Remember when you first met? The two of you fell madly in love. You couldn’t spend enough time together. You showered each other with affection. Disagreements were inconceivable.

So what happened?

Of course, the blissful feeling we have when we first fall in love can’t last forever. Sooner or later, life get’s in the way. It might be financial problems, job stress or any number of other problems that can pose difficult challenges in a relationship.

If only we all had a ‘How To’ manual for having a successful relationship. If you buy a car, you get a manual that tells you what to do if you get a flat tire, what all the warning lights mean and how to keep the car well-maintained.

A couples’ ‘relationship manual’ would tell you what to do when you were ‘running flat’, what all the warning signs are and how to keep the relationship well-maintained!

But humans are far too complex to have a ‘manual’ to help keep their relationships running smoothly. It’s often very difficult to even know that a problem exists and needs attention.

How can you tell when couples counselling is necessary?

The following are signs to look for in your relationship that tell you it might be time to get couples’ counselling to help put the relationship back on the right track.

  1. You’re Not Communicating – Many relationship issues can come down to communication issues. This could be as literal as not talking to each other after an argument. But you can have communication problems even if you are talking. If your exchanges are predominantly negative or antagonistic or if one of you is afraid to raise a point for fear of it being blown out of proportion, those issues can be as much a ‘lack of communication’ as not talking at all.
  2. You Have the Same Arguments Over and Over Again – If you and your partner keep arguing about the same things, making the same points, repeating the same words, it’s a sign that you’re having difficulty resolving your problems.
  3. You Rarely or Never Have Sex – While its normal to go without sex for an extended period for many reasons, if it’s due to the fear of or absence of emotional intimacy, it can be a sign of a larger relationship issue.
  4. Every Little Thing Becomes a Big Thing – The toothpaste tube is squeezed in the middle. The dishes aren’t stacked in the dishwasher the right way. The light was left on again. When issues that really aren’t earth shattering are shattering your relationship, it could be time for counselling.
  5. You Consider Having an Affair – If you have unresolved issues with your partner, it could feel like you’re in a rut, or the relationship is stale. You long for the feelings and excitement you remember from when you first met. And the thought of having an affair enters your mind. But, as much as having an affair can cause serious problems in a relationship, it is often the result of serious problems relationship. Problems that counselling can help you with before things get worse.
  6. You Play the Blame Game – Do you constantly feel that everything would be okay if your partner would just change a habit or attitude? That’s like waiting for your cat to bark. There are two people in the relationship and if one of you silently waits for the other to change, it will not likely happen, and the issues won’t get resolved.
  7. You’ve Got a Secret (lots actually) – Okay, everyone keeps some secrets. But if you’re not telling your partner about things they really should know about, like a problem one of your children had at school; or you’re hiding credit card transactions; or you are keeping so many secrets, it’s like you’re living a secret life, it’s a good sign you have a relationship problem.

Couples counselling can help you and your partner learn how to communicate better, resolve conflicts, support each other and put trust and respect back into your relationship. If you would like to learn more about how couples counselling can help your relationship, contact us here at BRCook Psychological Services to schedule an appointment.

Bruce R. Cook

I have been a practicing mental health professional for the past 26 years and I have worked in various public and private practice settings throughout the GTA and Ontario. The populations that I work with are adults 18-64 and I have extensive experience working with both individuals on various presenting problems, and also as a couples’ therapist.

I am a certified solution-focused therapist, and I integrate a number of theoretical orientations into my practice including cognitive-behavioural, humanistic, psychodynamic, reality focused therapy. In essence, my experience and style have been dynamically moved into an eclectic approach that best seems to fit the client and their personal needs.
Bruce R. Cook