If you’re in a relationship and you’re having some bumps in the road, when do you know you need the help of a therapist? You should be able to handle your own problems with your mate, right? How bad do things need to get between the two of you before seeking help? If you don’t think you have any problems in your partnership that you can’t fix yourself, here are some tell-tale signs that it’s time to reach out and seek counseling:
· You max out your wife’s credit card at a department store and hide the receipts.
· Your husband unexpectedly brings home his secretary from work and wants the three of you to go out on a date and you agree without question.
· Your wife spends six months out of the year in a foreign country and you don’t really miss her.
· You wake up in the middle of the night screaming “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!”
· You would rather binge-watch SpongeBob Squarepants than go out with your mate.
· You’re the one knocking yourself out keeping the house neat and clean and your live-in mate refuses to lift a finger.
· Your close friends have stopped returning your calls since you moved in with your boyfriend.
· A couple of your best friends, with a concerned look on their faces, ask if everything is ok with you and your mate and you react like they’re off their rocker.
· You put on your red dress, fix your hair, and look drop-dead gorgeous and your husband doesn’t bat an eyelash.
· Your boyfriend walks up behind you unexpectedly, puts his hands around you and your first instinct is to grab a butcher knife.
· Your mother has stopped asking why you and your wife don’t come to visit.
· Your girlfriend brings you a bouquet of flowers out of the blue and you suspect she’s having an affair.
· When your mate feels more like a roommate than a bedmate.
· Your evenings consist of reading or watching movies and falling asleep to them in bed.
· Your sweetie calls you by another woman’s name by mistake more than once or twice.
· There’s always a gun lying on the table … just in case.
· You reluctantly spend your free time with your mate and his beer-drinking, boisterous buddies whom you despise because you want to fit in.
· You sheepishly apologize when your mate berates you over not dropping off her clothes at the dry cleaners.
· You’re paying your live-in boyfriend’s half of the rent and he doesn’t see anything wrong with it, even though he is gainfully employed and it’s a hardship on you.
What Might It Mean?
What’s happening here?
· You might feel you have no control over your environment, that you are being led in life rather than leading the life you desire.
· You might be avoiding standing up for yourself when you feel s/he has wronged you.
· You might be internalizing your mate’s complaints and generalizations.
· You might feel psychologically controlled by your mate and you accept it and swallow your pride.
· You might not like conflict, would rather leave well enough alone, not rock the boat.
· You might be giving up your independence in exchange for living your boyfriend’s life because you feel it’s the best you can do.
· You might be avoiding having a heart-to-heart discussion with your mate when an issue pops up that upsets you because you fear her response.
· You might be putting approval and recognition ahead of what you think and feel, making compromises that don’t serve you, depriving you mate of your true feelings.
Avoiding or Repairing the Unraveling
What does ignoring or accepting discord and losing yourself in your relationship lead to? Unhappiness, depression, anxiety, an unfulfilling life. Any one of these alone can profoundly affect your mental and physical well-being. You may be living in an unauthentic, unfulfilling relationship and having serious regrets.
Seeking therapy can help you keep minor symptoms and unhealthy behaviors from spiraling out of control into something more serious as time goes by. Life can get stressful and complicated. Learning to develop healthy reactions and feelings when encountering relationship problems can help you become resilient, better able to cope, and bounce back quicker when you and your mate don’t see eye to eye. Counseling can help you see aspects of your relationship that you can’t see yourself. You can save your relationship … or you can come to realize that your happiness and fulfillment belong elsewhere.