Grow My Relationship logo
Grow My Relationship Secure Icon

RETURN TO BLOG

We’re “Just Dating”. Do We Need Relationship Counseling?

When many people think of relationship counseling, they don’t think of young or unmarried couples who are dating. Unfortunately, many believe that counseling for couples is a last-ditch effort to save a marriage or something reserved only for couples experiencing some extreme trouble.

Relationship counseling is not reserved for one specific type of relationship or those in dire needs.

Relationships experience bumps no matter what type of committed relationship you are involved in. Still, some people feel that it’s somehow not appropriate to go for counseling as a couple if they’re not married or engaged.

Even if you’re “just dating,” there’s no reason to put off couples therapy. In fact, seeing a professional therapist earlier on can help ensure the relationship’s long-term success.

Relationships are changing

Today, committed relationships take many forms. It’s normal for relationships to diverge from the traditional path of courting, getting engaged, getting married, and then moving in together.

Couples today move at their own pace, doing what feels right for them. This could mean years of dating and living together, never getting married, or forgoing having children. Or maybe the couple never moves in together, but has stayed committed for years.

Because each relationship develops along its own path, issues could arise at any stage of the relationship. Stressors and difficult decisions can pop up suddenly or develop slowly over many years. So, while we might not advise you to sign up for relationship counseling after your first date, there’s really no time that’s too soon to start relationship counseling.

Though you might hit different milestones at different times, your relationship will face many similar milestones as it changes, grows, and matures. Starting your relationship counseling early on in your relationship can help you manage and navigate relationship challenges as they arise.

Getting through big decisions and plans for the future

As the relationship progresses, it’s only natural for thoughts and conversations to begin about what lies ahead. Will you move in together? Should you marry? Where do you see yourself in ten years?

These questions seem minor or even exciting in the early glow of a fresh relationship. Of course, your future together will be smooth and happy. However, as the relationship progresses, these decisions can cause friction and hurt feelings when they are not handled openly in a way that makes sure both parties are heard.

Seeking relationship counseling earlier in the relationship equips you with the tools necessary to face significant life decisions. Instead of avoiding difficult conversations about children, careers, etc., you can meet them early before they become major stumbling blocks.

Breaking through old patterns

If you are the children of divorced parents, statistics show you may be more likely to divorce. This unfortunate statistic shows we often repeat the patterns we’ve experienced previously in our lives.

For many, the patterns they saw growing up are the only examples they have learned for lessons on relating with another person. Left unchecked, many will repeat these behaviors since they assume the actions are standard.

Even if you’re aware of the fact that you don’t want to repeat the relationship you observed growing up, you still may not know how to break the patterns or what a healthy relationship looks like.

Starting relationship counseling early in the relationship allows you to face these patterns head-on. Then, you are free to learn new ways to listen, communicate, and manage a loving and healthy relationship with your partner.

Identifying future friction points

Things are awash in a new glow in your relationship’s early days. Every issue seems small or easily managed. Many attempt to prolong these times by dismissing or avoiding conflicts that surface.

Some of these issues are indeed minor. However, others could become something significant if left unchecked. Often, we’re not great at identifying which is which on our own. For example, an issue like someone wanting to watch more TV than the other might not ever become an issue for one couple and could be insurmountable for another.

Starting your relationship counseling early helps you identify, raise, and address these potential issues in a safe place. That way, you’ve learned how to handle and address the issue before it’s too late or has snowballed into something more significant.

Should you start relationship counseling?

There’s no established timeline of when it’s best to start counseling for your relationship. If you’re experiencing difficulties communicating or facing issues you can’t seem to resolve on your own, couples therapy can help. Learning to handle disagreements correctly can actually help bring you together, rather than ripping you apart.

But, you don’t have to wait for things to reach that level.

If you feel that you’d like to stay with this person for longer, isn’t it worth investing in a foundation for your relationship? Your early counseling sessions can serve more like a tune-up to get you ready for a healthy future together.

If you’re ready to start relationship counseling or have questions about our approach, take the first step and reach out to us. We’re here to help you get the relationship support you’re looking for and deserve.

Connect With A Developmental Model Resource
Grow My Relationship logo

Coach

A relationship coach supports couples in learning vital partnership skills and helps you to develop conflict resolution skills, offering tools to achieve a thriving, healthy relationship. Coaches tend to focus on the present and creating an inspired future.

All well-trained relationship specialists seek to offer advice, feedback, observations, and homework to help your relationship evolve. Therapists and counselors have mandatory educational and licensing requirements that are determined by the state or country in which they practice. Coaches do not.

Clinical Social Worker
All well-trained relationship specialists seek to offer advice, feedback, observations, and homework to help your relationship evolve.

This profession usually requires two years of study after obtaining an undergraduate degree. While specific licensure requirements vary by state, most require clinical social workers to obtain 3,000 hours or 2 years of supervised clinical experience, after obtaining a Masters degree. Social workers can also specialize in diverse fields such as human services management, social welfare analysis, community organizing, social and community development, and social and political research.

As you know, this is not an easy task when you and your partner are struggling to communicate, cooperate, and connect. This is where a highly trained guide is especially valuable.

Marriage and Family Therapist/Counselor (LMFT)
All well-trained relationship specialists seek to offer advice, feedback, observations, and homework to help your relationship evolve. 

Therapists and counselors have mandatory educational and licensing requirements that are determined by the state or country in which they practice. Obtaining this license requires a Masters degree which takes approximately two years of post graduate study. The license also requires 3000 hours of supervised work and passing written exams.

Counselors and therapists may make situational determinations about how deep to go into the personal history of each partner. They may seek to help you see where certain unhelpful patterns of behavior originated. 

Clinical Psychologist
All well-trained relationship specialists seek to offer advice, feedback, observations, and homework to help your relationship evolve.

After graduating from college, it usually takes about five years of graduate school to get a Ph.D. in Psychology. It then requires an additional two years of supervision and passing a written (and often) an oral exam. There are a few states that allow psychologists to prescribe medications (with additional training) but that is uncommon.

Our professionals can guide you to clarify your individual goals as well as enable you to develop mutually agreed upon and supported relationship goals.

Psychiatrist
All well-trained relationship specialists seek to offer advice, feedback, observations, and homework to help your relationship evolve.

After graduation from medical school, there is a generally a 4-year psychiatric residency. After the completion of this training, psychiatrists must pass an exam issued by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology to obtain certification and legally practice in the field. Psychiatrists can prescribe medications.

Our professionals can guide you to clarify your individual goals as well as enable you to develop mutually agreed upon and supported relationship goals.

Grow My Relationship logo

How can we help you?

Your Name*(Required)
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Connect With Us

Grow My Relationship logo

Looking to get the most out of your therapy sessions?

Enter your name and email below to get our free report sent directly to you.

Your Name*(Required)
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Grow My Relationship logo

Contact Us