If you ask any couple’s therapist what the biggest factor is predicting success in couple’s therapy, they would tell you that attending couple’s therapy when problems first arise and not years later will lead to success. Couples often attend therapy as a last-ditch effort to address difficulties that started to arise in their relationship years prior. Once these difficulties have taken root, they can spread to every aspect of the relationship and lead to a decrease in intimacy and an increase negative feelings and resentment. Once a relationship has more negatives than positives it is a long uphill road to a healthy relationship. However, if partners still have deep love and care for one another and enter couple’s therapy with an open mind and curiosity, progress will quickly be made!
So what stops couple’s from starting couples therapy right away? Here are some myths that may be preventing you or your partner from taking the necessary steps to reconnect!
Attending Couple’s Therapy Means You Have A Bad Relationship:
I often hear couple’s say, “we don’t have that bad of a relationship” or “what does it mean about my relationship that we are attending couple’s therapy?” Attending couple’s therapy doesn’t mean your relationship is in dire straits or anything negative about your future ability to create a fulfilling intimate relationship. Attending couple’s therapy actually means that you both are healthy and understand that your relationship is a priority. There is not a relationship handbook and odds are even in the healthiest relationships there are areas of improvement!
You Aren’t Married so You Don’t Need Couple’s Therapy:
I see couples who have been together for 5 months or 30 years. If you are early in your relationship and attending couples therapy odds are that you are starting your relationship on a better foot than most relationships! All couples have different journeys and seeking the best path for you is never an unhealthy choice. If couple’s therapy still feels daunting prior to marriage you can always try out premarital therapy!
You’ve Been Together Long Enough That That You Should Be Able to Solve Your Problems on Your Own:
Those who have been in relationships for decades or longer know that there are many different stages and phases of your relationship. You also know that you are not the same person you were when you first started your relationship. It is beyond easy to fall into your routines and not realize how little intimate and intentional time you both spend together. We always need to continually have curiosity in our relationship and sometimes we need a guide to find our way back to our partner.
My couple’s therapist is going to side with my partner and gang up on me:
A common expectation in couple’s therapy is that you want someone else to see how wrong your partner is and side with you. In reality, in couple’s therapy the client is the relationship and not either member of the couple. The goal of couple’s therapy is to make the relationship healthier and if one person is right and one person is wrong it won’t lead to either of you being happy. In couple’s therapy you will learn how to collaborate and make decisions as a team that benefits both of you!
Dr. Brittany Woolford