People – mostly women – get in touch with me all the time because they desperately want to start couples therapy but their partners just won’t go. Today I’ll be discussing 3 steps to get your partner sold on couples therapy.
Step 1: Be Careful with the When and How
If you’re like most people trying to get your partner to join you for couples therapy, you are most likely frustrated with your relationship and with your partner. You don’t know what else to do. So you get mad and you say, “we need serious help.”
It’s very important when and how you bring up the idea of going to couples therapy.
Getting angry at your partner isn’t going to help him want to engage in couples therapy with you. It will probably cause him to pull away and hide from you even more. (If you missed my recent post on how to get your partner to open up, check it out here.)
Don’t even think of bringing up the idea of going to therapy with him in the middle of a fight. And don’t do it in angry (even if you are angry beyond belief).
Instead, find a time when you’re getting along. From a loving place that won’t feel threatening to him, let him know that you cherish times like this when you get along. Tell him you want more of these times. Let him know how much you value your relationship and want it to be better.
Make sure you are feeling calm when you tell him this. If you can even allow yourself to get a little vulnerable with him, letting him into your fears that the two of you will never be able to figure it out, your chances of him hearing you will be even higher.
It’s hard to really be vulnerable when your relationship is strained. Even if you *think* you are being vulnerable, you may still feel frustrated and sound a little hostile. Check yourself before opening your mouth.
You are taking a big risk by wearing your heart on your sleeve and he may still reject the idea, but it’s worth everything you have to save your relationship.
Step 2: Own Up To Your Part of the Problem
You may feel that the problems in your relationship are really his fault, but I can assure you, they probably aren’t.
Let’s face it, it takes two to tango. And you are half of this relationship.
Even if you can’t believe me that you have something to do with the problems in your relationship, act as if you do.
I’m telling you this so that your partner won’t think that you are hoping to get him to therapy so that he’ll shape up and you’ll just stay the same. Whether you like it or not, you will be a large part of the process.
If you’re the one who wants to go to therapy, my bet is that you might have the tendency to be a little critical. In fact, your partner might feel constantly criticized by you. The last thing he wants to do is go to therapy with you so that he will be told not only by you but by the therapist that he’s wrong (even though that’s not how it works).
The thing is, your partner is probably scared of you.