relationship trouble

Three Ways to Know Your Relationship Needs Work

Does Yoru Relationship Need Work? Uncommon Love Couples Counseling in Portland

So many couples wait until they have done MAJOR damage before coming in to talk to a professional. 

Statistics show that most couples finally make an appointment six months after symptoms of dissatisfaction become a problem.  So how do you know if it’s the right time for you two to seek help?

Here are a few symptoms to watch out for so you can get support sooner rather than later.  Marriage therapy, couples counseling, and relationship coaching can be of great service to you if you get in to see someone early in the game.

Negativity – Continued negative contact over time makes it difficult to repair damage and return to sweetness together.  If you or your partner is having trouble seeing the bright side, or envisioning a positive future for the two of you now is a great time to call for professional help.  There are three key ways negativity shows up:

    • Resentment -- Built up (often unspoken) feelings of negativity toward your partner.  Usually this is a small voice inside your head saying “you never…”  Over time resentment eats away at the good stuff you have between you.
    • Criticism – Blame and critique of one another instead of solution finding.  When you find yourself here it’s important to find a place of mutual accountability.  For many couples that’s a struggle.  You may want help getting past blame.
    • Contempt – Attacks on each other’s character.  This is where it gets ugly.  When one or both of you is having a hard time seeing the good in the other it’s a real good idea to get some support.

Rigidity – Remaining open to the influence of your partner instead of becoming inflexible is critical to long-term relationship health.  If one or both of you is getting stubborn or inflexible you could use a little coaching to help shift things into a positive direction.

    • Defensiveness – Becoming defensive when in conflict (or otherwise).  This can mean there is some unresolved hurt in your partnership.  Professionals are trained to create a supportive environment where you can share with greater care.
    • Stonewalling – Withholding affection, ignoring or distancing from your partner.  There are a lot of reasons folks stonewall, but the long term effect of this is only to create more distance between you.   Patterns of stonewalling are more easily changed with the help of a coach or counselor.

Turning Away – While it is important to have independent time and space, turning away from your partner when they are requesting help or support can decrease the longevity of your relationship significantly.

    • Invalidation—denying the validity of one partner’s experience or feelings.  Ouch, it hurts to hear a partner put down or deny your experience.  Those hurts are costly in the long run.
    • Avoidance or Withdrawal – Physically or emotionally withdrawing from one another completely.  This leaves one or both of you lonely- and who wants to be lonely in a relationship?  The goal of relationship coaching is to help you move toward each other with kindness once again.

If you have noticed any of these signs and want to remedy your relationship, relationship coaching may be right for you. 

Remember, every relationship needs a tune-up now and again, just don’t wait so long you have to call AAA from the side of the highway! Invest in your relationship health now, and you can be even stronger together.


Looking for an LGBTQ professional in Portland?  Click here for a free consultation.

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Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a sex educator and relationship coach specializing in polyamory, open relationshipsjealousy, LGBTQ issues and infidelity.  

She can help you:

Contact her for a free consultation to see if working with her is right for you.

Click here to download her free guides to strengthen your relationship (monogamous or not).