By Carly Haeck, MS, LMFTA
Not sure if you should give couples therapy a try? Couples therapy is often only seen as a viable option when it is an alternative to breaking up – a last ditch effort to save the relationship. While therapy can certainly be a game changer for couples in crisis, we believe that it can also be helpful to view couples therapy as preventative healthcare for your relationship. Here are some instances in which couples therapy might be helpful:
You and your partner are experiencing a major transition
Whether it’s moving in together, getting married, having a baby or beginning a long distance relationship, therapy can help strengthen the foundation of your relationship as well as prepare you for obstacles you may face along this new journey. For example: When you’re facing a transition that may mean spending less time together, it’s important to form boundaries around your relationship, such as scheduling a regular date night for you to reconnect after the busy work week. Or, if you are moving in together, it can be helpful to discuss how you will maintain boundaries around your own individual identity, as well. Many couples benefit from treating therapy like a “check up” at the doctor’s office- why not invest a little time and energy to ensure your relationship is in good health?
Couples therapy can also be helpful when you and your partner are experiencing a loss. Grief can feel incredibly isolating, and can take on a toll on a relationship even if you know your partner is experiencing something similar. Couples therapy can help you turn towards each other for support during this difficult time instead of each battling it on your own.
Sex is unsatisfying
Many couples report that while everything else is going well in their relationship, sex has declined over time. Or, perhaps there is a discrepancy in desire between partners, or one partner is uncomfortable with another’s sexual interests. Despite humans being sexual creatures, many of us are unfortunately never educated about how to discuss and problem solve around sex. While it may feel easier to brush aside one’s own sexual needs instead of addressing them head on, it is important for the long term health of your relationship to find ways that both partners can feel sexually satisfied. Couples therapy can be a safe space to learn how to talk about sex with your partner.
You have different expectations for the future
We all carry with us (consciously or not) expectations for relationships and families based on what we grew up with. If you and your partner grew up in different cultures or family structures, it can be helpful to have a safe space to thoughtfully discuss what values are important to each of you.
This post was originally published by Emerald City Sanctuary at www.ecstherapists.com.