In every relationship, there are peaks and valleys. Times of great exultation, and times when you might feel like you want to pull your hair out, but how do you move past it? An even better question might be, who do you turn to for relationship advice and support? The answer to this question is usually family, friends, online forums and professional counseling, but before you run and call your mom to vent consider the pros and cons to each.
Family and Friends
Calling up your mom, dad, sibling or friend may seem like an obvious choice when you want to talk about your latest relationship woes. They are your family after all, who would be more suited to offer a sympathetic ear? There are benefits to using family as a sounding board for relationship advice, from the loyalty that comes from those relationships, to the fact that they are always on your side. However, this can be a disadvantage for certain situations. If you and your partner are in minor squabbles, calling your mom or best friend is probably the perfect choice for an ear to listen, but when it comes to major problems, their bias for you could make for trouble. In serious situations you want someone who can look at the situation objectively and see both sides of the argument. You are much more likely to get through the stormy seas ahead if you are told what you need to hear, and not just what you want to hear.
So you need some new perspective on a fight you just had with your spouse. You want some suggestions on how to handle the situation, but you just aren’t comfortable asking friends or family. This is where the internet can be a huge ally. There are tons of resources for conflict resolution strategies, and stories from others who have been in your shoes. You can vent anonymously and still get great advice. On the flip side, you have to be careful when looking for answers online. While anonymity can be a wonderful thing, not knowing the person who is giving you advice can sometimes do more harm than good. This can be simply combated by a little time, research and common sense when looking at sites to seek help.
Then there are times when no amount of Google or momma’s ear can do the trick. Perhaps your relationship has taken a turn where you no longer feel taken care of and secure, or maybe there was infidelity. Couples who are married or who have kids stand to lose a lot, and that can make things a little more real and complicated. Any of these scenarios call for a professional to step in. There is no shame in asking for help, and a pro can help you in a lot of ways online forums and family can’t. For one, you get all the comfort of meeting and researching the person who is giving you direction, while still getting the added benefit of an unbiased party to moderate. It is a win, win. However, the biggest drawback to this route is the added expense of hiring a counselor that might add more stress to your predicament.
No matter what avenue of support you decide to take, just knowing you are not alone can make all the difference in tough situations. All of these groups have solid benefits that can give you what you need to jump the hurdles of love, but always be knowledgeable about who you are asking and if they are the best person for the job.