Couples counseling: Looking for advice/pitfalls to avoid/etc.

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    Jan 05, 2010 7:48 PM GMT
    So, my first time being an OP. Ooooh, I can feel the chills. Ha! Should have posted my first one as a not-so-serious topic, but oh well. I need advice.

    The background: My partner and I have been together for 13 years (yes, shortly after I turned 18 ). We've done a great job of communicating, establishing goals, trust, etc. Then, we had kids placed in our home about 9 months ago, and adopted them officially a couple months ago. This was the beginning of the change in our relationship. It's not bad by any stretch, it's just neither one of us are focusing on US. Communication is breaking down and our sex life is atrocious. So, before we get to a danger zone, I figured that we should go to couples counseling. The goals of the counseling will be to increase communication with a neutral third party holding us accountable, start a routine of "adult time" without feeling guilty, and separately address the lousy sex life. My partner has agreed to go.

    What I'm looking for is advice from people who have gone to couples counseling. I've done personal counseling in the past, and it was great. Got my head screwed on right by finding my own answers and marching on. Any advice is welcome. We live in a small area of 30k people, so getting a special niche therapist that's available in only the big cities such as Seattle etc is not an option.

    Thanks, all!
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    Jan 05, 2010 9:48 PM GMT
    First of all, congratulations on your kids and husband. I think that couples counseling is a good idea now...before things start brewing badly. You guys are young and have a lot on your plate so I can imagine the stress.

    Good luck with the counseling and again I applaud your acheivement
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    Jan 05, 2010 11:40 PM GMT
    at couples counseling there are two of you (obviously) so you have to be prepared to listen and allow him to speak his mind in an atmosphere that is open and accepting of what he says, attempt to keep silent and calm while your partner speaks and don't disregard anything, even the things you think are petty and small, to him they might not be petty and so small, conversely he'll need to do the same for you, the therapist should explain what is involved and what is expected of each person anyway.

    Couples counseling is a lot different to personal counseling, it requires you to be open to hearing things you might not want to hear or might not agree with.
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    Jan 05, 2010 11:58 PM GMT
    Couples counseling is a great idea.
    I'm a bit of a therapy nut and have found great utility in having the regular "check-in".
    If you're partner is game then that is awesome and I think it's great to address these issues before they blow up into larger ones.
    My ex and I went to couples counseling. He didn't like it and went begrudgingly... was marginally helpful for us in resolving our issues but helpful in reaffirming how we communicate.
    I think that just like individual counseling finding someone you both are comfortable with and feel safe talking to is most important. Good luck... you're living my DREAM!... ok... one of them. icon_rolleyes.gif
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    Jan 06, 2010 12:07 AM GMT
    I've know of straight couples that have endured this too, some have weathered it, and made it, other just did not make it, their relationship just was not strong enough to endure the change, I being in a 20 year relationship, know a child would mean change, and the loss of " me time" would be one of them; let alone "us time".. Some people wait for their kids to leave the nest to have "us time" again, I think there is an importance to pillow talk too; yes you may be fucked by the end of the day, but in reality it may be the only time you get to have us time; use that time too.
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    Jan 06, 2010 12:12 AM GMT
    As everyone has said, be prepared to listen to what is being said....this will aid in finding out what is happening in your relationship.
    I am happy that you and your husband were able to adopt. It is a hard process and glad that the two of you took the courage to move forward and be a family. Use this for keeping the lines of communication open..You both are committed to having the dream. Good luck!
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    Jan 06, 2010 12:28 AM GMT
    I'm the LTR guy (40 years) and we've never sought couple counseling...although from time to time perhaps we should have. I'm not sure you need advice...I think you two are doing just fine. 13 years and counting; kids; and you know you're having a little stumbling block and you're seeking help with overcoming it. What kind of advice could you possibly need?

    The two of you have made it through the seven year itch part...and perhaps all you're encountering is the thirteen to fifteen year itch thing...but I imagine (without any experience on my part) that the introduction of children to the relationship has to put a real twist on the dynamics of the relationship. You're doing the right thing! Keep up the good work!
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    Jan 06, 2010 3:45 AM GMT
    Sorry for the delayed response, I just got back from work.

    BigSmiles: Thanks for the congrats!

    liltanker: You're right, and I hadn't quite thought that one through. I will just need to listen and objectively think about what his issues are, and how I can correct them. I can do that. He (and we) are worth it.

    EasilyDistracted: I definitely agree, that the therapist has to be one that both of us feel comfortable with, and I'll check in w/ my partner at the end of the session and see if it's one we want to go to.

    Pattison: Thanks. The boys psychologist (they each go to individual counseling) said that our relationship is more important than the relationship we have w/ the boys. We're their rock, and we need to make sure that we're strong first, so that way we can successfully raise them. I'm pretty sure that we're getting into counseling early enough. There's no resentment or bitterness there, so I think we're good. We're definitely willing to work with each other on our issues.

    Paxton: I'm pretty fortunate. Thanks!

    Rigsby: 40 years? CONGRATULATIONS. Thanks for the encouragement. I appreciate it.

    Thank you all for responding. There was some really good advice there, and some great encouragement. I guess I'm most fearful about the unknown. I'm a bit of a control freak, and it helps to have had some people who have walked on the same road as I have give some great advice.