When you first fall in love, you’re flooded with oxytocin and other hormones that make you feel you can conquer any challenge that confronts you as a couple. Unless you learn basic communication skills, though, life’s inevitable challenges may get the best of you.
Our expert counselors at The Soho Center for Mental Health offer couples counseling at our Greenwich Village offices in New York City, New York. During couples counseling, you and your partner learn new ways to manage your emotions, express your feelings without blame, and to get your needs met within the relationship.
Is couples counseling right for you? Consider these five reasons why it might be.
1. You want a genuine partnership
You don’t have to be part of a long-standing couple to benefit from couples counseling. You also don’t have to wait until you hit a snag in your relationship.
Whether your romance is in its early days or whether you’re moving into a new stage — such as cohabitation or marriage — couples counseling helps you learn to listen more deeply and communicate more effectively. When each of you is able to get your needs met without engendering conflict, you flourish as a couple.
Even if you’re both madly in love and happy right now, sooner or later, you encounter challenges that may be difficult to navigate. If you’ve already gone through couples counseling, you’re forearmed with knowledge and skills that you use to clearly identify problems and negotiate solutions without blame.
2. One of you feels unhappy or unheard
It isn’t uncommon for one partner to be content in a relationship while the other struggles with fundamental issues, such as getting their sexual or emotional needs met. If only one partner is happy, though, the relationship has hit a snag and isn’t functioning as it should.
Most relationship issues stem from a lack of communication skills as well as trauma from the past that affects the way you now interpret and react to events and behavior. As part of your couples counseling, your expert counselor encourages each of you to share information about your past that helps you understand yourself better.
Once you identify patterns that affect your current situation, you’re able to recognize them and develop new and more productive coping techniques. The process of sharing past trauma or unconscious patterns also helps you and your partner understand each other more fully.
3. Somebody cheated
If you and your partner agreed to be monogamous, finding out about an affair can fracture trust and also make the faithful partner feel abandoned, hurt, and angry. Infidelity is the second most common reason for divorce, after a lack of commitment to the relationship.
Whether you had an affair yourself, or your partner cheated, repairing broken trust takes time. The impetus to have an affair may have come from past trauma that you or your partner are acting out right now, or it may be a subconscious or conscious way to call attention to your unhappiness.
Infidelity doesn't have to end your relationship. You can learn to move past the hurt and toward healing. If you decide to end the relationship, couples counseling helps you go through the uncoupling process with a minimum of trauma and blame.
4. Your sex life has fizzled
It’s normal for the hot-and-heavy era of your early romance to evolve to something calmer and less frequent. However, if you aren’t having sex regularly, or if one of you feels unsatisfied, couples counseling helps you reignite your passion for one another.
As with all other parts of your relationship, communication is key to a healthy and happy intimate life, too. Your counselor helps you talk about your personal needs and understand your partner’s needs so that you can both feel satisfied again (or for the first time).
5. You fight a lot
Conflicts and fights about child rearing, money, and other issues often arise because each of you has different values that you’ve always considered to be valid and true. By learning how to listen and to communicate your point of view clearly, you stop blaming your partner for being different than you are.
You can also apply the communication skills you learn in couples counseling to other facets of your life. Conflict is inevitable. However, when you learn how to listen, express your thoughts clearly, and develop negotiation skills, you can master conflicts instead of letting them master you.
In addition to improving your relationship with your partner, couples counseling improves your relationship with yourself. Through the process, you identify and deal with your own issues. You and your partner can also get help for mental health issues that affect the quality of your relationship, such as uncontrolled anger or substance abuse.
To find out more about couples counseling, use our online form, or call our friendly staff during office hours to schedule a consultation. You may also choose teletherapy, which we conduct through confidential and affordable video/phone consultations.