Help! My Partner won’t go to Couples Therapy
By Tara Rullo, LCSW
When your marriage or romantic partnership is strained, distant, or full of conflict, it’s common to feel anxious and alone. Even when physically together, partners in troubled relationships may feel emotionally disconnected or isolated from each other.
Arguments with your significant other can become repetitive and cyclical — and it’s hard to know how to break out of unhealthy patterns, even when you want to. Ongoing unresolved issues usually lead to feelings of frustration and a sense of helplessness with more and more unresolved complaints building up into a pile of resentments.
Many couples turn to couples therapy to help them through such challenges. Couples therapy offers the time and space to work through challenges, learn new communication techniques, and to give the relationship the attention it truly needs.
But what do you do if your partner won’t agree to go to couples therapy?
• First, remember that you are not alone! Many couples have one partner asking for couples therapy while the other partner is on the fence or flat-out refusing. Ultimately, the decision to attend couples therapy should be a mutual one, and it’s crucial to respect your partner’s autonomy even if you disagree with their choice.
• Second, try to listen to your partner’s perspective on the matter. They likely have valid reasons for being hesitant about therapy. Show empathy and understanding towards their concerns, even if you don’t fully agree with them. Common reasons some partners are hesitant to consider couples therapy are: cost, time commitment, fear of being blamed, feeling that the problem isn’t as bad as you think it is, feeling that the relationship issues aren’t their problem, having had a negative experience in the past in therapy.
• Lastly, remember this: Happy, healthy relationships start with YOU. You always have the opportunity to explore your role in what makes your relationship work or not work. There are many ways to do this including reading books on relationships, attending individual therapy, and attending workshops or groups on relationships. At Middle Way Psychotherapy, we offer Relationship Intelligence Groups to help individuals improve their understanding of their own role in their relationships.