Couples Counseling for One

How can our relationship possibly get better when I am the only one who seems willing to work on it?

couples-counseling-for-one-wichita-fallsDoes it feel like the responsibility for making things better in your relationship has fallen squarely on your shoulders? Are you frantic to make things better while your partner does not seem to be putting much, if any, effort into improving your relationship? Does your partner drag their feet, keep putting you off, or even refuse to discuss the subject when you bring up your relationship problems or the idea of getting help? Maybe your partner says that everything is fine or that it is really your issues that are causing the problems? Or perhaps your partner is willing to acknowledge that their own issues are contributing to the relationship problems but is still reluctant or unwilling to seek couples counseling? Do you find yourself wondering if you will be able to improve your relationship all by yourself?

It is not unusual for people in a committed relationship to find themselves in a situation where one partner is motivated to work on resolving problems while the other partner is reluctant, or even unwilling, to do so. As the more motivated partner, it might be difficult for you to understand your partner’s reluctance, especially when it seems so obvious to you that something needs to be done before these problems further damage your relationship. Reluctant partners are often fearful that they will be singled out and blamed for the problems in the relationship, or are very concerned that addressing them will either make things worse or might actually end the relationship. Another possibility might be that your partner has a personal style that generally involves avoiding conflict, problems, or unpleasantness. You might be surprised to learn that, as long as both of you are committed to the relationship, your partner’s apparent reluctance/unwillingness to address problems is not a barrier to making things better between the two of you.

Don’t Give Up

I am Dr. Kelly Guthrie, a relationship expert who has been practicing in the Wichita Falls area for 10 years. I help individuals who are in committed relationships — whose partners are reluctant or unwilling to come to couples counseling — address problems, repair and strengthen their relationships.

Its hard to be the only motivated partner

Dealing with relationship problems is stressful under the best of circumstances. It can, however, feel even more discouraging and demoralizing when you are motivated to work on the problems but your partner is reluctant, or even refuses, to do so. Many people in this situation feel resentful toward, and misunderstood by, their partners and question whether it is even possible for them to improve the relationship without their partners’ support and assistance.

Things can get much better

The good news is that it is entirely possible for you to improve your relationship on your own if both you and your partner are committed to being in the relationship. With my help, you can:

  • Understand the role your actions play in creating and maintaining the conflict and/or disconnection in your relationship
  • Productively manage or resolve current conflicts
  • Effectively communicate your concerns and needs to your partner
  • Discover alternative ways to get your needs met.
  • Heal past hurts and resentments.
  • Bring back joy and affection to your relationship
  • Rebuild emotional and physical intimacy with your partner

Questions and answers

I’m really not sure how working by myself will help our relationship?

It is totally understandable for you to wonder how going to therapy alone will make a difference since conventional wisdom holds that relationships can only be helped when both partners are motivated to work on the problems. Many of my clients have found that couples counseling with only one partner can still be highly effective when both partners are committed to being in the relationship. there is a delicate balance in the relationship so that, when one person actively works on changing how they interact with their partner, the other partner, (even if they are not actively working on improving the relationship) is influenced and will often begin to make positive changes as a result. In other words, what you do can influence how your partner responds.

If I come to couples counseling alone, will my partner eventually decide to come too?

This is one of the most common questions asked by individuals who decide to work on their relationship without their partner. While it would be a mistake to assume that your partner will join you in couples therapy, your commitment to actively working on the relationship can sometimes become contagious. I have worked with a number of individuals whose reluctant partner became more interested in participating in the therapy process as they saw their partner actively work on improving the relationship. .

What if my partner’s problems are the reason for our relationship difficulties?

It can often appear as though one partner’s actions, such as infidelity or substance abuse, are the “cause” of the problems in the relationship. The reality in most cases, however, is that both of you are likely contributing in some way to the problems that exist in your relationship. This does not mean that you and your partner’s contributions are equal, nor does it mean that you are in any way responsible for your partner’s actions. This simply means that what each of you does has an influence on how the other person responds. What many people have found is that taking a closer look at these interactions and then making some adjustments in how you approach and/or cope with your partner’s problems can have a powerful and positive influence on the relationship.

My partner wants to separate/divorce but I want to stay together. Will coming to couples counseling by myself help save our relationship?

If your partner is irretrievably committed to the idea of separating and/or divorcing, then unfortunately counseling designed to save your relationship will not be effective. If you currently find yourself in this situation, counseling that focuses on helping you peacefully end the relationship and/or adjust to the many changes that accompany a separation/divorce will be more useful and appropriate. You can learn more about this type of counseling by checking out the healthy separation/divorce page of this website.

There are a lot of therapists in town, why should I choose you?

This is a great question! There are several things that set me apart from other therapists.

  • My approach to couples therapy involves focusing on the core issues that need to be addressed and teaching people the skills they need to break the negative cycles that have caused damage in the past.
  • My clients tell me that they feel like I understand what they are experiencing and describe me as warm, empathic, open and non-judgmental.
  • I provide a safe and accepting environment for discussing and processing relationship issues regardless of sexual, gender, cultural or spiritual orientation.
  • I offer a 20-minute consultation at no charge so you can see how you feel and whether you think we are a good match for one another. If you do not feel like we are a good fit for any reason, I will gladly refer you to another therapist who might be a better match for you so you can get the help you are seeking.

Bottom Line…

Differences in motivation for dealing with problems are normal but can further escalate the conflict and/or distance that already exists between you and your partner. You need to break this pattern.

  • People often assume that their relationship can only be helped if both partners are motivated to make things better. Don’t make this mistake.
  • Your relationship problems won’t just “go away” on their own. You need to turn things around now.
  • Unresolved problems can, over time, strain a relationship to the point where irreparable damage is done. Don’t let this happen.
  • I can help you create a happier, healthier relationship even if your partner is reluctant or unwilling to make changes.

I invite you to contact me if you have any questions or would like more information about how I might help you.