Couples avoid couples therapy because they are tired of hearing what their partner thinks they are doing wrong. Most fights between couples are based on “you always do that and you never do this” kind of phrases. Lots of finger pointing and change never happens. Couples meet each other at a standoff. Each one refusing to move and insisting they are waiting for the other to make the move.
Why is it that we forget about our own personal growth, interests, motivations, and are only able to see how our partner is getting in our way? What happened to the fierce, independent, conquer the world, person you once were? Many people in relationships place all responsibility on the other and they fail to give themselves credit for what they are capable of, both the good and the bad.
Finger pointing not only causes fights, it causes your self-esteem to plummet. You once believed in your capabilities but since you started your relationship you relinquished it all to your partner. Now, you insist that the only way you can be successful is if your partner is on board. Challenge yourself. Can you move forward with your career goals, personal goals, becoming the person you want to be, regardless of where your partner is at? Homaira Kabir, a positive psychology life coach, speaks about the importance of learning your own inner world in her article Why Should I Make The Effort.
Investing time in a standoff is a lose-lose. If no one makes a move the relationship will continue to suffer. If the relationship ends, you have wasted a lot of time becoming someone you do not like, now you need to work to undo the mess. Additionally, you wasted time where you could’ve been pursuing your own goals, now that the relationship has ended you are still in the same spot that you where when the relationship began.
Couples therapy does not have to be about continued finger pointing, you can do that at home (and its free). Couples therapy should be focused on developing personal responsibility and taking back your individual powers. Continuing to invest in yourself will help you achieve your own goals, thereby enhancing your self-esteem, which will hopefully trigger a change in the standoff you’ve been having with your partner for so many months.
Sara Schapiro-Halberstam, MHC-LP, CASAC is a psychotherapist in New York City where she practices individual therapy, couples counseling, and sex counseling. You can contact Sara at firstname.lastname@example.org and read more blog posts at www.mwr.nyc
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Sara Schapiro-Halberstam, LMHC