How to talk to your partner about couples therapy and what to do if they don’t want to go.
It’s hard enough to admit that you might need couples therapy, let alone getting up the courage to call. According to research, couples wait an average of six years of being unhappy before getting help. So you are ready now, but you have to have a conversation with your partner. Chances are conversations don’t go well, so you are probably right that this one won’t be different.
One thing to keep in mind is that your partner has their own desires, comfort levels, and motivation to contend with. Your partner is a separate being with separate thoughts and feelings. One thing that good sales people know is that you have to contend with objections. How do you do this? You have to find them out. Below are three tips to talk with your partner about going to couples therapy.
Tip #1: Don’t cling to your idea so much that it gets in the way of understanding your mate.
Ask your partner what they think about going to couples therapy. If they say they don’t want to go, be curious. Ask them why. You will have a much more complete conversation if you know what they think and then you can exchange ideas
Tip #2: When you get an answer, don’t immediately give a contrary opinion about it.
For example, if your partner says they don’t want to go and you ask why, they might say,“I don’t think we need it.” Your head might immediately scream and start disagreeing. That makes sense! You feel like you are in the pit, in the middle of a tornado and your partner says, “I don’t see anything wrong here.” Instead of saying, “the house just flew by!” ask them if they think there are any problems or ask when there was last a problem. Try encouraging them to think about things and at the same time, you are learning their reasons. After you have a better understanding of why they don’t want to go, you can ask them if you can give your view point.
Tip #3:When you talk about your opinion, keep it focused on yourself.
Many people struggle with this. They think if they are making “I” statements that they are not being hurtful or crossing boundaries. If someone says “I think that you are wrong. We do fight and I think that you should want to go because if you don’t want to, then I don’t think it means as much,” they are focusing on the other person too much. They are trying to change the partner.
If a person is really just expressing themselves, it sounds a lot more about them. A better example of self-expression that is focused on self is “I really want to go to therapy. I am not happy in this relationship and I want to find a way to better get along. The disagreement we had last week felt really big to me and I am having a hard time getting over it.”
Finally, ask for what you want. Don’t expect your partner to know. If you are interested in attending couples therapy, ask your partner directly if they would go. It’s hard enough to get the courage to go to therapy. I suggest following these 3 tips and if they still don’t want to go, I encourage you to find a therapist who will see you to work on your side of things. One person can really turn the relationship around when they commit to their own personal growth.