Often times, couples are able to navigate the challenges that rock a relationship by themselves. However, there comes a time when you need to enlist help from a third party such as a counsellor. Which begs the question; when is the right time to seek help? Read on for the seven signs that it may be time for couple therapy.

Wh2en you are not on talking terms­: Many relationship issues stem from a breakdown of communication. When you and your partner can barely talk to each other save for when you need something from each other, it is definitely time to find a third party to help you resolve the underlying issues. Additionally, if all communication is negative or you are afraid of talking to your partner, it is imperative to see a counsellor before it escalates to emotional abuse or resentment which could spell doom for the relationship.

When affection is withdrawn as punishment: Sometimes the initial reaction after your partner has hurt you may be the urge to pay them back. Some people, therefore, resort to withholding affection by giving their partner the silent treatment, cutting back on words of affection or even refusing any kind of physical contact. On the flipside, some people detach themselves emotionally or physically from the relationship instead of addressing the issue at hand, leading to resentment.

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When your sex life has changed significantly often for the worse:You might have heard or used the phrase about being just roommates with your partner and frankly, it is not unusual for your sex life to taper after a while. However, when there is no sexual intimacy or sex with your partner is uncomfortable, things can go south pretty quick, especially if it was something that you two bonded over.

When you constantly argue over the same things: If all your arguments always circle back to that one thing, it may be time to seek reinforcements, also known as a relationship counsellor. They can help you break down your problems to get to the root cause of the argument. Furthermore, if you find that everything your partner does irritates you, find a counsellor because pent-up resentment eventually explodes leaving a path of destruction in its wake and your relationship will most likely take a hit.

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When there’s infidelity: Infidelity can take the form of emotional or physical cheating and it often escalates from emotional entanglements. If either of you find that they are constantly thinking about cheating, then it is time to seek help. If the underlying cause of the infidelity is not addressed, and in a proper setting such as couples’ therapy, it may recur and do even more damage to the relationship. As much as infidelity is one of the leading causes of divorce, there are couples who opt to stay together afterwards and for this to happen, trust must be restored.

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Being on the receiving end is usually frustrating and one may get the pressure of a response as to why their partner is behaving in such a way

When there has been a major life change: Changes such as the death of a loved one, job loss, big move or any traumatic experience may cause problems in the relationship especially if one or both of you do not find the right coping mechanisms. Several studies, for instance, show that a lot of relationships do not survive a chronic diagnosis or the death of a child. Other couples also find that their relationship breaks down if there are complications in childbearing. Whenever something like this happens, the best action to take is to seek help from a counsellor before irreversible damage is done.

Benefits of couples’ therapy: It is normal for you to feel apprehensive about opening up to someone who is essentially a stranger about your relationship woes. However, a counsellor offers a much-needed unbiased look into your problems. They also give you an opportunity to speak openly to your partner, help you deal with the differences and give support in case of psychological illness. The result of this is reduced stress, a stronger bond and improved communication.