Attending therapy is not a secret formula or magic potion. It’s work, hard work. Couples therapy, for example, can be a powerful step toward growth and reconnection. But showing up is the start. Both partners must be invested in the process. Without such commitment—plus a huge dose of honesty—your therapist will be limited in what they can do.
Couples counseling is a journey. Your experience will be unlike anyone else who has tried it. The only way to reap the rewards is to take the plunge. Others may tell you it “doesn’t work,” but there are some very common reasons why their experience may have been less than ideal.
Why Couples Therapy Might Not Be Working For You
Again, it’s much more than just showing up. You and your partner must share certain goals. A primary goal, of course, is to heal the relationship. (See reason #3 below for more about this.) Other shared goals are those that add up to a life plan. Where do you each see this relationship right now? Where do you see things in a few years?
As mentioned in a previous post, another issue could revolve around individual issues. One or both of you could be struggling with personal problems. These factors can impact a relationship and hinder couples therapy. In such instances, individual therapy may be the right starting point.
What about the therapist? Do you and your partner feel like it’s a good fit? Couples therapy requires a three-way trust bond. Without that, everything will stall. All that said, there are some big reasons why you may feel frustrated with your counseling progress.
3 BIG Reasons Why Couples Therapy Might Not Be Working For You
1. Both Partners Are Not Committed
This cannot be overstated. If you feel like you’re practically dragging your spouse to sessions, it’s a red flag. Talk about it with them—in the presence of your counselor. Often, the lack of commitment is not a sign of surrender or indifference. Rather, the reluctant partner is afraid or anxious or feels awkward talking about feelings.
2. One Partner is Having an Affair That They Won’t Discontinue
I warned you these are BIG reasons. Infidelity is not uncommon. Sometimes, the cheating partner will promise to cut off all contact with the other person but will break that promise. Besides the obvious betrayal and loss of trust, this situation can hint at the presence of underlying resentment or even contempt. Therapy can’t produce reconciliation if one partner is unwilling to do the very least they can do.
3. One Partner Has Already Decided to Leave the Relationship
On the surface, this sounds like the end. But there can be so much more going on. Couples therapy can actually be the ideal setting to talk about this. The partner who wants to leave may gain new perspectives. They can talk openly about their feelings and truly listen to what their spouse is saying. Even if reconnection is off the table, couple therapy is extremely useful in creating closure in such a painful scenario.
Finding the Right Therapist
Once again, I will echo my recent post. You need an experienced, unbiased, and compassionate counselor. When, as a couple, you connect with such a practitioner, it can be a game-changer. Before you give up on therapy—or on your marriage—look into your options. Find someone who understands your situation and can handle it with skill and empathy.
Difficult times can provoke hopelessness. We are here to tell you that couples therapy can make a difference. Let’s connect for a free consultation.