Are you considering couples counseling, but still not certain it’s right for your relationship? It can be helpful to first evaluate the current health of your relationship.
When evaluating the health of your relationship there are several areas you can investigate. In fact, below we have compiled a list of common areas we see in the couples we work with. While they do not necessarily indicate poor relationship help, if five or more of the following items are true for your relationship, you may be a good match for couples counseling.
- You lead “separate lives” despite sharing a household
- You mostly speak about finances, household chores and other necessary tasks
- You have sex less than once weekly
- Your partner feels more like a business partner than a romantic partner
- You often find yourself attracted to, or flirting with, members of the opposite sex
- Your relationship is less about passion and enthusiasm, more about routine and responsibility
- Rather than focusing on specific behaviors–such as wanting your partner to put their clothes away–you generalize, calling your partner “lazy, irresponsible, selfish,” etc.
- You find yourself fantasizing about leaving your relationship
- Your friends and family don’t understand why you are with your partner
- You have tried buying a new house, moving or having children to “fix” your relationship
- You rarely talk directly about your relationship, unless you are fighting
- You rarely hug, hold hands or touch in a non-sexual way
- Your parents do not/did not have a great relationship
- You find it difficult to discuss sex with your partner
- You feel there is a “power” imbalance in the relationship.
- You fear expressing your real feelings to your partner
- You often find yourself dreading your partner returning home, or dread coming home yourself
- The same fights come up again and again
- Date nights happen infrequently
- Your partner “changed” a few years into the relationship
- You share few interests with your partner
- You find yourself frequently comparing your partner–unfavorably–to a friend or co-worker
- Despite your long-term relationship, you maintain close relationships with members of the opposite sex
- You feel that some degree of dishonesty is a necessary “peacekeeper” in most relationships
- Since having kids, your sex life “isn’t what it used to be”
- Your often go to someone other than your partner for emotional support
If you identify with five or more, go ahead and discuss couples therapy with your partner. Even taking the time to discuss a preliminary session is a step in the right direction.
For the first meeting, a joint session is usually best. However, this is not required, if you feel it would be best for one member of the couple to meet individually at first. During this initial meeting, the therapist will gather information about the couple’s history and background. Recent and longstanding issues within the relationship will be explored. Persistent arguments will be examined in detail, and individual communication styles will be assessed. Based on this information, the therapist will suggest a specific treatment plan for moving forward.