5 Common Confessions Men Make In Therapy That Are Red Flags For Couples Counselors

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couple standing in front of an orange and red wall, looking at one another

Men often have a difficult time speaking their truth.

Whether it's expressing their feelings or explaining their behaviors, they struggle.

In a time of crisis in a relationship, or with someone a man trusts, he may be able to tell his truth and ask for assistance.

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Five confessions that men make to alert a therapist that the relationship could be troubled.

1. "I never know how she will react, so I'm constantly walking on eggshells."

This behavior by anyone in a relationship, signals trouble. It already sets the stage that a person does not feel able to be themselves.

This individual may fear rejection, criticism or anger. The more anyone hides their true feelings, the more distance they will need to take in the relationship.

When a woman is controlling with anger or lack of acceptance, the man will stay emotionally distant and physically distant in the marriage or relationship.

A state of walking on eggshells, opens up a man to be vulnerable to outside relationships, addictions, or he may one day just walk away from his partner. The solution here is to create safety for true expression, within the relationship.

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2. " I just don't feel the chemistry with her anymore."

Whether a lack of chemistry was an aspect in the relationship from the beginning, or it developed from resentments or unexpressed feelings and desires, a lack of chemistry effects levels of physical intimacy.

So many couples come into therapy after months or years without sex with their partner. Because sexual desire is a basic human instinct, a man expressing this lack of chemistry with his wife or partner is a red flag.

In instances where chemistry was good in the beginning, the therapist can help approach and resolve feelings of resentment or unfulfilled desires and the sexual attraction can return.

In relationships where there never was chemistry, the task becomes more daunting. Couples can just live as roommates, but the danger of affairs or addictions to replace the physical intimacy becomes a larger threat.

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3. "I feel powerful when I am at work, it's just not the same at home."

A man can find so much success and satisfaction from work and making money. Unfortunately, he may not feel that same result at home. When this happens, a man can easily start working long hours and prefer his workplace to home life.

The resolve here is to see if the man lacks the skills to find closeness and acceptance at home, or whether the home situation is unwelcoming. Avoidant bonding established early in life, can lead a man towards being a workaholic, and should be dealt with in individual therapy.

A toxic or dysfunctional home life creates the need for couples or family therapy. Either way, in a satisfying and fulfilling relationship, men express a desire to get home from work and are able to demonstrate a balance between making money and experiencing love.

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4. "I hide my habits because they make me feel good — and she doesn't."

Alcoholism, sexual addiction, gambling, drug addiction, and any of the other forms of addiction all signal trouble. Breaking the cycle of addiction becomes the primary focus through treatment programs or meetings, along with therapy.

Addiction becomes a relationship/family problem when anyone in the family suffers from that cycle. If the man is not an addict, but his wife or child as addiction issues, the family or couple suffers along with the identified addict.

Usually a therapist discover issues of codependency, in the family members without the addictive behaviors. Whether the focus is treating co dependency or treating addiction, new behaviors and new awarenesses can be learned and improve the situation.

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5. "I can be myself with another woman, but I can't with my wife."

There are two very different causes that leads a man to connect physically or emotionally outside of the marriage

Some men are sex addicts and need to be the hunter and attract the attention of many women. This kind of addiction requires specific treatment to uncover the roots of the behavior and the treatment is more long term and involved. If a man is trying to resolve inner perceived deficiencies through outside relationships, there are usually many women involved, over time. 

Sexual addiction has roots in early life and the dishonesty and outside sexual activity levels are more dramatic and extensive.

If the man is trying to find physical or emotional comfort as a one time affair, the therapeutic approach is couples therapy to improve the emotional and physical intimacy within the marriage. In this case, the affair is a symptom of a relationship issue.

Repairing trust, communication, feelings and resentments can take time and it takes both members of the relationship to participate.

Marriage and intimate relationships take work and personal responsibility. This is not always easy. Growth can take place for couples as they face challenges and learn from one another. It often takes courage for a man to come in and talk to a therapist as he faces these kind of challenges, yet the rewards can be great.

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Janet Whitney, MA, LMFT has been a licensed psychotherapist since 1982. She is the author of the book and program entitled, Facing Your Fears and Following Your Dreams.