Our relationship was a disaster but we had the opportunity to work with a couples counselor and we took it. Therapy forced us to confront some difficult issues but ultimately it was helpful for making a decision about whether or not to stay together.
Resources were available to me, which I realize is a privilege. Some people don’t even have access to a personal therapist, nevermind a couple’s counselor. I just happened to be at a college where mental health care was included in my tuition. As a result, I was able to have a personal therapist as well as one for my relationship. I took advantage of this while I could! Though, again, I realize this is not even possible for some people.
We were really on the rocks. We started counseling because we were in serious trouble. We were fighting like crazy and cheating was even involved. We cared about each other a lot, though, and wanted to try to salvage the relationship. Spoiler alert: we were too far gone to be fixed. The problems that we were having were indicative of a much bigger problem: the fact that we shouldn’t be in a relationship with each other.
We’d only been dating a few months. I know it’s pretty crazy that we went to therapy after only a few months of dating. Like I said, both of us wanted to make it work so we gave it a shot. The truth of the matter was that problems this serious shouldn’t be popping up so soon (or at all). Nonetheless, the therapist indulged us and never made fun of us for how short of a time we were together. It was validating.
It was cool that he was open to it. I feel like many men are afraid of therapy because they feel they don’t need it or it makes them less of a man to talk about their feelings. This is all toxic masculinity bullcrap. I’m glad that my partner was able to acknowledge that we both could benefit from counseling. He didn’t let societal garbage get in the way of getting help.
I was already in therapy but I needed him there for some things. As I mentioned, I was already seeing a therapist. That one wouldn’t do the group counseling as she’d be biased. I had to get another therapist to work with my boyfriend. My personal therapy was definitely super helpful in processing many things but I feel like my boyfriend and I needed to be in a room together to hash things out and have a nonbiased party give feedback.
My friends didn’t support the decision. My roommate told me that I was absolutely insane for going to couples counseling with someone I hardly knew. She was in a multi-year long relationship, so she laughed at my couple month long relationship problems. My friends also thought that it was a tad bit crazy to go to therapy with someone I’ve only known for so long. I guess they had a point!
It made us realize how intense our relationship was. When we started the first session essentially barking at one another and crossing our arms, we realized how heated things had gotten. We saw that maybe our friends might be right about us being too far gone. We started to come to terms with the fact that our relationship had become wildly intense, and not in a good way.
Ultimately, it helped us break up. Seeing a counselor was like having a mirror shined back on us. We were able to process things with someone who had no stake in the matter. She was able to tell it to us like it was and we could really get stuff off of our chests. We only had a handful of sessions, but ultimately we ended up breaking up. In true form, it was a heated breakup.
There’s no shame in therapy. Sure, men have an extra amount of stigma, but even some women struggle with the idea of getting this kind of help. However, there’s nothing to be ashamed about, even if you’re silly like me and go to therapy with a dufus you hardly know. Even then it’s OK.
I definitely would recommend it. Maybe not for the short-term relationships, but who knows? It might be helpful as it was for me. I definitely recommend couples counseling for people in longer-term relationships with more at stake. It can be a wonderful platform to work through the kinks. It may save a relationship or it may break it but ultimately, it helps.
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