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When to Go to Couples Therapy? When You Notice These 3 Sign

Zoe Mittman, LSW

If you’re asking the question “when to go to couples therapy”, you are in the right place. I am going to spend some time talking about 3 signs couples therapy may be a good fit for you. Disagreements in relationships are typical, and to be expected. You and your partner are individual human beings, with your own life experiences, upbringing, and backgrounds. It makes sense that you are not going to see eye to eye on everything. That is okay, and that is healthy! 

Honestly, most couples could benefit from couples therapy. It does not mean that there is anything “wrong” with your relationship. It just means that you are learning to navigate life on the same island, rather than on your own islands. 

When to Go to Couples Therapy? Start with These Questions

I want you to ask yourself, what is your outlook on the relationship? Do you see a future with your partner, or are you seeking couples counseling to get confirmation that this is not the right relationship for you?

Whatever the answers to these questions, there are also three more objective signs that indicate couples therapy is beneficial.

Unproductive Communication Patterns

Communication is the foundation of a healthy relationship. How do you and your partner talk to each other? Let’s imagine that your partner arrived 10 minutes late for dinner. Upon arrival, you say “you’re always late for dinner”. Your partner responds with defensiveness. It is likely that your partner takes your comment as an attack on their character. If you notice the use of “you” statements and absolutes, such as ‘always’ or ‘never’ when communicating with your partner, that is a telltale sign that couples therapy may be for you. In couples therapy, the therapist can help you improve communications with your partner, and teach you how to develop healthier communication patterns. You will learn how to communicate using “I” statements. For example, “I felt upset and lonely that I was waiting for 10 minutes before you arrived”. It makes such a huge difference. 

When You Speak Different Love Languages

There is more than just verbal communication in a relationship. There are love languages and body language. The 5 love languages are words of affirmation, acts of service, gift giving, quality time, and physical touch. Imagine yourself trying to communicate with someone with whom you do not speak the same language. You might pick up on bits and pieces, but it is likely there are going to be some misunderstandings. Now, let’s apply that to love languages. The way that you express and receive love may be different from that of your partner. This can lead to tension if there is not clear communication and appreciation. Couples therapy can help you and your partner identify relationship needs and wants. It can help you navigate learning how to love in a way your partner desires, while also adapting and appreciating how you receive love. Sometimes, the way your partner shows love may go unnoticed because that is not what you seek. Couples therapy can also help you and your partner explore how you were loved as children and how that affects you in the present day. Read more on what to do if you and your partner have different love languages.

Lack of Intimacy

There are different forms of intimacy: emotional, physical, spiritual, and sexual intimacy, to name a few. If you’re feeling a lack of connection with your partner, then couples therapy can help you explore the underlying causes and work towards rebuilding that intimacy. Intimacy is an essential component of a relationship. With the lack of intimacy, it makes sense that you may feel distant and lonely. Couples therapy can help you rebuild intimacy in a safe and effective way. You will go at your own pace. Sensate focused therapy helps couples build comfort and safety with physical touch. It is a type of therapy where couples are exposed to physical touch in a gradual manner, while being taught skills to ground themselves in the present moment. There will often be predetermined rules or code words if one person feels like their boundaries are being crossed. 

The Question “When to Go to Couples Therapy” Is Totally Up to You

Deciding when to go to couples therapy is a personal choice. While seeking help when a relationship is nearly ending can be fitting, there’s no need to delay until things reach that point. Going to couples therapy periodically can help maintain passion and connection, keep the partnership strong, and remind you every day why you chose to be together in the first place. 

If you are thinking about going to couples therapy and resonate with any of the signs above, I encourage you to reach out to Symmetry Counseling. Give us a call at (312)578-9990, or contact us online

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