Yes, love is a splendid thing... until it's not. Sometimes forever is just not in the cards. And often the story should've never begun. We have to learn to recognize when our "love" story has turned toxic. Couples go through ups and downs sure, that's why it's always a good idea to visit a third party, not sexually, but visiting a therapist is always healthy.
Sometimes an outside ear can bring it all together. And they can also let you know when it's time to run. They know the signs.Redditor u/Gnerdy was hoping some therapists out there would share with us about the times when they knew they were treating couples that may be beyond help by asking.... Couples therapists, without breaking confidentiality, what are some relationships that instantly set off red flags, and do you try and get them to work out?
I'm not a therapist, but my therapist straight face told me that "there are worse options than divorce".
Got divorced and it was the best thing that happened to me.
Choose for Us
One partner says they're seeking your services to help them determine if they want to stay together; the other partner says they're seeking your services to make it so they stay together.
Then it's about highlighting the points and allowing the person who is on the fence decide what they want, since the other person knows.
Edit: I am sorry to be reading about how many people experienced being the person who wanted to stay together when their partner was unsure. I hope that, whatever happened, you have found or are finding happiness again.
I saw a couple that was doing "retaliatory" cheating (and telling each other about it). When they got through their anger, they decided to call a truce and made peace. With their level of emotional maturity, I doubt it lasted. I don't know if I helped them or prolonged their suffering.
It was their decision to come to counselling, so I think it was the help they wanted.
Other clients realize what they really want is "divorce counselling". What's the best way to behave civilly and minimize damage to the kids while we go our separate ways?
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People who approach therapy with the idea that they must convince the therapist that they're right and their partner is wrong. Almost like they're complaining to a parent or boss to have them sort out the problems.
Relationship therapist here.
One of the biggest red flags I see when working with a new couple is when they've totally forgotten the good. Part of relationship therapy is reconnecting a couple with what they like about each other, what initially attracted them to each other, and what the positives are between them.
When people come in and they've been so unhappy for so long that they actually can't remember what it was like to be in love, or to even like each other, they're just about hopeless.
You don't have to be happy for therapy to work--but if you can't even reminisce about the good times, then the good times are probably over.
EDIT - This is clearly resonating with some folks, so I'd like to recommend a book. If you find yourself in this situation, check out "Hold Me Tight" by Dr. Sue Johnson. She gives some solid explanations of how people get into this cycle, as well as some suggestions on how to try and navigate it.
See One Another
When I see a couple in which one or both of the members are seeking to change something fundamental about the other person. We process where the need for the change comes from and the person with the issue evaluates whether it's a dealbreaker for them or not. We work on acceptance and tolerance of others. I also recommend my couples are also in individual therapy on their own.
Pleading the 5th....
I was in couples therapy. At the end of the first session, the therapist asked us to say one nice thing about each other. I went first, said something nice about him. Therapist asked him to say something, and he replied "My mother always told me if you can't say something nice, say nothing.
So I'll say nothing".
Felt so sorry for the therapist.
And yes, that's when I started planning my exit. I am now very happy in a new relationship and my "revenge" is to be living my beet life. Very happy now. :).
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Contempt. When I experience true contempt from one in the relationship I know it is usually over. Look towards a peaceful ending at that point if possible.
Not my client, but I had to watch as my own roommate dealt with her fiancè.
He was: A. controlling her (physically/activities/financials).
B. continuously dismissing her feelings/assessments/opinions (fiancè would revert to baby talk, speaking to roommate like she was an uneducated child, "daddy knows best" type of gaslighting garbage).
C. trying to hide his narcissistic tendencies behind his "good church boy" exterior.
This was all happening in my condo while she was waiting to move out and marry him. I usually tried to stay out of their issues, but one afternoon I softly encouraged her-- saying I agreed with her re: an argument I'd witnessed earlier in the day-- she came back that night after the fiancè convinced her that." I was jealous and was trying to break them up so I could have him..."
She barely talked to me again until she moved out. Sadly they did get married, have 2 kids, and she's a completely isolated stay at home mom. I don't even want to imagine what it's like for her at home.
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It's very easy to work out when one person knowingly prioritises their own wants and needs over their partners. Relationships like this are often doomed because the person simply doesn't care enough to make any meaningful change.
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Not a single thriving relationship has ever suddenly gone through a break up.
When things are ended, the deed comes after a slow creep, the confusing period of self-rationalizations, growing contempt, and willful denial.
After the creep swells for long enough, though, we begin to listen. Feeling unfairly irritable is not an example that you're a jerk, but that you need to listen. Avoidance does not automatically denote pure selfishness, rather forgivable distance or dissatisfaction.
The manifestation of the widening gap takes many forms, all of which Redditors have come across. One question beckoned a list of the great variety of signs that may arise.
FagnusTwatfield asked, "What are some signs that a relationship has run its course?"
The Heart-Sink Alarm
"If you find that you can only relax and be yourself when they aren't around, crushing you with the weight of their silent judgement and disapproval, it's way past the expiration date." -- downhereforyoursoul
"When you turn the corner driving home, and feel disappointment when you see her car in the driveway - because you know the minute you step in the door she's going to start crapping on you again." -- lucky_ducker
Opposite Sides of the Same Coin
"You've bottled your real feelings up so much that now everything they do or say fills you with contempt." -- breakfastinthemornin
From personal experience, the biggest indicator is when tensions should be high, you should be upset or arguing, but you just don't care anymore." -- ThunderPantsDance
Things that Thrive are not so Bitter
"When you start fighting about a lot of meaningless things. In many cases, I'd say it's a manifestation of the hesitation to deal with the quite harsh truth that you no longer feel that you want to be with the person."
Cold, Telling Indifference
"The sight of them does nothing for you. Getting a text or phone call from them elicits an eye-roll. You try to avoid them. You cannot hold a conversation with them because everything they say is irritating. You really could not care less about their day or anything they have to say to you. You find yourself fantasizing of a life without them... and it makes you smile."
Visceral Cues are Sometimes More Attuned
"While I couldn't pinpoint any one thing that was wrong, I started to get the sense he was annoyed with me, I said something wrong, he didn't want me around, etc. Trust your gut. Even if he's not experiencing anything wrong, you're clearly sensing something, so talk it out. Maybe he is cheating on you. Maybe you have unfounded trust issues."
"When you notice that your partner doesn't miss you (or vice versa) after being separated for a while. If you've been apart for a couple weeks or longer and your partner still feels no particular urgency to see you or talk to you, then the relationship is dead."
Forced or Compelled?
"When spending time is something you have to give effort to actively think about and plan out as opposed to something you look forward to and excitedly long for. I know that's what it was for me: she became a block in my schedule instead of the reason my schedule existed."
When "Alone Time" is the Rule
"When you're not enjoying your time around them any more. There's a difference between wanting a night away or a strong life outside of your relationship and full-on disliking their company." -- Responsible-Coyote
Read Your Words
"When you ask Reddit what signs show a relationship has run its course." -- Toxxxixx
"When you go to AskReddit to see if sexting is considered cheating." -- onidels
Where Do You Go When the Chips are Down?
"You have something big happen and they are not the first person you call."
"I had a car accident at like 5am and didn't even bother calling my now ex, he was useless and I called the people that mattered."