Sometimes problems in relationships sneak up slowly and we become so used to them that we don’t even recognise them as a problem that needs dealing with. Other times we may be so busy with parenting or work responsibilities that we just don’t have the energy to deal with a problem. Or it may be that one partner or spouse is a very giving person who always makes excuses for her partner’s behaviour, whatever it may be.
Then one day you realise that the problem has escalated out of control, or that you simply are not interested in living with your spouse anymore. The trouble is that divorce can cause as many problems as it solves, especially when there are children. If you stop for a few moments and assess your relationship, you may realise that it is time for couple counselling. Here are 8 pointers to help you make that decision.
- When you are not talking, talk is always negative or you are afraid to talk. Communications is often an issue in relationships and if it continues the relationship cannot help but break down. A counsellor can help you find ways of communicating that don’t lead to arguments or one spouse feeling let down.
- When you begin to think of your partner as an adversary. Marriage should be a partnership, not a continual struggle to get what you want as against what he wants. If your spouse becomes an antagonist you cannot have a good relationship.
- Keeping secrets from each other, or one person keeping secrets. While you have a right to privacy, keeping secrets about what you do, where you go and how much you spend is not healthy.
- If you fantasize about having an affair it is time for counselling because it means you are not happy with what you have. Few relationships can be restored after this fantasy becomes a fact, so the time to get counselling is now. Financial infidelity is just as bad. If one partner cannot be transparent about bills, debts and savings it means they feel guilty about something or they want to dominate and control you.
- When you think your relationship would be fine if only he would change – and especially if you try to do it. The only person you can change is yourself.
- When your sex life changes significantly. The honeymoon won’t last forever and this is normal, but if it swings to either extreme it usually means trouble either in a lack of interest or guilt for something he is trying to make up for.
- Bickering over trivial things all the time. A counsellor can help the couple to figure out the real root of the problem.
- Big arguments over big issues – such as parenting techniques – that never get resolved.