7 Warning Signs Of A Troubled Relationship
Other than obvious major relationship problems, such as physical violence, emotional, psychological or sexual abuse or affairs, many relationship problems are much more subtle or indirect. Yet, they may suggest that there are underlying unresolved issues that continue to erode the fabric of your relationship.
By recognizing the signs of relationship trouble, you can then begin to directly address the problems with the necessary tools and solutions to improve your connections. If you’re noticing one or more of these warning signs in your relationship, consider couples counseling to address underlying issues, the sources of these issues, and a plan to repair and enrich the relationship. Healing a troubled relationship is possible. These are the signs:
1) Continued abandonment. Most of us seek relationship to create a sense of connection and attachment. It is natural to need alone time, however, if you are experiencing a sense of isolation and abandonment in your relationship, especially as a result of withdrawal, distance, or a sense of being ignored, this may be a sign of unresolved conflict, resentment, or anxiety.
2) Negative use of power. We all come into relationship with different resources. Some of us earn more money; others are more educated or more social. These “currencies” of power can be used indirectly to the detriment of each other as put downs, criticism, or negative judgments, or more directly as control of resources or behavior, that make us feel belittled, unvalued, or unworthy.
3) Little or no sex. Most relationships start with a flurry of sex, however, as life stressors and relationship anxieties accrue with time, many relationships devolve into lack of physical intimacy and sexual disconnection. This leads to feelings of rejection or obligation, depending on who is more desirous of sex.
4) Lack of empathy. We all need to feel understood, but, different styles of communication, roles, or ways of addressing anxiety, such as controlling behavior or trying to be the “fixer”, get in the way of deep listening and intimacy, leading to feelings of invisibility, disrespect, and invalidation.
5) Fighting to win. Being right often costs the relationship as conflict becomes an all out war for victory or righteous indignation: leading to feelings of anger, frustration, and powerlessness.
6) Mistrust. Suspicion, spying, and invasion of privacy are rooted in fears engendered in the relationship by past behaviors or individual insecurities. This leads to feelings of entrapment, lack of support, and violation.
7) Lack of appreciation. All of us thrive on complements, acknowledgement, and appreciation; yet, many of us stifle these responses and behave as if gratefulness or appreciations are scarce commodities. This leads to a relationship where members feel hopeless, unwanted, and unloved.
Moshe Rozdzial, LPC is a psychotherapist, sex therapist, and counselor at GLOW counseling in Denver, Colorado. www.glowcounseling.com