Relationships: How to Deal with a Partner Who Refuses Couples Counseling

Couples counseling has a number of benefits for couples at all stages of their relationship. Whether you've been happily married for 20 years or have simply been dating for a while and would like to remain committed to the relationship, counseling may be an excellent solution for you. So how do you deal with a partner who refuses couples counseling? Here are a few suggestions that might help you approach this potential hurdle.

Discuss the reasons for refusal

Whenever there's an issue in your relationship, the first step should always be to sit down and talk about it when it's convenient for both of you. Take a little bit of time to discuss why your partner doesn't want relationship counseling. Many people think that going to relationship counseling means there's something wrong with the relationship, or they have misconceptions about what counseling will include. Knowing why your partner is refusing couples counseling can help you constructively address the issues to hopefully put your partner at ease.

Communicate the benefits as you see them

Let your partner know why you would like relationship counseling; try to make your views specific -- but not accusatory or demanding. Explain some of the issues you've had that you believe relationship counseling may be able to help with, and ask for your partner's support in seeking counseling to solve them. Make these issues about you. For example, talk about your ability to communicate constructively or to contribute appropriately to household tasks, not your partner's insistence on watching that football game before doing what you think needs to be done. If you make the issues about your partner, it automatically puts him or her on guard, making it more likely that he or she will not openly communicate with you.

Start going by yourself

When it comes down to it, you can't force your partner to do something he or she doesn't want to do. After you've discussed any potential obstacles to relationship counseling, if your partner still doesn't want to go, then that's really all you can do. However, that doesn't mean you can't go by yourself. What you do for your own health and improvement should not rely on what your partner chooses to do.

Relationship counseling is a great way to learn even more about how to build and maintain a healthy long-term relationship, and you can both derive a lot of benefit just by one partner's attendance. Maybe your partner will see the positive change in you and decide to go later, or maybe you'll just succeed in learning how to make the relationship happier and more fulfilling from your side.

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