Issues with your partner are a part of every relationship. In fact, shockingly I know, all relationships experience issues...regardless of what people's social media accounts lead you to believe. We, as humans, play pretend pretty well. You can put on a face and act like things are going just peachy and that whatever it is that you're through is just a phase...until you can't pretend it'll get better anymore.
Sometimes these issues are so bad, its hard to know how to get past them and who to talk to. But the the truth is, if you knew how to do yourself, you would have already done it.
Maybe this is you, right now. You feel like you and your partner need to talk to someone and you've tried talking to friends or even family members, but hasn't helped. You need a professional. BUT, you're afraid that the moment you bring it up, your partner will shut down or it will turn into a big fight.
Here are a few tips to help you make this conversation a little more beneficial.
1. Make it about you.
This conversation can be laden with so many emotions. If you have a partner that is likely to feel attacked, making it about you is disarming and can further the conversation. If you make it about all the ways you are unhappy with your partner and all the things they are doing wrong, they will expect the focus of counseling to be all about them, how much suck, and all the things they have to do to change. THAT is overwhelming and will make them feel like big fat failure. Now that's certainly something you'd want to be a part of right? (insert sarcasm here). So, focus on what you feel like you need to work on in the relationship and how you know you ned the support of someone else together.
2. Watch Your Tone.
Do you remember a time when someone approached about something and out of the gate they had an attitude or just seemed on the defense? Think "Susie Sunshine" or "Happy Harold..." The goal is to be genuine and real... but kind and open. If you've broached this topic before, your partner is likely to be on edge the moment you bring it up... because well... our brains do not forget the way this went last time. So, prepare yourself to get some "push back" and resolve that no matter what they say, you WILL be kind.
3. Offer to look for counselors together.
Odds are, if you're feeling like you need a couples counselor, you two are not doing a solid job of operating like a team. This can be an opportunity to do something together that will benefit both of you. I have been doing this long enough to know that it doesn't always work out that way... HOWEVER, you can't hit if you don't swing. And while I can't tell you that searching for a counselor together will be any sort of exhilarating, I can say that being on the same page about ANYTHING is a positive place to be.
4. Find a counselor who will talk with both of you.
Last but certainly not least, you want to find a counselor who will talk to with both of you. Now, this is not common practice. Often counselors just speak with one of the partners and book the session. There is nothing wrong with this. However, if you can both talk with the counselor before you go see him or her, it can help prevent "counselor hopping" to find someone who fits you both BEST. The more you united you can be as a couple, the better for you.
From my heart to yours,