There are plenty of external signs that a relationship is in trouble – constant fighting, no sex, an affair… the list goes on. Often these signs come when a marriage is nearing the brink of a complete breakdown – yet internal signs can come much sooner. By recognising and understanding that these internal signs are unhealthy, you can help your relationship. The signs below aren’t the only signs your relationship is in trouble – if your relationship is making you sad, angry or frustrated, you can be certain that something isn’t right. These signs are good indicators that your relationship needs attention.
Keeping score is a very unhealthy mentality when it comes to relationships. Whilst healthy give and take is important, constant score-keeping can leave you feeling bitter and angry. We also tend to think we are contributing more to the relationship, as we may not notice or minimise the contributions that our partner is making. Keeping score is about considering your marriage as a contract, rather than a dynamic and ongoing relationship between two people in love.
Comparing your partner unfavourably to others opens up your mind to the possibility of there being something better ‘out there’. Unfortunately, the grass is often considered greener on the other side, but when you get there you may find out it was all a matter of perspective. Comparing what your partner does to the partners of your friends or family is often a pathway to discontentment and bitterness. Instead, make an effort to remind yourself of everything great about your partner – all the reasons you fell in love with them, and not somebody else.
While it isn’t essential that you tell your partner everything, purposefully keeping secrets begins a process of emotionally distancing from the other person. Whether these secrets are hurtful or not, closing lines of communication means closing yourself off to your loved one. If you choose to seek counselling, you may find this a safer place to discuss secrets or emotionally risky topics with your partner.
Everybody should have more people in their life than just their partner. Relying too heavily on one person can become a burden, and cause co-dependency issues. Yet if you perpetually confide your problems to someone else, your emotional bond with your partner may weaken. If you feel your partner isn’t being supportive enough, it would be wise to talk to them about it. If you find after talking to your partner that both of you are experiencing issues with the relationship, consider some couples counselling as a way to get your relationship back on track.
Marcus Andrews is the founder and director of Life Supports, which was established in 2002. He has extensive professional experience working as a counsellor and family therapist across a broad range of issues. The core component of his role at Life Supports involves the supervision of other counsellors, including secondary consultations. Marcus has worked in many sectors, including private, government, non-profit, health, forensic and community practice.