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How to Tell if You Need Couples Therapy as a Senior (8 Signs)

Today in Detangle


Before my husband and I both agreed we needed therapy to save our marriage, our relationship was so close to failing. Most people think that retiring doesn’t affect your romantic relationship, but believe me, it does—and a lot! If both you and your partner are willing to save your relationship, then you should have at least some sessions of therapy. But how do you know when you need it? Read on to find the signs!

There’s a popular belief that couples therapy is a waste of money and that it’s just about pointing at your partner for the awful things they do. In most cases, people feel shame or guilt because they think that they should be able to deal with relationship issues on their own with their partners.

As a result, most couples find it hard to accept the fact that therapy can be effective. By the time they realize that they do need couples therapy, it may be too late to seek the help they need.

Here are 8 warning signs to keep an eye on that you and your significant other should seek help from couples therapy!

cheating, couples therapy
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1. There’s No Intimacy in Your Relationship

One of the indicators that a romantic relationship is deteriorating is the lack of intimacy. This may be because either or both parties have lost interest or are dealing with personal issues. Retirement is known to bring with it many changes in one’s life, which may in turn affect your couple’s life.

It’s completely normal to not be in the mood sometimes, especially if you’ve been in the relationship for a long time. Also, if you and your partner are OK with a routine that works for both of you, that’s great. However, there’s definitely a problem if there are significant and sudden changes in the frequency of taking each other in the bedroom.

If you and your significant other haven’t made love for a long time or if physical intimacy becomes cold and robotic, couples therapy should be considered.

2. Fear of Communicating With Each Other

If you or your spouse recently retired, you’re probably dealing with some transitional issues as you adjust to the new context. This can lead to several arguments with your loved one, but as long as you both openly communicate with each other, you should be able to get through it.

However, when disagreements get blown out of proportion, fear can appear when it comes to specific topics of discussion. This usually makes one or both partners avoid conversations altogether. It can be because of something minor, such as annoying habits that can eventually result in a communication breakdown.

If you or your loved one are reluctant to talk about specific issues, you should consider couples therapy. This should help you two clear up misunderstandings and have healthy conversations.

3. Resentment

Arguments in a couple come and go, but if you find yourself in a situation in which you and your partner are always resentful toward each other, then you should consider couples therapy, which can help you figure out and address underlying issues.

According to experts, if you don’t resolve previous arguments and past hurts, there’s a good chance that every future conversation is tainted with negative feelings. It can easily turn into a vicious cycle where your tone toward your loved one will resemble one full of judgment, shame, insecurities, and guilt. This will more likely not be well received, which will lead to further arguments.

It’s very important in a relationship to talk about your feelings, and when you cannot do that, it’s a sign you and your partner may need couples therapy.

couples therapy
Photo by Prostock-studio from Shutterstock

4. Lack of Trust

You’ve heard this before, and you probably know it from your experience: A healthy relationship starts with trust. The thing about trust is that it’s hard to earn but easy to break.

A couple that has given little thought to trust issues is likely to feel their negative effects later down the road. You may start to see your significant other as the enemy (or vice versa) and feel as if you two are on different sides. A couple, especially a married one, should be on the same team. When this doesn’t happen, partners start to seek emotional support from outside the relationship, such as from friends or family members.

This may happen if you’re dealing with recently-retired changes while your partner is still working, which can lead to the feeling that your significant other doesn’t understand you anymore. When a partner seeks support outside of their relationship, it’s a sign that you may need couples therapy.

5. Keeping Secrets

Everyone has the right to their own privacy. However, as a couple, having secrets from your partner can be disastrous for your relationship. Of course, there are some secrets, such as infidelity, substance abuse, and financial problems, that can end up ruining a relationship for good.

Keeping secrets within a relationship can seem like the right thing to do when it’s predetermined that revealing the information will hurt the other person or create conflict. However, even the smallest of secrets can disrupt behavioral patterns and undermine your relationship.

When partners keep secrets from each other, they create a barrier to connecting, which has a long-term impact on the relationship. Hence, communication issues, a lack of intimacy, and so on. If you think you and your loved one are dealing with this issue and you cannot figure it out, it may be a good idea to seek couples therapy.

6. Dishonesty About Finances

This one may be the same as No. 5, since being dishonest and keeping secrets are somehow synonyms. But dishonesty about finances is more common than you’d think, so we thought it may be worth mentioning some things about it.

According to several studies, about 13 million Americans have hidden a credit card or bank account from a partner or spouse. It seems that being dishonest about finances is quite an issue in many relationships.

Couples break up and marriages end mainly because of issues with managing finances within a household. When you and your partner don’t have a consensus about your finances, it’s not long before serious arguments may ensue. Being dishonest about things like credit card statements, hidden receipts, and purchases can lead to a breach of trust, affecting the relationship.

If this sounds like your relationship, consider couples therapy to address arguments about money immediately.

Photo by 4 PM production

7. Her Life and His Life

It may seem harmless at first; she has Merlot friends while he has beer buddies. However, if you and your significant other tend to spend most of your social time outside of the house and away from one another, this can indicate that something’s off in your relationship.

Moreover, a scenario like this can create an emotional distance between you and your loved one. Couples therapy can help you with that, helping you two rekindle your relationship.

While most families have hectic schedules these days, a couple shouldn’t feel like roommates within a house. There may be periods of time when you and your loved one go through phases of disconnect, but it shouldn’t be long-term without intimacy or communication.

It’s a problem if you can’t remember the last time you and your partner did something just the two of you. More important than reconnecting with each other is understanding why you ended up like this, and couples therapy can help you do that.

8. When One Partner Is Thinking About or Having an Affair

Even the mere fact that you’re thinking of having an affair is a warning sign that you’re seeking something your significant other cannot provide for you. Whether you’re looking for emotional or physical desire in someone else, it means that something has changed in your relationship.

It’s OK to fantasize sometimes or think about what it would be like to be with someone else. However, if either you or your partner have had an affair or are considering having one, it’s vital to consider couples therapy to figure out the best way to move forward.

Seeking professional help can be quite helpful, especially if both you and your partner want to work on your relationship.

You may also want to read 9 Excuses Cheating Men Use The Most, According to Studies.

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