Help! My Partner Refuses To Go To Therapy!

In a long term relationship or marriage, it is normal to go through ups and downs. Maybe you have been feeling disconnected or alone in your marriage? Or you and your partner aren’t communicating well and are having a lot of disagreements? You may see the issues and feel stuck as to how to make your relationship better. You have done your research and decided that you want to go to couples therapy and after telling your partner this idea, your partner said no they don’t want to go to therapy. It can be disappointing and frustrating to hear that your partner doesn’t want to go to marriage counseling, however try not to take it personally. It doesn’t mean that your partner doesn’t love you or care about your relationship. Get curious and ask your partner why they don’t want to go to couples therapy. Maybe they are embarrassed to talk about their problems in front of a stranger? Maybe they had a bad experience with a therapist? Or maybe they are scared to talk about the issues because they are afraid it will make things worse. There are a lot of reasons why partners sometimes don’t want to come to counseling. Most of the time when a couple shows up at my office for the first time, one partner wants to be there and the other does not. However, if your partner refuses to go to therapy, there are still options available to improve your relationship.

Please do not nag or complain to your partner if they say no to couples therapy. I promise you that won’t help the situation. And do not give an ultimatum or divorce or that you will leave the relationship unless you are really prepared to do so. Here are some other options you can try if your partner refuses to go to therapy that may help to improve your relationship. 

  1. Talk to your partner about a collaborative, and positive approach to therapy called Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy. This model of therapy focuses on the couple’s negative pattern of communication, helping partners see what they do in the pattern, how it makes them feel and then how to step out of it so they can communicate in a healthier way and rebuild the emotional connection. This model of therapy is a non-blaming and non-confrontational type of couples therapy. Search for an EFT therapist and www.iceeft.org
  2. Read self-help books together like Hold Me Tight by Dr. Sue Johnson who developed EFT. There are seven conversations of love that you and your partner can work through together. This book will teach you about your negative pattern of communication and how to rebuild your emotional connection. 
  3. Go to a couples workshop like Hold Me Tight workshops. These are 2 day workshops where you can learn in a group with other couples about emotional connection, your negative dance, and exercises that you do together in the workshop led by a group facilitator. 
  4. Go to counseling alone to address your relationship issues. Counseling can help you learn better ways to approach your issues and have a positive effect on your relationship. Sometimes when one partner changes, the other partner will change  as well. 

So don’t lose hope! Just because your partner is saying no now doesn’t mean they won’t change their mind later. Try the options listed above, and be gentle with your partner. It will go a long way in easing them into any of the options! 

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