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Sex with Dr. Jess


May 25, 2021

When Your Partner Refuses To Go To Therapy (And other viewer Qs)

How do you talk to that friend who’s breaking COVID rules? What do you do if your partner refuses to go to couples’ counselling? Jess dives into these topics on Global TV’s The Morning Show. Check out her notes and video interview below!

How to deal with friends who don’t agree on safety protocols as we lockdown for the 4058209384234th time?

The reality is that we have science, we have memes and, evidence-based research that doesn’t always fit into an easily shareable meme. And while memes can be a great way to distill and share information, they can also spread misinformation on all sides.

If you don’t agree, it’s okay, but you have to respect their boundaries. This means not taking their behaviour personally. If they’re not comfortable meeting indoors for dinner, don’t tell yourself the story that they’re not prioritizing you. They’re prioritizing their own comfort, their own mental and physical health. If they’re getting together with friends against public health regulations, it’s not about you. You don’t have to go.

So how do you know if the friendship will outlast the pandemic if you can’t agree on these types of things?

I wish I could tell you how to navigate these conversations in a meaningful and fruitful way, but the reality is that not every disagreement or conflict is resolvable. Of course, the challenge is understanding whether your disagreement is a deeper philosophical one (perhaps related to ethics or values) or a matter of interpreting the science differently. And if it’s the former, you may find that your friendship and values aren’t as aligned as you thought they were.

But the good news is that this is temporary. The scientists suggests that we can move into a post-pandemic Canada if we continue with public health measures including vaccinations, so parts of the issue.nik-shuliahin-BuNWp1bL0nc-unsplash

What to do if your partner refuses to go to therapy but the relationship is on the rocks?

Please do not let your partner’s resistance to therapy hold you back. If you believe you can benefit from therapy as a couple, you can probably benefit from therapy on your own. So if your partner refuses to go to therapy, go on your own.

Sometimes when we want to go to couples therapy, it’s motivated by a desire to change our partner’s attitude or behaviour. But that’s beyond your control. You can adjust your own thoughts, you can adjust your reactions to your partner’s behaviour, and you can learn new skills that might improve your own functioning in the relationship.

How can a therapist help if only one person goes?

A therapist may be able to help you communicate your needs more effectively, or process your own feelings more with more self compassion. Talking to a therapist may help you to better understand your own triggers, explore your attachment styles (with nuance hopefully) and explore how you can.

Should you be worried if your partner won’t go to therapy with you?

If your partner refuses to work on the relationship more generally, that’s when you may run into an impasse. This is a bit of nuanced discussion because therapy is one way to work on the relationship, but it’s not the only way. It’s one way to work on yourself, but not the only way.

So if you see value in therapy, go on your own. If your partner sees value in other approaches, make space for those as well.