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Couples Counseling?
March 21, 2006
10:32 pm
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ryny143
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Hi~ Does anyone have any experience with couples counseling? I'm considering it, and I'm curious as to what exactly goes on in sessions and what success/failure people have had. This is the last possible solution to try for us.....what can be expected? Anyone?...

March 21, 2006
10:53 pm
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loverbee
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It is a place where both of you share your open totally honest thoughts and the other has to listen. THe therapist usually moderates and then helps you resolve issues. i would highly recommend it.

March 21, 2006
10:58 pm
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ryny143
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Can it help with trust? He's lied a few times lately, so I'm afraid this will be the ONE thing that hurts us...

March 21, 2006
11:06 pm
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lilyfun
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I would be really, really careful about couple's counseling. My husband is a therapist and he is often quite biased against women. (Yes, sad but true). Be very careful to check out your therapist before you start paying them - usually a first session is free. If you feel like one of the partners is getting blamed for most of the problems, it's just going to make the whole thing worse.

Surprisingly, we are now in trouble as a couple, and my husband refuses to go to counseling with me. Maybe he's realizing his own bias could be reversed...a therapist who disagrees with MEN all the time.

🙂

March 21, 2006
11:11 pm
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ryny143
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Wow very interesting. Thanks! Hopefully we can find a good one!!!

March 22, 2006
1:42 pm
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gingerleigh
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RYNY... you've posted before about your relationship... it doesn't sound particularly healthy or good for either of you. Couples counseling is not cheap, be advised. What good stuff is in the relationship that you think is worth saving?

March 22, 2006
1:43 pm
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kathygy
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ryny143,

I have been to couples counseling in two different relationships.

One thing I love about couples counseling is the validation I got for my needs from my partner and my feelings in reaction to him.

In both cases I felt the therapist gave the relationship priority over either one of us and was very fair about listening to both sides.

In the first case I learned that my bf was way too damaged by his mother to work on a relationship with me. He had to work on his relationship with his mother first because he was projecting his mother on to me. So that his anger at me was really anger at his mother.

This made it perfectly clear to us that we had to end the 4 year relationship. We sat together and cried and held each other before we said 'goodbye'.

In the other case, at first the therpy deepened our feelings and made us feel much closer together. But in the long run he decided that he needed his freedom so he broke up with me. My heart was scattered. It was a huge loss for me but I survived.

So you never know what will happen when you go into couples therapy but one thing that did happen for me was in each case we broke up and the counseling bought out the truth about the relationship.

I can't say what will happen for you but with a good therapist the truth prevails in the end.

March 22, 2006
1:49 pm
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Anonymous
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I found that couple's counseling only magnified the problems.

And because I was already feeling like things were "all my fault" - going to therapy made me "hear" that things were "all my fault" while my boyfriend sat there hearing it too.

And that made me feel worse.

I think the greatest benefit we both got was for both of us to get individual counseling so we can both get in touch with our own shortcomings - in a safe environment - and work on it - and bring two healthier people to the table....

Couples counseling can help - if the therapist is good at helping you learn to communicate and there is no bias involved.

But also know that there has to be a heartfelt desire by both parties to grow and learn and be open to the possibilities....cuz if one person is doing all the work - it can't succeed.

Kathy is right - with a good therapist - you may find the "truth" or "reality" of your relationship - and be better equipped to decide what to do - stay or go.

March 22, 2006
3:36 pm
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thedogsmom
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Hi ryny,

I agree with gingerleigh. Are you really sure this relationship is worth saving? I know you already have so much 'feeling' and emotions and love invested in him...but he continues to lie to you and that right there is a KILLER of TRUST which is a KILLER of relationships.

No the counselor can't make you TRUST him. He has already lied to you more than once...and so now you may never really be able to trust him. Once the trust is broken..it takes time to rebuild. I believe it can get to a point where you may be able to trust him again...but ONLY if HE decides that lying to you was wrong and decides to be trustworthy and never lie again. You will know this soon enough. If he lies again..there is your answer...keep your eyes wide open.. don't fool yourself. don't make excuses for his lies.

I have to say..a relationship that starts out with lies from the beginning isn't a good 'sign'. But having said that..

