You’ve been together for a while, and things are going great. You love your partner, they love you back, and your relationship is all you could have ever hoped for—or at least that’s what it seems like. The truth is, though, everyone has bad days or moments of weakness from time to time. Couples who can navigate these challenging periods together learn more about each other as individuals and in their relationships than those who don’t. Sure, counseling isn’t always necessary for every couple—but when should you see a therapist? Here are three questions to help decide if this is something worth exploring:
The truth is, though, everyone has bad days or moments of weakness from time to time.
Are you two willing to commit to a therapeutic process?
If you’re both willing to commit to the therapeutic process, then the next question is “How long will you need therapy?”
Therapy isn’t a quick fix. It takes time and effort on your end, and there’s no guarantee that it’ll be effective in helping your relationship improve. However, with commitment comes results—the more committed you are, the faster things can change for the better. It’s important to remember this when considering whether or not to see a therapist: if it wasn’t something that resonated with each of you individually before entering into this relationship together, then it may not be right for either of you at all (or maybe just one person).
Do you see a pattern of repeated episodes or cycles of fights or disconnections?
If you are in a constant state of conflict or have a history of fighting, it may be time to seek help. If your fights seem to occur at the same times each week—such as after work or on weekends—that could be a red flag that there is something deeper going on between you and your partner (e.g., you two might not feel safe enough to talk about difficult things).
If this sounds like you, consider scheduling an appointment with either a couples therapist or individual therapist who can help guide you through these issues while also addressing what is causing the fighting itself.
Have you both had past experiences that make the relationship harder?
- Have you both had past experiences that make the relationship harder?
- Can each person talk about the past without blaming or shaming the other?
- Do events from the past still, have an impact on how you view one another and yourself today?
Couples therapy is beneficial and essential, but you and your partner must both agree to it
It’s not enough to just say, “Hey, let’s go see a couples therapist.” You and your partner have to be on board with the idea of therapy before trying it out. I’d say that half of my clients who come in with their partners (or who have recently come in together) end up breaking up within a few months after starting treatment because they aren’t working together toward the same goals during what’s supposed to be this collaborative process. If one person is against going in at all or feels like all they’re doing is sitting there listening while their partner gets “fixed,” then even if progress does happen for some reason or another during those sessions, both parties may feel dissatisfied by the experience overall—and that could lead them down separate paths afterward anyway!
The key question here is: do you want this? Before making an appointment or scheduling time off from work so that you can both attend sessions together (which will probably last longer than just one hour), ask yourself why are we doing this again? What about our relationship needs fixing? How will this help us grow closer as individuals as well as lovers?
The most successful couples say, ‘We talked it through and we’ve made a plan for everything.’
We hope this guide has helped you decide whether couples therapy is right for your relationship. If you’re wondering what the next step is, here are some expert recommendations: If both of you agree that couples therapy would be helpful, then set up an appointment with a professional therapist. The most important thing is to make sure that both of you see eye-to-eye on this – if there’s any doubt about whether or not it will lead anywhere productive, then maybe wait until later down the road when things might feel less tense before deciding whether or not this step will be worth taking together (or at all).