Relationships // July 7, 2014
This article was originally posted on Baucemag.com.
Whether he’s happy or not, the mention of couple’s therapy is enough to send any guy running. The idea of airing out his dirty laundry in front of a stranger isn’t exactly what he’d consider a day well spent. But if your long-term relationship is in trouble, and you want to fix it, couples therapy may be just what you and your partner need. With that being said, knowing when couples therapy is a viable option is important. It obviously isn’t for everyone and every situation. Read on to see if couples therapy could end up being the solution you’ve been looking for.
Couples Therapy Could Save Your Relationship If …
- You have a specific problem to resolve. Go into therapy with a specific set of issues you and your partner would like to see resolved. Don’t waste your time and money by going into therapy without a clear set of goals.
- You fail to understand why you keep having the same fight. Every individual has triggers – specific things that bother them that wouldn’t necessarily bother others. Triggers often leave the other partner at a loss for what the issue is or why it’s even an issue at all. A therapist can effectively facilitate a discussion on these triggers and help couples understand the basis for these reactions without the name-calling or finger-pointing.
- You want an honest outlook on your relationship. Therapists won’t endorse a relationship if he or she thinks you’re better off apart, and won’t sabotage a relationship that’s worth working on. You’ll have access to an unbiased view that you can’t necessarily get from family or friends. However, your therapist won’t push you in one direction or the other. Whether you stay together or not is a decision only you and your partner are able to make.
- You’re ready to put it all out there. Therapy is all about full disclosure. It’s essential. Throughout therapy, your therapist will ask you about your relationship as a whole, not just what you feel needs to be worked on, as well as your respective relationship histories. Your answers will help the therapist identify your communication styles and your past relationships will make it easier to identify recurring patterns. Be fully prepared to participate in the process, or neither of you will benefit.
Couples Therapy Is Not For You If…
- You’re looking for someone to take your side. Therapy isn’t one-sided. Both partners need to acknowledge that changes need to be made – in both his behavior and yours. Basically, keep an open mind and be prepared to hear good and bad about yourself, not just your partner.
- You haven’t been in your relationship for a long time. If you’re heading to therapy before the one-year mark, it may be time to reassess your relationship: Are you truly compatible? What are the chances of a long-term relationship blossoming?
- If you’re trying to sort out trivial matters, such as laundry or dish duty. Unless there is a true inability to communicate, therapy is best for dealing with issues that the two of you aren’t capable of sorting out on your own – like infidelity.
- You want to dominate the session. You must prepare to listen and stay silent when your partner speaks or is giving their point of view. Growth can’t happen if you continuously interject when someone else has the floor.
Whether your relationship works out or not – and I hope it does – therapy is a chance and an opportunity to learn more about yourself and the way you interact with the people in your life. This could never be a bad thing. Good luck!