Signs of a Stressed Relationship


“The greatest conflicts in relationships are opportunities to build intimacy and understanding”.  John Gottman

These signs might indicate you might have a problem that is testing your ability to keep your relationship intact. If you recognise any of these signs as affecting your relationship, then maybe it is time to see a counsellor.

  • Ongoing conflict that doesn’t get resolved and is recycled again and again. The conflict can be about specific issues, or may be the result of a pattern of tension between the two of you that repeats itself on a regular basis.
  • Poor communication patterns that erode the foundation of your relationship and create hurt and frustration in one or both of you. Yelling, put-downs, criticism, avoidance, and sarcasm are just a few hurtful ways you may be communicating.
  • Transitions in your life that disrupt the normal flow of the relationship and family life. Loss of a job, move to another city, birth of a child, and death of a parent are just some transitions that can precipitate a crisis. Anxiety and/or depression may begin to affect one or both of you.
  • Difficulties with the developmental issues of a child. Sometimes the needs of a child divide a couple. You may argue over how to handle the problem. Frustration, hurt and anger increases.
  • Substance abuse that seems to be entrenched or gets worse. Often, the stress of work and life lead us to “self medicate” by turning to alcohol or other substances. This affects the marriage. Tension between you and your spouse can become more severe.
  • Mental health issues such as depression and anxiety that begin to affect your relationship. These issues can involve the way each of you takes care of yourself as well as the relationship you share.

When to contact a couple counsellor

Relationships endure their share of bumps and bruises. Problems are a part of life. A time may come, however, when one of you declares, “We have a problem, we need to get help.” A sign of health in your relationship is that you hear the other when the issue of getting help is raised. It’s not easy to call a counsellor. But to listen to your partner when things get serious is itself an act of love for your partner.

Early intervention is best

Research into couple counselling, has show early action by a couple creates the best possible outcome rather than waiting until the problem becomes worse.

“Many of my clients have been able to turn their most challenging relationships into ones that are much easier to handle”