Boyfriend Refuses Couples Therapy

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

My bf and I have been together for 9 years. We have three children and also own a business together. He has asked me to marry him but I told him that it wasn’t going to happen until we seek counseling for the issue that we currently have. Which happens to be not being able to speak to one another without it turning into an argument.

We literally argue every day. Only after talking about the issue and agreeing to work on it, I told him that we need outside help. That apparently, we can’t figure it out on our own. He reluctantly agreed. We went to ONE session and when asked if he would return, he told the therapist “yes.” That was over a year ago. He says that he is “too smart” and doesn’t need anyone to help him with anything and that I am the one with the issue and I need to see a therapist. He won’t go back. What can I do to show him that we need the help if we want to have a relatively argument free and healthy relationship? Is it even possible?

A: I agree. The fighting has to stop – including the fight over counseling. You both deserve better. Your kids deserve to have parents who can role model how to resolve differences without bickering and yelling. It sounds like you two are evenly and painfully matched. He won’t go to counseling but you refuse to go unless he goes too. That certainly isn’t going to help matters.

The answer to your question is simple: Go to counseling yourself. That doesn’t mean that you are totally to blame. It only means that you are more willing to find an alternative way to live. A therapist can help you see where you inadvertently contribute to the problem. You can’t make your boyfriend participate but you can learn ways to change your own behavior so that you aren’t fueling the fires. You can learn skills for managing emotion and for solving conflicts. That in itself will feel good. It’s also possible that once he sees that you are benefiting from counseling, he’ll decide that it’s worth a try. Then you can resume some couples work.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 4 Mar 2013

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2013). Boyfriend Refuses Couples Therapy. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 24, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/03/04/boyfriend-refuses-couples-therapy/