In most people’s lives there is no relationship quite as immediate and encompassing as our romantic relationship. Whether you’re dating, living together or married, more time and effort is devoted to that relationship than any other. When conflict arises or intensifies over time, it can easily be stressful for both parties.
Even if a point of contention arises again and again, it can sometimes be hard to tell: what is the dividing line between a disagreement, an argument and a crisis? When does an argument or an ongoing disagreement threaten a relationship? One way to gauge the severity of a disagreement is to ask both parties: how often does the issue come up and how much does it affect your ability to move on after the conversation ends?
All relationships involve arguments, but if they are recurring frequently or if the conversation is one that drags on for multiple days it may not just be a disagreement. It could represent a point of contention that needs to be worked through. In many cases, topics that can be easy to argue over (finances, household responsibilities) can be wrapped up in larger issues like self-worth, communication or intimacy inside the boundaries of your relationship. While an argument over dishes or child care might be resolved quickly enough, a recurring cycle of arguing over similar topics might be an indication that reaching out to an Upper Valley counselor should be considered.
Exploring talk therapy to get to the bottom of recurring arguments qualifies as ‘couples counseling’, but isn’t the same as struggling to save a troubled marriage. In fact, a relationship that receives periodic attention from both parties with the help of a trained therapist is more likely to be one that doesn’t find itself in peril later on.