Are you starting to wonder if your relationship is at the point of no return? Are you wondering if you need help? These doubts tend to creep in when constant conflict, emotional disconnect, or intimacy issues are becoming a regular part of your relationship’s daily reality.
Are there patterns of lying in your relationship? Infidelity? Small bickering moments that escalate into all-out fights? Insults, outbursts, and mood swings? Less and less time together? Or, is it beyond the obvious? Is it more about how you feel around your partner - disconnected, ignored, disrespected, unloved, or abandoned.
Whether you’re at the beginning of this relationship rollercoaster, or deep into the weeds of ongoing problems, you’re probably wondering if it’s time to seek out professional help. So how do you know when you’re experiencing normal relationship issues, rather than in need of some serious fixing?
Normal vs. Critical
The truth is, everyone’s relationship will involve arguments, disconnect, communication challenges, and emotional and intimacy hurdles over time. The more you get to know someone, the more comfortable you will likely be airing your opinions without much filter, or expressing your emotions in a more direct (and sometimes thoughtless) way. It’s okay to have conflict, and to understand that learning to set and maintain healthy boundaries and develop good communication in your relationship will take time and effort, on both sides.
So how do you know when your relationship needs help?
- Constant Criticism: There is a distinct difference between offering constructive critique to your partner, and blaming all of your arguments on what you perceive as their shortcomings. If criticisms are being offered on one or both sides at a reckless and useless level, rather than as a form of constructive growth, it may be time to get help.
- Growing Contempt: When your arguments and disagreements become characterized by a sense of contemptuous superiority, or you or your partner are mocking, cruel, or mean, when you feel cornered or are trying to make a point, it is likely time to get help for your relationship issues.
- Destructive Defensiveness: When you or your partner offer constructive criticism (the positive kind), or ask questions, is there a consistently defensive response? Defensiveness is characterized by a refusal to accept or listen to critique, and often by a counter-attack (such as insults or a flipped script) rather than a serious attempt to listen, absorb, understand, and grow.
- Shutting Down: Also known as “Stonewalling” in relationships, shutting down involves a refusal to engage or communicate with your partner when there is a concern or something to be resolved. If there is a growing pattern of withdrawing, use of the “silent treatment” as a weapon, and/or a refusal to engage in healthy dialogue about relationship problems, it’s probably time to get help for your relationship.
- Physical Escalation: If your relationship has reached the point of physical altercation, you definitely need to seek help. When relationships move past concerns like alienation, defensiveness, withdrawal, etc. and move into the realm of physical abuse, you must seek support to ensure the safety of you and your partner and to salvage things before it is too late.
If you’re realizing it’s time to seek help for your relationship issues, Grouport can offer you that support today. Our online group therapy for relationship issues covers a myriad of problems and is led by licensed mental health professionals who truly care about your wellbeing and your future. Reach out today and one of our qualified intake coordinators will help you get started!