There’s a bit of a tendency – at least among the Gloss office – to think of couples counseling as something done as a last resort to save a marriage. It’s what you do after your husband sleeps with his secretary. Or your wife reveals that she just isn’t in love with her husband anymore.
“After all,” one of our co-workers remarks “if you’re having so many problems that you need couples therapy when you’re just dating, isn’t that a sign that the relationship isn’t meant to be?”
However, maybe sooner is better. In her article for Psychology Today, Sasha Rothchild (the author of “How to Get Divorced by 30“) claims that “letting a third person into my just-blooming relationship was the most romantic thing I ever did.” Their relationship struck a rocky patch when her boyfriend, Matt, felt uncomfortable with Sasha writing about her personal experiences. Sascha remarks:
I took this as the perfect time to challenge him with what I thought would be the final blow to our relationship (which was fine by me, since being in love is exhausting, distracting and perilous.) I said, “well maybe we should go to couples therapy.” The idea that Matt and I, who had only been dating three months would go to therapy was preposterous. But by mentioning it, I could be the good girl willing to try anything. He would be the bad guy. But then something unexpected happened. He called my bluff and said “OK, let’s go. Why not?”
And it worked. Being in counseling allowed Sascha to see the extent to which she avoided being vulnerable, and it made their relationship very strong. The only downside seems to be that Sascha started to feel that they were in a couple of three. Sascha notes,
Matt and I moved in together. I often wished Harold [our therapist] could live with us, too. I wanted him to vacation with us, follow us around, and translate our every yawn… Matt and I were on very solid ground able to use the tools we had learned to navigate through the murky waters of love – but I was still scared that if we left Harold then all my newfound emotional openness would leave, too.
It didn’t though. Sascha and Matt were eventually able to stop going to therapy – and are now getting married. Which probably wouldn’t have happened if she’d been as averse to concept of couples counselling as we tend to be. Is it something you’d consider while you were dating? Or do you believe that it’s still something that should be reserved for people in a more seriously committed relationship?