No one enters into a marriage with the expectation that the relationship will eventually go sour. Most couples believe in “happily ever after,” but what the fairytales fail to mention is that relationships take quite a bit of work. Rarely do we enter a marriage with all of the tools we need to manage the many challenges we will face. That’s where a marriage counselor comes in.

The question is: how do you know when it’s time to consider counseling? The following red flags may be an indication that it’s time to see a professional.

Communication Is Estranged

A large percentage of relationship challenges are caused by a lack of communication. Once the pillars of communication have tumbled, it can be difficult to get back on track and move forward in the right direction.

If you and your partner have stopped talking, it may be time to see a therapist. A counselor can show you new ways to communicate, so you can work towards a resolution.

Communication is Negative

In some cases, lack of communication is not the issue. It’s negative communication that’s causing the problem. If you or your partner are left feeling shamed, judged, insecure, or disregarded, this may be a sign that you need to see a counselor. Eventually, negative communication can escalate into non-verbal communication or even emotional abuse.

You and Your Partner are on Different Teams

For your marriage to be successful, you and your partner should be on the same team. If you feel like you are both on different pages or not on the same side, something is not right. A couples counselor can help you sort through your issues and get you back on the same side.

You’re Considering an Affair

If you’re fantasizing about having an affair, this is an indication that you want something different from what your current relationship offers. While relationships can still be saved after one partner has an affair, it’s best to seek help before it reaches this point.

If you and your partner are serious and committed to therapy and being honest, you can salvage your marriage. In the very least, you may both come to the realization that the healthiest thing to do is simply move on.

You’re Financially Unfaithful

If you or your spouse are being financially unfaithful, it can be just as devastating as a sexual affair. This occurs when one partner feels the need to control everything related to money, or keeps their partner in the dark about their spending habits.

If your partner objects to a discussion about family finances, it’s time to see a counselor.

You Want Your Partner to Change

Couples often face great challenges when one partner believes that the other should change. The only person you can change is yourself. If you believe that your partner is the one who needs to change or your partner has been pushing you to change who you are, a counselor can help you better understand each other.

Unfortunately, most married couples wait until it’s too late to get help. While there’s always hope for change, it’s best to seek the help of a marriage counselor as soon as possible.