Tips for Getting Your Partner on Board With Couples Counseling

Couples counseling, by its definition, takes two. No matter how much you’d like to improve your relationship and strengthen communication between you and your partner, the first step is to make sure that your partner is on board.

But what if they aren’t? Is that a sign it’s time to break up? Or do you go it alone, with one-on-one counseling and hope that your new skills are sufficient to improve your relationship?

At The Soho Center for Mental Health Counseling, our caring counselors diagnose help you and your partner connect at our offices in Greenwich Village, Manhattan, New York City couples counseling, or through secure teletherapy. Couples can benefit from therapy at any stage of their relationship, including the very beginning.

Most couples, though, wait at least six years before getting involved in couples therapy. Unfortunately, almost 70% of problems in relationships don’t resolve themselves on their own.

Do you want to convince your partner to jump on board for couples therapy to strengthen your relationship? Here are a few tips on how to accomplish that.

Stay light … and connected

When you’re eager to improve your relationship, your partner might sense your tension and stress. They could feel threatened or judged by your unhappiness or discontent, perhaps worrying that you’re seeking couples therapy to have the therapist take sides against them.

Before broaching serious relationship issues, take time to connect in a light-hearted or playful manner. Engage in activities you both enjoy, such as watching a movie, TV show, or playing a game together.

Additionally, ensure your partner has the time and energy for a serious conversation. If they’re rushing out or feeling overly tired, wait for a calmer moment when they’re relaxed and receptive.

Ask them if they want to talk

Approaching your partner with aggression by listing complaints or frustrations is likely to lead to a negative outcome. Conversations that begin aggressively often escalate in the same manner.

Instead, initiate a conversation by inviting your partner to share their own needs and perspectives. Start by expressing appreciation for your partner and reaffirming their importance to you. Then, ask them about their desires and expectations for the relationship.

Maintain a gentle tone and try to release any expectations. The goal here is to introduce the topic in a non-threatening manner.

By emphasizing your partner’s significance and seeking their input on the relationship’s direction, you reduce the likelihood of them feeling blamed or threatened by your concerns.

Just listen

Even if you’re tempted to interject and persuade your partner to change their mind or defend yourself based on their statements, it’s crucial to simply listen and gather their perspective. They may have a vastly different view of the relationship than you do.

If they ask questions, respond honestly and without confrontation. If you’re unsure of an answer, suggest looking it up together online.

Reframe the idea

Your partner might reject the notion of therapy due to concerns that something is inherently “wrong” with them or the relationship. Position therapy as a coaching session instead. Just as top athletes and successful business people benefit from coaches to elevate their performance, therapy can enhance communication, intimacy, and overall relationship quality.

There’s no shame in striving for improvement and excellence, particularly in your intimate relationship.

Don’t be discouraged by “no”

You likely took time to recognize the need for couples therapy, but your partner may not be at that point yet. Respect their stance and inquire about their reservations. Focus on listening without attempting to change their perspective immediately.

They may have valid concerns that you can address or simply need more time to consider the idea. Shift the conversation to other topics if necessary and allow them space to reflect.

In the meantime, seeking counseling for yourself can equip you with valuable skills to navigate relationship challenges and potentially inspire your partner to explore counseling as well.

If and when your partner is ready to start couples therapy, or if you decide to pursue individual therapy, feel free to reach out to our compassionate team by phone or through our online form. We also offer convenient telehealth counseling sessions.