I did go to 3 counseling sessions (his suggestion after one of our 'blow-ups last January). I found it was the only way to get this guy to sit there and LISTEN and communicate with me. The counselor told me liars can be habitual and they develop these patterns and like an addiction it is difficult for liars to stop lying. My bf seemed to listen to what the counselor was telling him and then the counselor would give him 'homework' assignments on things to do to get me to trust him, on working on communication skills, on setting time aside to discuss finances....etc..

And like kathgy said, I liked the 'validation' I got for my feelings and needs not being met. But hey.. we know this already ..don't we.

I say... it might help, couldn't hurt or make things any worse...

Since you already told him he needed to do this..go ahead and try it.

I wish it would help you and that would be all it would take to give you a happy ending..but I think you still need to evaluate whether you should even be staying in this unhealthy relationship?

thanks for your responses to some of my posts too. I'm right there with you trying to stick to those boundaries we drew...

March 22, 2006
4:21 pm
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taj64
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I think if you go in with the notion that it might help you as a person and you feel comfortable with the therapist then it is a good idea. But don't go in there with high hopes that it will save your marriage. Finding truth can also be painful but willing to sort it out no matter the outcome might help you.

March 22, 2006
8:40 pm
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ryny143
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Thanks all! I think we are going to give it a try, butof course I still have so much worry in my mind, which when I talk to him about the problems, he gets mad quickly. I think I'm just scared that I wont find someone to do "cute" things with, and who wants to be with me all the time, and who I am SO comfortable with....sigh.....so we'll see. I KNOW its unhealthy, and I KNOW he has A LOT of problems to deal with, but I'm just scared of being alone and missing him. On another note, I see who he is, and it hurts a lot sometimes, but I think I need to take this step (counseling) before giving up 100%. Within the past 2 days I have been somewhat stronger than usual, and I feel a little better about MYSELF. But hey-whats 2 days? Thanks for the support.

March 22, 2006
10:02 pm
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thedogsmom
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ryny, okay give it a try..It might help you too. You say you are scared to be alone and that you are scared to find someone else to do 'cute' things with. Why? there are SO many other men out there who could treat you so much better! You are missing him and alone or miserable half the time anyway in this relationship aren't you? And believe me heartache is so much more painful that just being alone. Try to find out more about yourself and fixing yourself..that is not being so "needy" and finding things that interest you and gaining some confidence in yourself. Maybe a codependent class can help you?

March 22, 2006
10:29 pm
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lollipop3
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Ryny,

My therapist has always told me that it is very important to get individual counseling to address your own individual issues before you try to solve relationship issues. That advice has been confirmed for me by several others including some of my psychology professors, various authors, and even Dr.Phil!

My suggestion would be to find YOURSELF a therapist that you trust and feel comfortable with, perhaps that specializes in codependency, and discuss it with him/her (preferrably a her if you are female) to see what their professional opinion is as to what steps you should take.

Good luck,
Lolli

March 22, 2006
10:34 pm
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loverbee
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I would recommend seeing a few for a first interview kind of appt and then you both can choose which one you like the best.

March 22, 2006
10:39 pm
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Worried_Dad
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This question comes up enough it deserves its own thread. I am going to take a crack at it in support threads.

March 25, 2006
8:17 am
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Magsb
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Hello Ryny

I can cite mine and my husband's experience of couples counselling, quite recently. We went to Relate which is a British organisation (we are in London, UK) and were extremely fortunate to be allocated an amazing counsellor, after our initial experience of a lady who, although well intentioned, appeared to have little self awareness and insight into her own prejudices. I came away from these early sessions feeling that she and I had formed an alliance against my husband, which needless to say was negative and counter-productive. But after we changed to a different therapist, we found the results were fantastic - barriers between us just seemed to melt away, and we are relating to each other in a much more honest, intimate and trusting way. I found the confidence to leave some negative feelings behind where they should be, and as a result feel much more loving towards my husband, and generally. The sex is also amazing :o) (We have been married for 18 years).

So for me it was a very positive experience despite a rocky start, and despite being hard work and at times painful. However, it was indeed pricey and we are lucky in that we were able to afford it.

Good luck and I wish you all the success in the world!

Maggie

March 25, 2006
8:29 am
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ryny143
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Wow I'm jealous. Thanks for responding. Since I wrote that post, my bf told me that as much as he wants to work things out & go to counseling together, he wants some space so we can "start over". I am devastated and hopeless, but I still do have hope hat he will call eventually. It's been 2 days.....I hope that by leaving him alone he will miss me.....but I am dying to call him

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