Relationship Guidance: When is it Really Time For Couples Therapy?
If the coronavirus pandemic has reminded us of something, it is that relationships are fragile and often built on too many unrealistic expectations. Even the relationships with solid foundations are contested daily, but the difference is that repairs of such structures are easier and faster. So what can couples do, those who decide to fight for their relationship and to heal their bond no matter what? They should seek relationship guidance. But first, they need to realize they need assistance.
How does it all start?
The current situation has left many people stranded in their current locations, putting an additional strain on their lives.
At the moment, many couples are trying to make a long-distance relationship work in these uncertain times.
It doesn’t surprise that feelings of loneliness and jealousy may undermine the communication burdened by this unpredictable situation.
But the pandemic is not the only quake shaking the relationship foundations.
Poor communication is simply one of the weak links; sexual concerns, financial problems, and affairs have the power to sever the bond.
If left untreated, the wounds torn by bottled-up emotions will fester, eventually causing the bitter end of an otherwise promising relationship.
Luckily, there are ways to save and mend the relationship, as long as both partners are committed to the cause.
When is the right time to seek relationship guidance?
According to many licensed couples’ therapists, most of their clients have waited too long to ask for help.
There is no specific time, though.
Every relationship is different and issues, however common they seem, require a tailored approach at solving.
The prevailing source of most relationship issues is conflict avoidance.
A burden piled over the years is not easily moved, although it is finally easily recognizable.
It remains for couples to stop in their tracks from time to time and make a realistic assessment of their relationship.
Recognizing the symptoms is the first step.
The healing starts when both partners agree to mend the mutual bond.
The ideal moment to seek relationship guidance is not when things get out of control.
It is when the first signs show that something is wrong.
Therapists claim that this is indeed possible. Escaping reality has never helped anyone and suppressing negative feelings is the path to bitter disappointment and despair.
Before things get too complicated, couples can find advice in bestselling relationship books.
However, in case the couple recognizes the signs of a damaged relationship too late, they should head straight to couples therapy.
Which signs are those?
The breach of trust, arguments that solve nothing, long-term poor communication or lack thereof, inability to cope with a devastating emotional trauma, absence of physical or emotional intimacy, and feeling stuck in negative patterns.
If only couples would perceive relationship therapy more as a preventive medicine than an inevitable surgery, they would implement it in their lives much sooner.
What makes couples avoid relationship guidance?
Timing is vital, but many avoid reaching out to a therapist even though they are aware of the issue.
The most common obstacle that prevents many couples to look for relationship guidance is the presence of a “third person” in their private life.
Moreover, strong feelings of embarrassment or frustration in admitting a failure make couples avoid professional guidance even though they could greatly benefit from it.
Also, the very cause of most relationship issues, the fear of confrontation, stands in the way of suggesting therapy to the other partner.
There is good news to many in this situation who have recognized the need for change.
One can start the therapy alone and after a while offer it to their partner.
Showing a willingness to repair the damaged bond is a brave step, as it requires breaking the ice and facing one’s fears.
Extending a hand of reconciliation leads to good results, more often than not.
The problem-solving techniques at therapists’ disposal may vary but they all have one thing in common – they aim for the root of the issue that neither of the partners is able or willing to recognize and accept.
What do relationship guidance therapists suggest?
Ideally, partners should dedicate time to do some things as a couple, strengthening their bond.
For example, exercise is something you can do together, or even taking a cooking class.
At the same time, creating a bubble of personal space is key to maintaining a sense of self within the relationship.
Encouraging each other’s interests and passions leads both to greater satisfaction with the relationship and self-value.
The willingness to solve relationship issues is at the core of successful couples therapy.
Then, the job of a therapist is to provide a new perspective and a buffer zone. Exactly in this zone, the process of healing can commence.
By creating a comfortable atmosphere where both partners feel appreciated, a relationship therapist is paving the road for the couple’s personal efforts in repairing.
Most of the relationship fixing happens outside of the therapist’s office after a shift in perspective happens and partners are provided with tools they can work with.
The best way to settle the differences between partners is to establish an open dialogue.
Once the communication is flowing in a neutral atmosphere, it becomes much easier to voice concerns.
It is voicing these deepest concerns that were pushed under the rug for too long which leads to solutions.
Facing the partner and admitting to fears, disagreements, and old resentments creates new behavioral paths.
The amount of time a couple needs to walk this path toward a healthier relationship depends on how early they ask for relationship guidance.
Relationship guidance can’t always help
Sometimes, even couples therapy is not able to save the relationship.
If the partners are not willing to cooperate or the toxic behavior has spread in every tissue of the relationship, the only remaining option is to part ways.
However, severing the bond that the couple has invested time and effort in should come as a last resort.
Seeking relationship guidance on time is the best way to give healing a chance.