5 signs that your relationship may be in trouble
Are you feeling unhappy, unappreciated, and/or misunderstood by your partner? Are you constantly arguing these days – even over the smallest things? Maybe feeling let down or betrayed?
A healthy relationship can be challenging and requires hard work, especially when we are faced with additional stressors, such as financial concerns, an illness or death within the family, or a lifestyle change. When things are not going well in our relationships, we often feel a real sense of loneliness and emotional distress.
Early intervention is so important if you wish to get your relationship back on a positive track. Otherwise, long-term relationship problems can lead to resentment and it can become harder to find your way back to the happy and stronger couple you once were.
5 signs that your relationship may be in trouble
If you are experiencing any of the below signs on an ongoing basis with your partner, it might be time to consider relationship counselling.
1. Chronic criticism
Do you or your partner constantly criticise each other over small things, such as how you dress, how you prepare meals, or how the kids are cared for? If you are always disrespecting each other and focusing on flaws rather than offering compliments, then you can find yourselves feeling contempt towards the other person.
Dr. John Gottman of the University of Washington, a foremost expert on couple studies, says “When contempt begins to overwhelm your relationship, you tend to forget entirely your partner’s positive qualities, at least while you’re feeling upset. You can’t remember a single positive quality or act. This immediate decay of admiration is an important reason why contempt ought to be banned from marital interactions.”
Therefore, this chronic criticism, or nitpicking, will eventually drive the other person away – despite how much they were initially loved. While in a relationship, we need to feel loved, appreciated, and have a mutual respect. Try complimenting each other instead.
2. Frequent and/or escalated arguing
Although conflict is likely to occur every now and again in relationships, if you are seeing a pattern of the same fight cropping up or if your arguments escalate to name calling and shouting, then it’s time to seek help.
Repetitive arguments mean that issues aren’t being resolved. And this will result in barriers that will eventually drive you apart.
Couples in healthy relationships are able to discuss their opinions or disagreements respectfully and can compromise when necessary. If you find yourselves too angry to talk about the matter calmly, it’s best to have a break from one another until you calm down. Then try to address the issue again.
3. Afraid to be vulnerable
Do you feel comfortable being honest and opening up to your partner? Or do you fear that you’ll be ridiculed or dismissed if you do? This is another sign of being in a dysfunctional relationship.
Being able to share your thoughts, hopes, and dreams with another person is key to developing and continuing a strong bond with someone. And if you feel you can’t do that, then you’ll struggle to feel any meaningful intimacy between you.
This is why it’s important to dedicate some time alone, which may mean scheduling in a date night if you have kids, to keep in touch with each other’s inner thoughts and feelings.
Is the silent treatment a regular occurrence with your partner? Do you or your partner ‘close up’ and avoid talking to the other person about a particular issue?
This withdrawal usually occurs when arguing happens frequently and either one or both of you feel tired, angry, or frustrated about an unresolved issue.
If you are experiencing withdrawal, then I recommend calmly approaching the other person and be completely prepared to listen to their side of the story.
One of the most obvious signs of trouble in a relationship is where one of the people has an affair. Whether it is emotional or physical, it doesn’t matter – it can still have the same impact of hurt and distrust.
People usually cheat when they feel a sense of emotional disconnection from their partner. Or perhaps it stems from feelings of anger or resentment.
Many couples feel that infidelity is a deal breaker. However, it all comes down to the willingness to set things right again in the relationship and determination to rebuild that trust. I highly recommend a relationship counsellor in this scenario, as it’s usually quite hard to address and overcome the hurt without an objective party involved.
Benefits of Relationship Counselling
If any of the above issues are ringing true to you, then it may be time to see a relationship counsellor.
Relationship counselling provides a confidential and supportive forum for which you can safely discuss concerns, feel heard, and start to understand each other in a way that is going to be most helpful moving forward.
Counselling sessions will help you to:
- Increase communication through developing and learning new skills
- Understand and modify unhealthy patterns of behaviour, such as avoidance
- Re-negotiate relationship commitments to each other
- Improve emotional connection and intimacy
Relationship counselling is best when both parties attend, however individual relationship counselling can be just as helpful at times when one party is not keen.
The journey of finding our way back to a happier and stronger relationship may not always be easy, but if both people love one another, are open to compromise, and committed to making changes – a new, and often deeper connection is possible.
If you’d like to talk to someone about your relationship struggles, I’m here for you. You can call me 0404 032 636 or make an appointment today.
Do you need Counselling Support?
If you need counselling support, contact Kylie Lepri for a FREE 15-minute phone call to discuss your situation and find out how she can help. Call us now on 0404 032636 or book your free phone call online.
Kylie Lepri is a registered Psychotherapist, Marriage & Relationship Counsellor, Clinical Supervisor, and Training Consultant. Since 2003 she has helped individuals and couples work through life stressors, develop new goals and create better relationships. Get Kylie’s FREE ebook: 5 Proven Strategies to help manage stress today, by joining her newsletter here.