Hey, Partner: Do You Want to Try Couples Therapy?
Relationships can be difficult. It is often hard to see the other person’s perspective, and couples therapy can help couples get on the same page. Therapy also helps couples learn how to resolve conflict in a healthy way. If you are one half of a couple that wants couples therapy but your partner does not want to go, here are some tips for getting them on board!
Find out about their reasons for not wanting to go to couples therapy
Your first order of business will be to find out why your partner is hesitant to make an appointment. If your partner is not willing to go to couples therapy, there are likely reasons for it. It can be helpful to ask him or her what they are afraid of. It is important to create a non-judgmental atmosphere. If your partner senses you are ready for a come-back argument, they will likely clam up. Here is an example of how you may want to set the convo up. Edit to your heart’s content:
“Hi, I really care about you and our relationship, and I think that couples therapy could really help us out. I know that you’ve been hesitant about wanting to go. I really want to understand your point of view and where your head is at with all that.”
Then – shut up and listen. Repeat what they tell you to make sure that you have gotten the gist of their concerns. IF they are open, and only IF, share your viewpoint on the matter. If one partner is not interested in couples work, it is often a sign that they don’t think that couples therapy is the right tool for the job and not that they don’t care about the relationship. Next, we will go over some common concerns that partners hold. Often, they are misconceptions that can be cleared up.
Maybe they are worried about the financial strain it might put on y’alls budget. And while couples therapy is a considerable investment, it can also be seen as an investment in the relationship. You will likely spend decades together, so why not ensure a lifetime of relationship satisfaction and getting set up for success?
Maybe they are thinking that you are trying to force them to go to couples therapy as a ‘punishment.’ They might be afraid that as soon as the two of you get in front of a couples therapist, you will lay into them. Fearing being attacked, they might be quick to say ‘hard pass’ whenever you bring up the idea of making an appointment. If your partner fears punishment, it would be best to question your intentions for couples work. If you are not trying to punish them, it is your job to communicate your intentions for couples counseling.
Perhaps your partner is fearful that y’alls couples therapist will side with you and, instead of you, they will do the punishing and tell your partner just how screwed up they are. The sad thing is, there are some less-than-skilled couples counselors out there where that might be a reality. At Therapie, we believe that there are no angels and no devils in relationships and that both partners co-create a relationship that is satisfying or, often inadvertently, build a relationship that leads to stress and discontentment. Instead of playing the blame game, our therapists are much more interested in getting you two back on track.
Couples Therapy is for Bad Relationships
Ugh, this one is a common misconception. People think that couples therapy is only for relationships at the brink of divorce or separation. The truth is that EVERYONE can benefit from getting the right tools to make their relationship thrive. Starting couples counseling when the relationship is going well is a GREAT option because we don’t have to spend our time putting out fires and, instead, can get right to the things that are helpful. The result is often less time and money spent.
See if they are willing to schedule a free consultation call or go to one session
While your partner may not be in a place to commit to ongoing couples work, they might be more open to attending a free consultation call to meet one of our couples therapists. That way, they can ask all the questions they might have and get a feel for what it’s like. It can also be helpful to agree to a “trial run” and only to commit to a single session. Say something like,
“Hi, I know that you still have some concerns about couples thearpy. I get it. And, I think that it might be a helpful tool for us. Why don’t we agree to attend only ONE session. After that, we can sit down and talk about our experience and whether we want to proceed. Your opinion really matters to me and I want both of us to be on board!”
What to do if your partner does not want to go
If your partner does not want to go, it doesn’t mean that everything is lost. They may need more time to come around to the idea of couples counseling, and that is ok. In the meantime, that does not mean that you can start working on the relationship by diving into the self-help literature or seeking individual therapy for yourself. We know from the research that even one partner doing focused work can have a positive impact on the relationship. And, it is not uncommon for the other partner to eventually come around.
It’s hard when couples are at odds about whether couples therapy is a good option. But remember, couples therapy is for everyone. You might have to work with them on their fears for couples counseling in order for them to be more comfortable with the idea. There are lots of ways you can improve your relationship; we are here to support you. Let’s get your relationship the attention and TLC it deserves. Click here to find out more about our couples services and here to schedule a free consultation or first session!