I work with men every day for whom couple’s therapy did not work.
This isn’t to say that couple’s therapy can’t work, because it certainly can, but to address how it overlooks what men specifically need to succeed.
When a man enters couple’s therapy, it’s often on his partner’s initiation. She feels that they need a mediator for her to communicate what she wants and needs.
From the get-go, the man feels like a failure, because it’s vitally important to him to do right by his woman, and to love her in a way that makes her happy — and apparently, he has not.
Once they engage a therapist, he must relinquish his role as her protector and hero, to someone else. This is not a great feeling for a man, and if the therapist is not sensitive to men, this will be overlooked.
Even if a man chooses therapy, and the therapist, the setup often creates a loss of power for him, because he’s no longer able to lead in his relationship. And, his partner may come to trust the therapist’s direction, more than his.
Add that the sexual issues between him and his partner (which for him are critical) are often viewed as secondary to increasing trust and improving communication — which are more feminine-centered.
When most men enter couple’s therapy, (with a woman therapist) the following is often true…
- The man feels powerless in the setup, which causes him to resist the therapist and his partner, who feel like a united front.
- The process does not address his concerns for touch and sexual closeness, in a reassuring manner.
- Listening to the therapist and doing the exercises she suggests, makes him a follower in his woman’s eyes, and DECREASES attraction further.
- The neutralized sexual connection between him and his partner, worsens with his loss of leadership and confidence.
I feel that if a man is to enter a therapy situation to save his marriage, or to repair the sexual relationship, he needs to be coming from strength so that things do not get worse – and so that they can actually improve!
Couple’s therapy can work and work well, when the man’s needs are considered and recognized as different from the woman’s and communicated clearly.
If you are in this situation, and would like to talk about how to make it work for you, reach out to me with a note by contacting me. Tell me what’s going on for you in your relationship.
Your thoughts on this are welcome too.