Is your Marriage Counselor a good match for you? Here are seven signs to look for. Meeting your first couples therapist can be a nerve-wracking
During a breakup or divorce, going your separate ways is easier said than done. As much as you may tell yourself that you’ve “gotten over” your ex, the truth is probably more complicated than that. And if there are children in the picture, you and your former partner may have no choice but to communicate regularly. You have to coordinate rules, boundaries, and schedules with someone that you wish did not influence your life.
What’s more, maybe you and your ex had a lot of mutual friends or were close to each other’s families. This could make it hard not to badmouth each other or gossip about what the other person did. Certain friends may take sides or one of you may be angry that your loved ones still talk to your ex. The group dynamics among your peers and loved ones could be permanently shaken up.
As messy and complicated as your separation may be, both of you probably wish you could dissolve the relationship peacefully. Whether you’re already divorced or anticipating a divorce, counseling can help you and your ex solve fundamental communication issues and move through the separation process as respectfully as possible.
Most Divorced Couples Struggle To Let Go Of The Emotions Tied To Their Breakup
Anyone who has gone through a breakup or divorce knows what an emotional rollercoaster it is. Even though two people may be separated on paper, they’re both still grieving what they lost and trying to figure out what life looks like without the other person. Couples’ lives intertwine—the knots of their relationship can’t be undone in an instant.
When there are kids involved, things are even messier. Part of the problem lies in couples’ expectations—after a separation, it’s natural for people to say, “My ex has no influence over my life anymore.” But this attitude isn’t realistic. After all, a divorced couple still needs to agree on basic parenting terms and compromise on important issues. Do the rules of one parent’s household apply to the other’s? Will the child face consequences at one house for something that happened at the other one? If these matters aren’t resolved ahead of time, conflict usually ensues.
You and your ex may be determined to work through your issues together, and that’s a good thing. But on your own, it’s nearly impossible to separate the emotions tied to your breakup from your communication with each other. Even the slightest disagreements could resummon old hostilities. That’s why counseling is so important. It’s a chance to learn how to keep your emotions from interfering with your ability to co-parent and live peacefully in the wake of separation.
Divorce Counseling Can Help You Solve Communication Issues And Establish Healthy Boundaries
Let’s be honest: there are probably things that you really don’t like about your ex—and they probably feel the same way about you. At Self-Care Impact, we are not here to focus on what you don’t like about each other. Divorce counseling isn’t about rehashing old arguments or proving who’s right and wrong. We want to know: what do your lives look like now? What roadblocks prevent you from being able to communicate respectfully? What would it look like to have a healthy co-parenting or divorced relationship?
Although sessions will generally be held with you and your ex together, individual counseling is advisable if safe communication isn’t established. And if you want to pursue counseling and your ex doesn’t, we would be more than happy to talk with them about their hesitancies. That said, we’re not here to push anyone into making a decision they don’t want to. Therapy happens on your terms, not ours, and that’s why we want to make sure both of you are comfortable with the treatment process.
Since this is not couples counseling, the aim is not to solve the deep-rooted problems that affected your relationship prior to the divorce. Our focus is practical and highly solution-based. We want to help you learn to communicate effectively, avoid combative language, and de-escalate conflict when it arises. Doing so is not just for your ex’s benefit—it’s for yours as well. After all, if both of you can discuss your issues respectfully and amicably, it will be easier for you to get your needs met.
Additionally, a lot of the work we do centers on establishing healthy boundaries. It’s important to know what your individual stressors and triggers are so that you can identify where your boundaries lie. Does one of you tend to overshare personal information? Does one of you need more time and space to process conflict after it happens? These questions are essential for mapping out post-divorce counseling.
No matter how fraught with tension your relationship with your ex is, we are confident that we can help both of you go your own ways in peace. Counseling provides a chance to navigate your separation as smoothly and respectfully as possible.
You may have some concerns about divorce therapy…
Is therapy going to make us rehash old arguments and fight all the time?
We are very solution-focused and concerned with the here and now—this is not the place to sort through old drama from your relationship. What’s more, one of our biggest priorities is establishing boundaries and safe communication. This way, if old arguments arise, we will provide mediation and give you strategies to de-escalate tension and work through your divorce issues in peace.
Will I be portrayed as the bad guy?
As a practice, we are unbiased and do not take sides. We’ll never seek to prove you or your former partner right or wrong—our focus transcends that. We are interested in finding out: what are your needs? How do those needs align with what is best for your relationship with your ex? How can you compromise on important issues so that “right” and “wrong” do not ultimately matter?
We’re already making progress—is therapy going to make us unable to move forward?
We don’t want to fix what isn’t broken. If you and your ex have strategies that are working, our goal is to build on those strategies, not replace them. After all, you know yourselves best. We want you to move forward, but we want that to happen on your terms and at your pace.
Let Us Provide Help in Lakewood or Longmont!
As long as you and your ex are committed to working through conflict, it is possible to keep your emotions from negatively impacting your separation. To learn how to do so and begin the healing process today, you can use the contact form, or call 720-551-4553 for a free, 15-minute phone consultation.