If you’re feeling unhappy in your relationship, you may be wondering if you need couples therapy.
It may feel like what was once fun and exciting has turned into a nightmare you never expected. You may even end up feeling trapped.
What happened to the attraction and closeness between you and your partner? It was there when you were dating. Now your partner feels unfamiliar, distant, or hostile. You may not even recognize your partner as the same person you met and fell in love with.
All relationships evolve and change over time. Initial intense attraction evolves into comfortable routine of living together and friendship.
All couples have to adjust to having children, balancing difficult life events, demanding careers, child-care, maybe the loss of a job, elderly parents… The list goes on.
Some couples are able to weather difficult times and bounce back. They seem to know instinctually how to resolve conflict while other couples struggle with an ongoing cycle of attack-defend-isolate.
Couples that get caught in misunderstanding may see those misunderstandings evolve into big arguments and, eventually, deadlock.
Some couples need couples therapy to help them break those cycles of misunderstanding, anger, and hurt. If you’re wondering if your relationship would benefit from couples therapy, read on.
Signs That You May Need Couples Therapy
You feel like you’re living with a roommate. All the closeness is gone.
You’re raising your children together, but that’s the only thing that keeps you together. Otherwise, your schedules are full with work, after-school activities, and individual pursuits.
Distancing might also mean you’re fed up with watching your partner disappear into addiction: gaming, porn, alcohol, etc. So, you end up giving him or her the silent treatment.
Conversely, you may barely see your partner who spends most of his or her time in the office.
When your relationship feels distant, inside you feel lonely and invisible.
Couples who’ve grown distant need couples therapy to help them regain connection and intimacy.
2. Constant Conflict
All couples fight, but some get stuck in a constant conflict. You argue about money, parenting, long hours at work, lack of time together while one partner is gaming…you name it—it can become an argument.
Regardless of what the topic of argument is about, these conversations are emotionally charged. The underlying issue may be entirely separate from the topic of the current argument.
As such, these conflicts tend to follow a similar pattern: both of you are stuck in repetitive loops of attacking, retreating, defending, and withdrawing, and you’re unable to resolve the issue.
As long as the issue remains unresolved, both partners will feel distant and frustrated, not to mention liable to explode at the drop of a hat.
Couples in constant conflict need couples therapy to help them get to the heart of the issue.
3. Hurt by Affairs
Affairs bring emotional chaos into a relationship. You feel blindsided, hurt, betrayed, and the other guilty, angry, and maybe ashamed.
The safe, predictable world that was your relationship has turned into uncertain and unpredictable territory. The person you once trusted more than anyone no longer feels trustworthy.
In some couples, the partner who had the affair may refuse to talk about it. Unfortunately, that only serves to push their partner farther away and close them off.
There was certainly an underlying reason the affair happened. This and the broken trust both need to be addressed.
Couples who are struggling with the aftermath of an affair may need couples therapy to help them rebuild broken trust and address underlying issues in the marriage that may have existed before the affair.
4. It Feels Like the Love is Gone
If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “I’m living in a loveless marriage,” you may need couples therapy.
Lack of emotional and physical closeness may leave you feeling like whatever love you once shared is gone.
You may have distanced from each other emotionally after one partner lost trust in the other. Or after a joint trauma, or constant conflict.
Emotional distancing (for whatever the reason) leads to lack of physical intimacy.
It’s hard to be physically intimate with a partner you’re angry at all the time, or one who feels like a stranger.
Unfortunately, you may live like that for years when you have children to keep you occupied. The problem becomes when children leave the house and you remain all alone with your partner in a loveless marriage.
Couples therapy can help you identify the root cause of distancing in your relationship and build a stronger connection.
5. You’re Afraid of Divorce
This sign is one that is often very private, perhaps only in your own thoughts.
Often, it begins with the realization that you’re really unhappy with your marriage. Then you start thinking about divorce, but don’t want to leave because of children.
You can’t stand the constant arguing, criticism or distancing, but you just don’t know what to do.
Or you live in constant fear your partner will leave you.
If you find yourself dwelling on the idea of divorce, you may need couples therapy to help you express your fears to your partner and work through them together.
How do I get to couples therapy if I can’t even talk about it?
Being in an unhappy relationship can be an isolating experience.
You may not feel comfortable talking to your friends or your parents about the situation. Fear of talking badly about your partner can lead to withdrawing.
We know how unhappy and stuck you can feel in your relationship. You may be looking for help but don’t know how to find a couples therapist.
Then there’s the fear of not knowing how your partner is going to respond. Will he or she finally change? Or will they continue to be critical and dismissive?
How do I find a couples therapist?
One of the most important considerations in finding a couples therapist is finding someone with professional, specialized training. Look for someone trained proven couples therapy techniques.
Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT) is one of the most effective therapy method validated with over 30 years of research and has been successful with couples from all different backgrounds and in all different life situations. 70-75% of couples who complete EFT show change and over 90% of couples show improvement.
Dr. Irena is a psychologist certified in Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) with over 20 years of experience. She has helped many couples rebuild trust and connection in couples therapy.
Whether you are in a new relationship or a 30-year marriage, couples counseling can help. The good news is that there’s way to end suffering. Couples counseling will show you how.
What improvements can I expect after couples therapy?
You are not the only one who’s been caught in a vicious cycle of constant arguing and blaming. If you and your partner need couples therapy, you’re not alone. Many couples in the same situation have improved their relationship with the help of couples therapy and couples counseling.
After couples therapy, you will almost certainly experience improved connection with your partner. You’ll feel closer and more trusting. You may feel more support and comfort from them in times of difficulty.
You and your partner will learn skills to communicate clearly, so you’ll feel heard and listened to. This can result in a feeling of greater emotional safety. And you’ll be able to resolve conflicts more effectively.
These improvements in the state of the relationship naturally lead to spending more quality time together—and enjoying being with each other.
Finally, most couples see an improvement in their sex life as a result of couples therapy.
Do you need relationship help?
Dr. Irena offers online therapy for women and couples in Texas and New York City. She uses the research-proven method, known as Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) to help couples develop and maintain emotional connection and support each other through stressful times. She has helped highly distressed couples be available and responsive to each other, access their resiliency, and strengthen their relationships.
If you would like to schedule a session, email Dr. Irena for a free 10-minute video consultation: [email protected] or call (281)-267-1742.