I recently read a statistic indicating that couples wait an average of 6 years before seeking help once they notice problems in their relationship. Six years!!! By that time the problems that started off as little molehills are full-blown, snow covered, mountains. I think that part of the reason for this is the stigma attached to “getting help”. If you go for couples therapy then it means you have “failed” at your relationship. You should be able to do it on your own and if you can’t then you have a “bad relationship”. I think if would be more productive and serve us better if we reframed and focused on the bravery involved in getting the help and the tools you need to thrive in your relationships. Seeking help when the molehills are molehills shows foresight and a dedication to working for the love relationships that you want. It shows that you are paying attention to your life and living it rather than just along for the ride. Rather than a failure this is a way to stand up for your love and your partnerships. So, how do you know when it might be time to get a little therapeutic assistance in the form of couples therapy? What do those molehills look like anyway?
1) You no longer (or much less frequently) casually touch each other. From here it is not a far distance to having your sex life drop off as well. The bottom line is that the intimacy isn’t what it was before.
2) Your communication glitches outweigh the times when you are “getting” each other. This might cause an increase in bickering.
3) One or both of you feels unheard or lonely.
4) You are thinking about your partner or relationship negatively more often than positively.
5) You feel disconnected more often than you feel connected to each other.
6) You spend a lot less time engaged in quality time activities with each other. You have started to live separate lives.
There might even be more subtle things. You may feel that you want to see a therapist for a relationship reboot. Nothing is really wrong per se but you would like to increase your intimacy, passion or communication abilities. It is never too early to decide to work on greatness but when molehills become mountains sometimes it can be too late. Even when things are already pretty good it is possible to make them great. From this proactive perspective it is more about continuing to create the relationship that you want than about saving something that is falling apart.