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Thinking about breaking up? Is Relationship Therapy right for you?

4-6 minute read.

Relationship therapy isn’t just for crisis situations; it provides a space for open communication and understanding on a wide range of areas. This blog explains how and when its often used and the benefits.

The value of regular check-ins for all couples, not just those who are having troubles

A common misconception about relationship therapy that has been popularised by TV, movies, and other media is that it’s a last-ditch lifeline for couples who should really be thinking about separating. Many of the couples I’ve seen, however, are not at crisis point and have many good reasons to stay together. I always suggest to people that you should look after your relationship as you would your car; just as your car needs an MOT every now and again, regular check-ins can help the smooth running of your relationship. Romantic relationships should never be taken for granted. They require nurturing alongside open communication. Though communication on the surface seems like a simple task, it can be hard for some people to open up and express how they truly feel. It’s because of this that many couples find great benefits from going to therapy If you are concerned you’re reaching breaking point in your relationship, but you and your partner are still committed to each other and have good reasons to stay together, then of course, relationship therapy could help you make the right decision. But if you’re not at that point, there are lots of issues relationship therapy can help with.

Some of the issues relationship therapy can help with

Repetitive arguments

I will start by saying that it’s normal, even healthy, to argue in a relationship, and it shouldn’t be expected that you and your partner will never have conflict. Arguments help bring differences to the surface and allow you to navigate accepting these differences. However, it can be difficult to move forward when the same arguments keep coming up and one of you isn’t clearly expressing how you feel. It can also be difficult if how you argue feels “unfair” and one or both of you cuts the other off. Relationship therapy can provide space and encouragement for partners to get everything off their chest. Your therapist can help you find ways to communicate effectively when conflict arises so that both you and your partner feel you’ve said what you need to say. Your therapist can also encourage you to show understanding, take what your partner says into account, and find ways to navigate your differences.

Irritating habits

It is said that you only truly know someone when you live with them or spend such an amount of time together that it is like living with them. The closer you become with someone, the higher the chance that you’ll begin to discover things about them you find irritating. These can be very simple things like inviting people over without prior consent, or forgetting to hang up the laundry. When clients talk to me about habits of their partners that they find annoying, the first question I ask is, has this always annoyed you, or has the annoyance only recently begun? I ask because irritating habits can be signs of underlying issues that haven’t been addressed. For example, you could be having a bad day and want to spend some time alone, and when your partner invites guests over, you might not feel like they’re taking your mood or emotions into account. If your partner regularly forgets to hang the laundry, you may feel that they’re not being considerate of your time or things you’ve asked of them, which can be hurtful. Your partner may not understand how much their habits are affecting you, and talking openly and honestly about these things in a judgement-free space can help bring light to the importance they hold for both of you.

Spending time together

Everyone is different and everyone needs time away either alone or with friends or family to recharge. But it is important to communicate with your partner when and how you need to spend this time, or if you feel you are not spending enough time together. Life is busy, and it is easy to become absorbed in work or social events that do not include your partner. But just how much time should you spend away from each other? This is down to each couple and their individual needs. How you can best navigate spending time together, if each of you has a different opinion on how this should be done, is through open and honest communication. If you do not feel you and your partner spend enough quality time together, and you are finding it difficult to talk about, a therapist can help you explore the issue together.

Of course, couples have come to me to seek help with a wide range of issues that vary in scope well beyond what I have mentioned above, but the point stands that no issue is too big or too small to seek relationship therapy for if you feel it’s the right decision

All relationships benefit from regular check-ins, and if you feel that you might benefit from this, a therapist can competently support you.