Even the healthiest relationships can experience their fair share of ups and downs, with internal and outside conflicts alike demanding mutual attention. But sometimes certain conflicts take a little longer to resolve, and often require a third and impartial party to mediate. Infidelity, addiction, and financial strain (to name a few) can prove detrimental if not dealt with by a professional trained in relationship counseling.
In-person and online counseling have both proven successful for countless couples in need of guidance, and here are a few common symptoms of a relationship in need of professional help.
Common symptoms of a relationship in need of professional help
Infidelity can happen in any relationship, with either or both parties admitting guilt. In such cases you first must decide if you're going to stay together or separate. If you choose to stay together and work through it, it's important to understand that overcoming infidelity is not unlike the 5 stages of guilt: there will be intense feelings of denial, anger, bartering for leverage or “revenge,” possible depression, and then ultimately acceptance. A licensed therapist will be able to help you navigate these inevitable stages, acting as both mediator and advisor for you and your partner, in pursuit of a stronger, more committed relationship than ever.
2. Lack of Communication
Communication is vital in every relationship, and where there's silence there won't be much progress. Many couples cease communicating out of fear of confrontation or due to an inability to be open and vulnerable; many couples may not even realize there's a failure in communication at all! Whatever the issue may be, if you and your partner aren't talking, then it may help to speak to a third party who can mediate without taking sides, and encourage productive discourse.
Whether it's gambling, sex, or substance-related, addiction is a very serious symptom of a deeper underlying issue, and few couples can survive these difficult instances without the assistance of highly experienced professionals trained in such areas. If you or your partner are struggling with an addiction, a counselor can not only guide you to the right sources for recovery, but help you rebuild a foundation of trust and support in your relationship.
Everyone experiences grief differently, and you and your partner may not share the exact same process. The loss of a beloved family member or friend can rattle a relationship to its core, and without the proper guidance and constructive support you may find your relationship suffering. A licensed grief counselor, either online or in-office, can help you and your partner address your grief and work through it in a mutually empathetic and productive way.
5. Loss of Physical Intimacy
Physical intimacy is an essential aspect of a healthily functioning relationship. When a couple ceases to enjoy giving and receiving physical pleasure, it's often due to an underlying issue or stress factor. Depression, grief, changes in health, and various stress factors can all interfere with our ability to experience physical intimacy, and should be addressed accordingly.
6. Lack of Variety
It's natural for a relationship to fall into a routine of sorts, and is more often than not the mark of healthy stability. Work, children, and everyday responsibilities can necessitate an orderly structure, but are you and your partner making time for the unexpected and adventurous? Are you planning activities, projects, and new ways of getting to know each other, or has routine seeped into every aspect of your life together? A trusted relationship counselor can help you put the spark back in your relationship, as well as establish a life outside of structured obligations.
7. Ongoing Arguments
It's normal for couples to fight from time to time, and such instances, painful as they may be, provide a necessary catharsis for both parties. However, ongoing squabbles or full-blown disputes can signify either an unaddressed issue or stagnation, in which case a counselor who specializes in relationships and conflict resolution can put you back on the right track to healthy communication.
8. Parenting Issues
Raising children is one of the biggest jobs a couple will ever face, and it's hardly an easy task. Parents who have children with physical and/or learning disabilities, behavioral problems, or are coping with a dramatic life change can experience overwhelming stress that inevitably affects their relationship with each other. Maintaining a healthy and happy relationship is just as important as bringing up a child, as the overall environment is felt by all. A relationship counselor can guide you through the difficult stages and choices of co-parenting, as well as help you establish intimate space apart.
9. Anger Issues
Financial woes, problems at work, and everyday stress factors can bring even the most mild-mannered person to a boiling point. But ongoing anger issues can bring about serious consequences, including bodily harm and a destructive home environment. On top of seeking anger management assistance, it's important for you and your partner to reestablish a safe and trusting relationship with each other as well.
Please Note: This does not include physical abuse, which should absolutely be reported to the police and dealt with by taking the appropriate legal steps.
10. Lack of Trust
Trust is one of the most important factors of a healthy relationship; without it there isn't much of a foundation to build upon. While suspicion and mistrust typically follow a period of infidelity, it can also be a symptom of stress, anxiety, and low self esteem. In more extreme cases, a severe lack of trust can bring about serious breaches in personal boundaries. It's important that you and your partner discuss the underlying root causes for such behavior and misgivings, ideally under the skilled supervision of a counselor.
Seeking the help of a trained professional can make all the difference in the quality of your relationship. No relationship is immune to life's struggles, but with the right counseling you can certainly overcome them. There have been a number of advances in the counseling structure in recent years, with online counseling swiftly replacing the need for in-office visits. Fully licensed and able to conduct sessions online at a time that works within your scheduling needs, an online therapist can help you and your partner forge the best chapter of your relationship yet.