I often have people ask me what they should do if their partner refuses to go to Couples Therapy, but they want to see changes in the relationship!
- Open invitation. Tell your significant other the date, time, and location of your first appointment. Explain you are going to see a Couples Therapist even if they choose to not attend because you want to learn what you can do to improve the relationship. Tell your partner that the therapist can likely be more helpful if they can hear both sides, but you accept right now they do not want to attend. Say, “this is an open invitation. I will give you the information for the first appointment and my future appointments. You are always welcome at any time if you ever change your mind.”
- Systemic change. Talk to your therapist about how to create systemic change in your relationship. Individual therapy can still be helpful. Your therapist can assist you with identifying positive changes that you can make – changes that might just have a domino effect to creating a more satisfactory relationship!
- Be persistent. I have helped many clients to be persistent about seeking change in their relationship. Therapy often helps people become crystal clear and less confused about the change they are seeking – in addition to why this change is important or necessary for their physical and emotional health. Armed with clarity and support, many clients have then pushed for change and weathered through conflict with their significant other until the change they wanted has occurred!
- Ringing the alarm bell. In some cases, people feel that their partner not going to Couples Therapy is the beginning of the end of the partnership! If you are truly at a breaking point, you can use therapy to help you discern the future of your relationship. If your partner refuses to ever go to any appointments and other changes you have tried are not working, you should ring the alarm bell! This means telling your partner, “I am considering breaking off this relationship (or filing for a divorce) because I am so dissatisfied in our relationship.” I have seen many people change their mind and go to Couples Therapy when their partner rings the alarm bell. But without the alarm bell, they did not go. However, you should only ring the bell if you mean it.
So… if you want a better relationship and your partner is dragging his or her feet…. there is no need to delay! You can schedule an appointment any time at www.therapyportal.com/p/drstephanie/