When couples seek counseling they often have questions about my style of counseling as well as my beliefs about relationships and divorce.
I recently got asked what my stance is on divorce. Meaning am I for, neutral, or against divorce.
- My stance on divorce would depend on the specific couple. As a couples therapist, I like to think that there is hope for many couples to repair their marriages. The type of couples therapy I use in sessions, the Gottman Method, does provide a roadmap for most couples to do so. The Gottman Method can be used to help couples repair and move past many difficult relationship events (affairs, traumas, etc.). That being said, there are some circumstances that couples therapy is contraindicated such as cases where characterological domestic violence is present.
- When two people are in a relationship, they will have a set of perpetual unsolvable problems that will continue to come up. Each person has to decide if they are able to live with the other’s unsolvable problems. If they are not, they should probably not be in a relationship together.
Can couples counseling be helpful for couples going through a divorce?
- Absolutely. It looks a bit different than counseling for couples hoping to stay together. My goal as the therapist would be to reduce the same unhelpful patterns that I would in a couple hoping to continue being married and to help facilitate more productive conversations. Even though you are getting divorced, you still have to be able to exist in each other’s worlds (especially if children are involved). A divorce takes a huge psychological toll on people, and anger and sadness are normal and common emotions. You can be angry at one another without being demeaning, and you can be hurt without turning your relationship absolutely toxic.
How can I trust my partner after they’ve betrayed me?
- When your partner is unfaithful, your whole sense of self is shattered and you begin to doubt yourself. The person you trusted is now untrustworthy. You doubt your own instincts.
- A mistake that couples make where one person has been unfaithful is to try to make the unfaithful partner trustworthy again. This leads to the betrayed person checking up on the partner (checking their phone, credit card statements etc.). Because they cannot trust themselves to trust their partner, the betrayed might make their partner call them every number of hours, send them pictures to make sure they say they are where they said they would be, etc.
- Instead of focusing on making the other person trustworthy, focus on yourself and your own self-esteem/self-worth. Once you begin to trust yourself again, trusting your partner will come easier.
Hopefully these answers shed some light on the hard questions you may be wondering about before you consider therapy. Feel free to call or e-mail me if you have further questions.