Too often when couples come to me for therapy, in a matter of minutes I can see that at least one of them has already checked out of the relationship. So why are they there? Maybe the person who has one foot out just wants to “do the right thing” – to give the appearance of trying before calling it quits. When this is happening their partner already feels the desperation of a lost cause. It’s sad and it is preventable.
Why do people wait too long before looking for help? Two answers are:
- Lack of information. Obviously you can’t get help if you don’t know there is a thing called couples therapy, or if no one you know has ever done it.
- Embarrassment. It’s tough to go to a complete stranger and talk about what’s wrong. It all feels too private and intimate – sensitive topics like sex, money and time-management bring out feelings of rejection, anger, disappointment and frustration.
But what is the alternative? If you don’t get help, what happens is that you go along OK for a while, and then a problem surfaces. You have a big fight or an icy withdrawal, (or both), then a slow thaw until things are OK again – on the surface. But underneath the unresolved problems are still there just waiting for the next round. Damage and distance build, and trust erodes.
Yes it does take courage to go to therapy, but you have so much to lose if you don’t! It is important to know that having problems in a relationship is normal – every couple has them. What you need to resolve those problems are good communication skills.
Therapy can give you a neutral zone to meet in, and a person to teach you how to express your feelings and wants clearly, without attacking or shaming. You can finally understand each other and navigate real compromises. Therapy can’t guarantee that the two of you are going to stay together, but it is definitely worth a try. Don’t wait until it is too late!
Read more in my book: Someone To Talk To; What Really Happens in Therapy and How it Can Work for You
Find it on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1627875956