You wouldn't expect your car to run on empty, so why would your relationship?
Most of us will only think to attend couples’ counselling when we’re in crisis, but what if the way we look at relationship support needs to change?
What about when everything seems to be going well but you can’t get those niggling concerns out your mind? Or you are happy but you have mild concerns such as “Last week, did we actually talk at all, we were so busy?” or “We are great together, but are we really ready to start a family?”.
Ideally, it’s good to treat your relationship as something that requires nurturing and development work.
So, that being said… when is the last time you had a check in with your partner? Asking questions such as:
- Are we both getting everything we need from this relationship?
- How can we better support each other?
- When should we deal with “XYZ”
- Do we want to change anything?
We’ve got 5 Key Signs, drawn on from our extensive experience working with couples in all stages of their relationships, that actually… you may be due that check in.
1. Arguments that go round and round or remain unresolved
It’s normal to argue, in fact it’s healthy to do so, because it allows us to bring differences to the surface and express them openly, and then work out some ways forward.
Healthy arguments are where each person makes their views known, and each listens to what the other has to say. People take it in turns to speak, and you acknowledge each-others points, even if you don’t agree; this shows you have heard what your partner is saying, and without such acknowledgement they are likely to say it again, in a different way, or louder, because they don’t feel heard. Sound familiar?
In a healthy argument, feelings may run high, you may both feel annoyed and/or somewhat upset, but healthy arguments clear the air and open the way to constructive discussions.
Your Relationship check-up may be (over) due when: Arguments are hard to resolve/ repetitive or seem to go round in circles, end in tears, stand-offs and tense silences (that if on-going, may also affect others around you, especially your children, close family and friends, or pets).
2. Mutual Attraction
Each person is unique, and when you fell in love it was for all sorts of reasons.
Many aspects of your partner can attract and intrigue you; their smile; their sense of humour; their originality; their creative genius; their prowess at sports or dancing, blogging or gardening, their financial wizardry or the fun holiday ideas they always come up with, their kindness, their calm in a crisis, their lively fun-loving spirit, their support for you when you are feeling frazzled or down, the unselfconscious way they wear their Christmas sweater, their cute idea that they are ever going to be good at tennis, their determination and drive.
Maybe it’s the way they get what you mean, the way they laugh, their eyes, their laid-back style, their skill at cheering up your mother when she’s in a mood, their willingness to do chores you hate, their generosity or their ability to quietly hold onto hope through difficult times.
Do your hearts still lift a little when you catch sight of each other? Do your eyes meet in a loving and knowing glance, that is special and private? Do you both feel close, loving and cared for? Is your sex life still fun?
Answering no to one or more question could mean that your Relationship check-up may be (over) due.
"When you each find yourselves talking to close family and friends about your partner, sometimes you are having a bit of a moan about them"
3. Irritating habits that your partner has developed
You’ve started to notice that your partner has developed some annoying habits or behaviours.
For example, although they say they don’t expect you to do their ironing, if you don’t, they pop on an un-ironed garment, assuring you the creases will ‘just fall out’ on the way to work.
Or, despite knowing you like to have several peaceful nights in with them on weekdays, and at least one full day to catch up and do stuff together at the weekend, your partner often invites friends, family, even colleagues around, often without much or any notice.
Or, yes, you are proud of their great job, but your partner spends half of most evenings at work, and half the weekend on work tasks too!
Or, it’s great that your partner is fun-loving and sociable, but do they really need to tweet, text and generally stare at their phone quite so much? Or… whatever.
The point here is, they weren’t irritating before, yet now they are… This can be a sign that your Relationship check-up is (over) due.
4. You don’t get to spend that much time together & you talk to others more than each other.
You both have lives you love, and it’s great to be busy and absorbed by work, play and activities; both of you value your independence and your commitments to family, friends and colleagues.
But, quality time together… when and how often is that happening? Every day? Every weekend? Once a week? Once a month? Once in a blue moon?!
Quality time means different things to different people, and may include staying in, going out or doing activities you love together; having a sexual relationship you enjoy and that’s right for each of you; enjoying holidays or time off together, without having to worry about others.
Whatever it means to you, if you aren’t getting good quality, enjoyable, satisfying and happy time together regularly, it may be a sign that your Relationship check-up is (over) due.
"Treat your relationship as something that requires nurturing and development work"
5. Telling Tales
You are proud of each other and sometimes boast about how great your partner is – in fact sometimes you totally BORE family friends or colleagues with your admiring or oh-so-in-lurve comments about each other… is that still happening?
Or if not, can you recall how long ago it stopped? Are you finding yourself with a bit less to say about how great they are, these days? And/or, is it a while since you felt a glow of pleasure as your partner praised you or appreciatively spoke of you to others? It could even be that when you each find yourselves talking to close family and friends about your partner, sometimes you are having a bit of a moan about them?
If either or both of you are finding yourselves talking more to others about worries, critiques or issues you have with your partner, it is very likely that your Relationship check-up is (over) due.
If you are affected by any issues in this article and you like to talk to someone, you can book in for relationship counselling here.