You want couple’s counseling but your partner does not. Are you doomed?

“Should I still come to counseling to work on my relationship if my partner won’t come? What’s the point? Maybe I should just give up. We’re doomed, right?”

I hear this type of question quite often. It’s unfortunate, but often the partner who really needs to come to counseling is the one who refuses to show up.

Still, my answer to anyone who is wondering, “Should I get counseling/coaching/therapy to improve my relationship even if my partner won’t come?” is…

Yes.

You should still come.

Why?

Because ultimately, getting counseling means that you are choosing to improve the one relationship that sets the tone for all of the other relationships in your life:

Your relationship with yourself.

Strengthen your relationship with yourself (how you treat yourself, how you talk to yourself, the level of love and respect that you give to yourself), and by extension, all of the other relationships in your life can improve, too. 

You might be thinking, “But he/she is the problem. Why am I the one who has to do all the work? Why is it always me who has to change?”

That line of thinking is counter-productive, and here’s why: 

Maybe you are getting counseling and your partner refuses to come. Maybe the situation is reversed. But if the overall goal is to create a happier relationship, does it really matter who “goes first”? At the end of a painful war, does it really matter who initiates the waving of the white flag? No. All that matters is returning to love, health, and peace. 

This isn’t about sibling rivalry or payback (“You screwed up, so now YOU need to make it right!”). 

This is about doing whatever it takes to get things on track.  

Whether you make the first move, or whether your partner makes the first move, it’s a first move in the right direction. That’s what counts.

To sum it up:

Your time spent in counseling will be positive and growth-producing, no matter what.  

Maybe you will choose to stay in your current relationship. Maybe you won’t.

Maybe your partner will see the positive effects that counseling is having on you and decide to join in. Maybe not.

No matter what, counseling can be a beautiful investment in your health, happiness, and personal power. 

Over time, you can work toward a state of heightened sense of confidence and self-assurance. Single or coupled, with a supportive partner or with one who resists change, the end goal of counseling is to help you reach a point where you can look yourself in the mirror, with total self-belief, and say: 

“I have the power to become the kind of person, partner, and parent that I want to be. Nothing is stopping me.”

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Dr. Suzanne Gelb is a clinical psychologist, life coach and family law attorney.

She believes that it is never too late to become the person you want to be. Strong. Confident. Calm. Creative. Free of all of the burdens that have held you back -- no matter what has happened in the past.

Her insights on personal growth have been featured on more than 200 radio programs, 200 TV interviews and online at Forbes, Newsweek, The Huffington Post, The Daily Love, MindBodyGreen, and many other places.

Step into her virtual office at DrSuzanneGelb.com, explore her blog, book a private session, wave hello on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up to receive a free meditation and her weekly writings on health, happiness and self-respect.

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