Most of us will be part of a couple at some point in our lives. Being in a healthy love relationship can be a terrific source of support and happiness.
But when a relationship is not going well, it can put a tremendous strain on our health and well-being.
Couples come in all colours, shapes and sizes – same sex, heterosexual, dating, live in, married, never married, remarried, etc.
Every relationship goes through rough patches. Financial problems, health issues, or an unfair division of labour at home can really put a relationship to the test. How we handle ourselves in these situations can mean the difference between a relationship that adapts and grows stronger – and one that cracks and eventually ends.
Signs that your relationship may be in trouble.
While it is true that all relationships have highs and lows, sometimes couples need professional help to get the relationship back on track. Here are some signs that you may need to seek help – before it’s too late.
- You avoid talking with your partner about issues.
- You are putting more into your relationship, compared to your partner.
- When you talk about issues, you try to convince or influence your partner to see things your way – instead of sharing and connecting.
- You avoid bringing up topics because you think your partner will react negatively.
- You seem to be doing more things apart, than together.
- You have negative thoughts or feelings about your partner.
- You don’t feel like your authentic self with your partner.
- You and/or your partner are abusive (verbally, emotionally or physically).
- You feel on edge or a sense of dread when you are with your partner.
- You are thinking of having an affair (emotional or physical).
Some couples simply need a “check-up” when they are experiencing increased stress or a transition (i.e., more responsibility at work, birth of a child, moving).
What you can do.
When the pressure rises, effective communication and problem solving skills can help draw you closer to your partner. Creating a positive, loving relationship takes time and effort. If your relationship is struggling, get help. Talk with a counsellor, social worker or psychologist trained in relationship and/or marriage counselling. They can help you and your partner gain insight into your relationship, and develop skills to communicate and problem-solve more effectively.
Check out these links for information about couples’ weekend retreats, blogs and relationship books.
Hugh McGeary, MSW, RSW, Marriage and Family Therapist
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