Why won’t my partner go to therapy? (1/2)

What to do when your partner won't go to therapy (and you think they should)

woman in gray long sleeve shirt sitting on couch

Let me start by saying this is part 1 of a 2-part article series.

In this article, we explore why it’s so important for you that your partner(s) go to therapy.

In the next article, we’ll explore what to do about it…

What's your why?

Take a moment to ask yourself why you want your partner to go to therapy?

Now, take a moment to reflect on where else in your relationship you take on your partner’s responsibilities: their finances (I’m better at maths), their packed lunch (I’m making the kids’ anyway), their laundry (well, they’re never going to do it…). 

What do all of these “being helpful”, “being generous”, “taking one for the team”, and “saving them time” behaviours all have in common?

They are all controlling behaviours.

They can all be tactics to control what your partner does and how they do it.

You can be the most generous and selfless person, but if your aim is to control how your partner acts then this is a major indicator of codependency.

And, as you can’t really ever control your partner anyway, the outcome is usually that you are not only unsatisfied but also very anxious, and they are increasingly disempowered.

That doesn't sound like me...or does it?

If you’re not sure, here’s a short quiz: give yourself 1 point for every yes.

  1. You do things for your partner that they could easily do for themself.
    (Bonus point: you then don’t have time/energy to do it for yourself) 
  2. You try to protect your partner from uncomfortable emotional situations and/or their own bad decisions and shortcomings.
    (Bonus point: you’re nowhere near as protective or generous with yourself.)
  3. You make empty threats to your partner and pretend they’re boundaries.
    (Bonus point: if you’ve just realised you don’t know how to express boundaries in any way except as threats.)
  4. You’re in therapy and you try to heal your partner through your personal healing journey.
    (Bonus point: if you’ve offered to book your partner a therapy session.)
  5. You have decided the future of your relationship depends on your partner going to therapy.
    (Bonus point: you believe you’re already doing everything you can to save your relationship.) 

Did you get 10/10?

If you did, don’t worry. Not only are you not alone, you’re in the majority (sorry, no gold star!). So many people use these relationship techniques whether consciously or unconsciously.

At least now you know that you have some control issues and your relationship may well contain codependent behaviours. Gaining awareness is half of the battle.

Wait - you tricked me!

You didn’t think this article was going to tell you how to manipulate your partner into going to therapy, did you? Or was that what you were secretly hoping??

Sorry, nope. This isn’t about them, it’s about you. However, there are plenty of very important steps you can take once you’ve separated out what you can control and what you can’t. 

In the next article, we’ll look at 7 habits that can help you and your relationship when you feel your partner needs to go to therapy and they won’t.

If this article has made you stop and think, and you feel it’s time to work through these issues, why not get in touch? I’m here to help.