If you’re thinking to yourself, “I think I need help”, then you probably do. When things start to go south in a relationship, it seems that the last person you want to go to for help is also the one you should be talking to the most, your partner. Communication is essential in any relationship and when it breaks down it can sometimes be hard to get back but it’s not impossible.
Start by making a list of the things in your relationship that are bothering you. No matter what it is, be honest and don’t just make it all about the other person. Relationships take two to work or not work and if you are feeling bad about your relationship, so is your partner. When you’ve made your list, invite your partner to discuss the problems you’ve outlined.
During your talk, keep in mind to never, ever lay blame on the other person. Never start a sentence with, ‘YOU’ do this or ‘YOU’ do that. Start your sentences with, ‘I FEEL’ this and ‘I FEEL’ that. The only thing laying blame will accomplish is making your partner feel they have to defend themselves, probably start a fight and defeat the whole purpose of trying to improve your relationship. So be open and honest about your concerns but never be hurtful.
Make sure to ask your partner how they feel about the direction your relationship is heading. Find out what they think they need and/or want from you to make your relationship successful and then voice your own concerns, wants and needs.
If talking things through doesn’t seem to help, then it may be time to consult an ‘I need relationship help’ professional. That doesn’t mean your mother or your brother or your sister, aunt, uncle or cousin. Keep things between you private, the less input you get from biased sources the easier it will be to resolve the aspects of your relationship that need to be resolved. Families tend to take sides and that will only stoke the fire.
When you’ve talked about things and feel you both are ready to start seeing a relationship counselor, if you do, make a list (or take the one you’ve already made) of things to discuss. The relationship counselor will help you both sort things out and keep them in perspective. They know the right questions to ask and what buttons to push to get you thinking and can keep the discussion heading in the right direction.
A relationship counselor will give you exercises, or homework, to teach yourselves the art of communication outside his or her office. Follow what he or she tells you closely. Who knows, you may begin to have so much fun learning how to communicate with each other some of the problems your were facing may just fade away. It’s all perception and if your perception changes and you are seeing things from both sides instead of just your own, then maybe you could stop thinking ‘I need relationship help’.