How To Bring Up Couples Counseling To Your Partner

Every relationship has its challenges, and not all can be handled alone. Sometimes, a couples counselor is necessary to untangle the conflicts and confusion you and your partner are facing. According to The Gottman Institute, some common reasons to see a couples counselor include damaged trust, emotional distance between partners, ongoing conflicts that only get worse with time, and discrepancies in sexual desire. Some couples may also choose to seek therapy before making a big commitment, like moving in together or getting married. This can arm couples with the tools they need to communicate, navigate disagreements, and manage expectations, notes Marriage.


Even though couples counselors are there to help, bringing up the topic of counseling to a partner can be tough. Stigma still exists around therapy, and some people avoid professional help because they don't believe it's effective. For couples counseling, in particular, some might worry that it should only be reserved for serious conflicts, or that it's one pitstop on the way to a breakup or divorce. However, these hurdles shouldn't stop you from suggesting couples counseling to your significant other. Here's how to start the conversation in your relationship and what to do if your partner resists.

How to discuss couples counseling

Bringing up couples counseling could widen the divide between you and your partner if you don't broach the subject with tact. But don't worry — the conversation may sound like a sticky one, but it doesn't have to be with a few simple tips.


First, choose your timing wisely, says psychologist Rachel Needle. "When asking your partner to go to couples therapy, be sure to begin the conversation at a time when you are free from distractions and it is planned, rather than in response to something that just happened, like an argument," she suggested to HuffPost.

Then, focus on your feelings, not on blaming your partner. Our Relationship, a relationship coaching platform, recommends telling your significant other that you want to go to counseling to strengthen the relationship, not point fingers. On that note, it helps to acknowledge your role in the conflict and how speaking with a third party can help you each work on your shortcomings.


Finally, be specific about the issues you'd like to improve and the goals you have for couples counseling. Overwhelming your partner with a laundry list of complaints may not go over well, so mention just one or two core issues (such as ongoing trust issues or clashing financial habits) that you hope to sort out with a counselor.

What if your partner refuses couples counseling?

Seeing a couples counselor together for the first time is a big step, and your partner may not feel ready to take that leap. If they resist professional help, keep calm and curious. Tell them that you respect their feelings and want to understand their concerns, says The Gottman Institute. If they're worried the counselor will choose sides, gently remind them that therapists are trained to maintain a neutral stance. Letting your partner choose the couples counselor may also alleviate some of these worries.


If your partner believes counseling will be too expensive or not worth the trouble, ask if they'd be open to researching different options together. You'll likely find an affordable counselor in your area or easily accessible online.

If your other half is still apprehensive, certified sex therapist Rosara Torrisi told Vice that there are plenty of self-help alternatives, such as couples' workbooks. You can also find books, online videos, and podcasts that will give you a dose of relationship advice without ever stepping foot in a therapy session.

Still, counseling may be what's needed to repair and resolve tricky issues in your love life. Even if your partner refuses to go with you, consider seeing a therapist on your own. Your commitment to growth may motivate your significant other to eventually join you. And if not, you'll still be gaining valuable tools and insights.