What to do When Your Partner Won’t Go to Couples Counseling
Although couples counseling can dramatically improve your relationship, I still hear this a lot: “My partner won’t come to couples/marriage counseling with me, but I think we really need it.”
When your partner doesn’t want to attend couples counseling/therapy you might feel helpless and believe that there’s nothing you can do. However, that isn’t the case. There’s a lot of steps you can take towards solving the problem, but first you need to understand what your partner might be feeling and what concerns they have.
Most common reasons partners don’t want to go to couples counseling:
- It feels like failure
People like to be recognized for the things they have done well, so it’s hard to acknowledge when we have done something badly. Avoiding seeing a professional is often a coping mechanism due to being in denial about your own flaws and mistakes.
- They don’t like feeling vulnerable
People, especially men, don’t feel comfortable opening up about their feelings and problems either in front of someone they know or a complete stranger.
- They’re afraid of change
Not only is change hard, it’s also scary for some people. In a lot of cases, a partner will change for a short amount of time, but then inevitably go back to their past self. This causes a fear of failure, especially if the person already has low self-esteem and doesn’t believe they are capable of change.
- They don’t believe in counseling
There is undeniable proof counseling works, but there’s still a taboo around seeing a professional about mental-related problems.
What to do if your partner doesn’t want to go to couples counseling with you?
- Explain your concerns.
Good communication is key to a healthy relationship. Explain what your concerns and thoughts are calmly and descriptively so your partner understands exactly why you would like to go to counseling. Make your partner feel like you’re not against them - you’re on the same team. Talk about counseling in a collaborative and positive way.
Listen to what your partner's feelings and concerns are. Let them know they can be open and honest about their opinions and try your best to understand what they are telling you.
- Try a couples workshop.
Going to a workshop can be a very informational, powerful, and therapeutic experience. It can help you learn and understand new tactics for dealing with conflict in the relationship and can improve your communication skills without the pressure of opening up about your problems to a stranger.
- Go alone.
Relationships aren’t always equal - sometimes you have to work harder than your significant other or vice versa. If you want to improve your marriage and work on yourself, there is no shame in going to a couples counselor alone. Even without your partner, you can attend a session to get advice, hear a third person’s opinion, and educate yourself on the best ways to deal with conflict or any other problems you may be facing in your relationship.
Relationship counseling isn’t just a last-ditch effort to save your relationship. Although it can certainly help to see a professional if you’re considering breaking up your relationship, it’s best to see a counselor as soon as “unsolvable” conflict occurs.
Don’t wait too long before seeking couples counseling.
Are you facing relationship problems? Does your partner not want to attend couples counseling? Let’s talk all about it! I can give you my professional opinion, offer advice, and give you the tools you need to improve your relationship. Together we can come up with the perfect solution to your problems!