going solo | Peter H. Fowler

It often takes one partner to seek help and acknowledge that something needs to change before the other partner reaches the same conclusion. If you find yourself in this situation, I strongly encourage you to take the first step alone. Couples counselling with one partner provides a great way to explore what is going on for you in the relationship and how you confront the issues that are of the greatest concern to you. My experience is that if you come in for two sessions alone and then you share this with your partner, by the third or fourth visit, they become intrigued and decide to accept the invitation to join you.

There is extensive new research emerging that shows that if only one partner wants to change and learns how to make adjustments in their own behaviour, the whole relationship will benefit and can experience lasting improvements. This does not mean that you’re the only one who changes, or that you’ve surrendered to your partner’s behaviour and they have “won”. In reality, if you make the first move and come to counselling alone, you can increase your influence over what is happening in your relationship. Sometimes it only takes couples counselling with one partner to change the dynamics, and for the relationship to significantly improve!

Couples often wait at least 7 years after the first signs of problems before they seek professional help. Unfortunately, after so many years of conflict, it can often be too late to save the marriage. I have found that somewhere early on in the process, one of the partners usually becomes more aware of the problems and either suggests to the other or just thinks to themselves, that counselling may be helpful. If this describes your situation and regardless of whether your partner disagrees or even if you’re too afraid to discuss your thoughts, this is the best time to seek help on your own.

I can help you to gain insight into why and how you behave in your relationship and how this impacts your partner. If appropriate, you can choose to change some behaviour and learn the skills to make that happen. Rather than demand that your partner comes to counselling against their will, you can choose to become a role model in the relationship and show your partner that it can get better. You can also learn how to better cope with the things that cannot change and maybe even discern if you want to stay in your relationship or gain some clarity and confidence about future life-changing decisions.

Whatever is going on in your relationship right now, you don’t need to wait until you both agree you need counselling. By that time it could be too late. Couples counselling with one partner is effective and helpful. Please don’t wait and take action now.

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