emotionally focused therapy can help you both to unpack your long-simmering resentments.
If you ‘d like to start talking again…but you don’t know how…couples therapy is long overdue.
2. You’ve Got a Bad Case of the “Whatever’s.”
The idea of even trying to have a conversation fills you with anxiety, dread or futility. Relationship apathy is how you roll. A good day is when you only fight for an hour or so. Depression and marital conflict is a one-two punch is that warns you that couples therapy is long overdue. Your mental health will suffer long term if you feel unsupported by your spouse.
Almost 7% of Americans are clinically depressed to some degree, but a whopping 42% of couples entering couples therapy have at least one depressed partner. If you’re angry, apathetic, depressed or lonely…relationship counseling is long overdue.
3. You Have Seen the Enemy…And It’s Your Spouse.
Sometimes it gets so bad that you hate your mate. You flood easily. You’re either chronically nagging or being nagged. You have a hard time staying regulated. You leave in the middle of conversations. You’re fighting in front of the kids. If you find excuses to stay away from home as much as possible…relationship therapy is long overdue. Negative Sentiment Override is taking you both into the fast lane toward constant conflict.
4. You Have Some Secrets, Or You “Forget” to Share Important Information.
You don’t tell each other everything. You hide stuff about your life that you don’t want your partner to know. About money, relationships, plans, people, etc. You’re being cagey, or passive-aggressive.
Whether it’s how you spend your time, or how you spend your money. Your partner may already be connecting the dots, even though you’ve taken great pains to keep your spouse in the dark. But if technology trips you up…and it often does… meeting with a marriage and family therapist is long overdue.
5. You’re Headed for the Cheating Side of Town
6. Your Financial Breadcrumbs Lead to Your Secrets.
If your partner keeps you in the dark about their spending or needs to control everything related to money, then it would be a good idea for you to bring up the topic of family finances in couples counseling.
Is your spouse keeping financial secrets? If that’s a deal-breaker for you, Discernment Counseling or couples therapy is long overdue.
Even if there are no financial secrets, research tells us that fights about money can be incredibly destructive.
If your spouse is very controlling, you might benefit from the fresh perspective that an individual therapist can provide.
It’s fair to say, “I want a better understanding of our monthly bills and budget, our debt, how many savings/checking/retirement accounts we have…” If your spouse objects, tell them you want a couples therapist to help resolve the gridlock in marriage therapy. Their reaction will be illuminating.
7. You Believe Everything Would be OK If He or She Would Just Change.
Couples therapy is long overdue when you see your partner as the one who needs to change. The only person you can change is yourself, so if you’re waiting for your spouse to change, you’ll wait a long time.
Your partner is not accepting any influence from you and vice-versa. This is often when I recommend hiring an individual therapist to better understand who you are and what you want. Then, if challenges continue to persist, couples therapy is long overdue.
8. You’re Basically Living Separate Lives.
While this may indicate a need for marriage counseling, it doesn’t mean you’re is in trouble just because you don’t do everything together. However, isolation and distance is a clear sign that couples therapy may be long overdue.
If there is a lack of communication, conversation, or if you feel that you’re “just roommates,” this may indicate that it’s time to bring in a skilled clinician who can help sort out what’s missing and how to get it back.
9. Little Things Feel Like Big Things Now.
Every individual has trigger behaviors — specific things that drive them crazy that wouldn’t bother the majority of other people. This can include issues like who does the laundry, who unloads the dishwasher, and having pizza for dinner way too often. Family therapy may help you to identify what you want instead of what you’re getting from your spouse.
10. You Don’t Know What’s Happening.
Your partner often doesn’t understand why these fights keep happening and what he or she can do about it. You don’t either. It feels like a downward spiral that you can’t seem to slow down.
A good couples therapist can help you both discuss these issues and figure out what the real root of the issue is. Couples therapy is long overdue when you keep having another fight about nothing.
While a blog like this is for informational purposes only, I urge you to reflect on how some of the ideas here might apply to your situation. Most couples suffer for almost 7 years before they muster the courage to begin couples therapy. If you’re seriously unhappy, call us today.
Daniel is a Marriage and Family Therapist. He is the Blog Editor. He currently works online seeing couples from Massachusetts at Couples Therapy Inc. He uses EFT, Gottman Method, Solution-focused and the Developmental Model in his approaches.