Is It Time for Counseling?

Some love troubles - spats over dirty dishes, a little jealousy over a cute new coworker, that ratty college sweatshirt he just won't throw out - you can handle on your own. But sometimes you need to call in the pros.

For many, counseling is seen as the last resort. But therapists say far too many couples wait for help until it's too late. By the time you make your first appointment, too much resentment and bitterness have built up, blocking the chance of real change.

It's never too soon to call for help, if you've experienced any of these signs:

Therapy Tip-Off #1: You're Stressed

Stress - an unexpected loss of a job, a death of a loved one - can screw up even strong relationships. Stress can make us behave in strange ways; a sweet and thoughtful partner may become distracted or withdrawn. Couples in stressful situations may pull away from each other, instead of pulling together. A therapist can help couples manage their stress as individuals, so their union emerges stronger after that setback.

Therapy Tip-Off #2: Talking Gets You Nowhere

You're trying to communicate, but your conversations seem to make never-ending circles. You end discussions feeling frustrated and confused.

Therapy Tip-Off #3: Talking? You Quit

Do you avoid bringing up certain subjects in conversation? Or make an effort to even avoid each other - by working longer hours or spending more time out with friends? Do you know that any conversation will turn into a shouting match? Often feel like you have nothing left to say?

Therapy Tip-Off #4: The Dynamic's Changed

Sometimes even good news, like a demanding new career or an eagerly anticipated new baby, can take a toll on couples. Big new changes can alter the dynamic of a relationship. If your relationship suddenly takes a back seat to a new baby or job, resentment and anger can build. A little time on the couch can help you air out those feelings and reconnect.

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