There are many couples who are struggling with problems in their relationship but one of the partners is unwilling to attend therapy. It is common for people to feel that if they need marriage counseling in their relationship then the relationship has failed already. Other people believe that therapy is only indicated when things are really bad. Either way, below are important suggestions about what to do when your partner doesn’t want to go to couple’s therapy in San Francisco.

Going alone

Although two is always better than one when it comes to couple’s therapy, it is possible for you to make improvements in the relationship by attending therapy alone. By making sure that your therapist is a qualified couple’s counselor you will be able to work on some of the problems in your relationship by attending individual therapy.

Remember that in a relationship all problems are co-created. This means that both partners have a role to play in the problems that have ensued. Often negative patterns of interaction and communication are set up and become entrenched in such a way that the couple tends to revert to this default negative pattern each time a conflict situation arises. As a result, when one partner begins to change the way in which they behave within the relationship, it automatically begins to shift the dynamics in the relationship. So if you attend couple’s therapy alone, you will be able to make positive shifts in your relationship by accepting the role you play in the negative patterns in your relationship and looking at ways in which you could change your behavior to affect the relationship positively.

Encouraging your partner to join you indirectly

Unfortunately we cannot change other people and we cannot force them to do things that they do not want to do. And the same goes for couple’s therapy. You cannot force your partner to attend sessions with you and doing so would only create more negative sentiment between you. It is important that people attend therapy because they want to and because they can see the value in it. If you start going on your own, you can help your partner see the value of it.

Share your insights and progress: One partner is often afraid that the therapy may cause more problems than resolutions. As a result, when one partner attends therapy alone and positive changes begin to occur, the other partner softens up toward the idea of attending therapy. They begin to see the merit in the process and are more interested in becoming a part of it.

Inviting them to go for a one-time session: At other times the unwilling partner could be enticed to join the therapy by scheduling an individual session with the same therapist where he / she can have an opportunity to “tell their side of the story”. Often the experience of actually being with the marriage counselor is a positive one, which softens them to the idea of therapy and encourages them to return for a couple’s session.

Asking your partner to join you

If you want to bring up the conversation again about coming in together, than it needs to be done in an empathic and sensitive manner. Remember that attending therapy is often a very anxiety provoking experience for many people and, perhaps, your partner is just feeling anxious. Perhaps he / she simply does not want to admit that the problems in the relationship have become serious and that you require the assistance of a couple’s counselor in San Francisco. Try to have some empathy for their perspective, while asserting your needs in a respectful way.

1. Find a time to talk about attending therapy when you are both in a calm and amenable space. Bringing up the topic when you are in the middle of an argument or unhappy with one another is not a good time.

2. Communicate your concerns and fears clearly and respectfully. By using “I” statements and explaining your feelings carefully. Also, emphasize that you want to go to counseling because you’re interested in improving your relationship. You could say something like: “I am feeling really scared that this relationship is not working for us at the moment. I really want to make things work with you and I worry that we can’t fix this alone. I would really appreciate it if we could give couple’s therapy a try and see how it goes”.

3. Help them connect to their motivation: ask your partner, what would they want to improve in their relationship, how they would like to feel. For example “I would like us to fight less”, “I would like us to have a better sexual connection”. Once they do you can tell them that you would really make a strong commitment to work together with them and the therapist to achieve that.

4. If your partner still seems hesitant, don’t become confrontational or accusing as this will alienate him / her further. Ask them about their concerns, see if he/she are open to talking about what they are afraid of or why they don’t want to go. Invite them to bring these concerns up with the therapist in a consultation call or in a first session.

5. Wait for another good time to talk about it again. If he / she still seems unwilling, then go for counseling on your own.