I’m talking about myself
When you go to therapy, usually you talk about yourself. You’re more likely to work on your personal goals in individual therapy rather than problems with your partner. I’ve been thinking about whether or not you can improve your relationship by talking about it with your therapist. I talk about a variety of issues in therapy; some have to do with me alone, while the others are about the people in my life. I’ve been to couple’s counseling before, but in individual therapy, issues have come up with my partner. When I discuss my relationship challenges with my therapist, I set goals for myself as to what I want to happen in the long term.
Asking my therapist for feedback
Before I talk to my partner about a problem I’m having, I sometimes discuss my feelings with my therapist so that I understand the issue better. When I talk to him, I want to be prepared to articulate my feelings in a truthful way that he can understand. My goal is validation, and I want him to listen to my concerns. By doing the preliminary work in individual therapy, I gain emotional insight into how I feel, and then I can talk my feelings out further with my partner. My therapist provides me feedback on what she’s hearing me say and offers suggestions as to how I can address my issues in my relationship. It’s difficult to figure out how to solve emotional challenges in a vacuum, and that’s part of the reason therapy exists.
Working on myself
Over the years I’ve realized that I can’t rely on another person to make me emotionally healthy. I need to do that work myself with my therapist, and practice what I learn in “real life.” That doesn’t mean that I can’t discuss how I feel in my relationship. It’s a matter of balancing my feelings and the way I see it impacting my partner. My primary goal in therapy is to be emotionally stable; however because I’m in a relationship, I factor in how to balance the needs of my partner with my desires. I’ve been in relationships where I sacrificed my needs for the other person, and that’s unhealthy. I make it a point to advocate for what I want and consider what my partner wants as well.
One of the most critical parts of a relationship is mutual respect. If I want my partner to respect me, I need to value his needs. Sometimes it’s hard to understand what the other person needs because everybody is different. I’ve learned that you don’t always have to get it, but what matters more is respecting what your partner is asking you for, and giving that to them. If it doesn’t hurt you, and you can fulfill that need for them, it’s worth trying to do that. There are times that I have to set boundaries. I evaluate whether something isn’t working for me, and if I feel like that’s the case, I let my partner know. Before I do that, it helps me to talk out my concerns with my therapist. I’m trying to be more thoughtful before I address an issue in my relationship. There are things that it’s worth fighting to get my needs met, and there are other issues that aren’t worth pursuing, and it’s better than I let them go.
Letting go is hard
It’s difficult to let go when I feel strongly about an issue. I’ve gotten into debates in my relationships where I had trouble letting go. We were at odds, and I kept persisting, wanting my partner to see my perspective. One of the goals I’ve set for myself in my relationship is to learn which battles are worth fighting, and that’s something I’m talking about in individual therapy.
What about you? Do you talk about your relationship goals in therapy?