Why your man won’t see a relationship therapist or attend a Couples Weekend and how you can have him join you!
Even with close friends, men will keep sadness, disappointments and other internal conflicts to themselves. With their profound fear of appearing weak, most men are invested in preserving their manhood and protecting their vulnerability. They are hardwired and cultured to emphasize successful performance and de-emphasize reliance on others. From an evolutionary perspective, their purpose is to procure and protect, not tend and befriend.
Men experience shame more than women do. It originates from family or peer experiences. As a small boy, if he experienced shame, he will do anything to avoid re-experiencing it. A shamed boy becomes a hypersensitive man, always tuned to the possibility of humiliation. He may react to slights and become hyper-vigilant in warding them off. Instead of seeking affection, he will project blame and rejection. Small signs of withdrawal of affection will trigger old wounds causing him to react. Beneath, the surface, dark feelings of inadequacy, unlovability are lurking inside. You, his partner, are the closest to him and can easily re-ignite those old wounds.
When starting the conversation about couples’ counseling or attending a Couples Weekend, begin by talking about yourself. He will feel less attacked, less defensive and more apt to hear you. Tell him you’ve been contemplating therapy and/or the weekend because you want to take steps to be a better partner.
Invite him to go see someone on a ‘no obligation’ basis to test the waters. He might be surprised at how liberating and positive he feels. If the therapist is the right fit, it’s likely that he will feel reassured and some of his objections will fade.
Stay positive in your approach. If you can look at the anticipated outcome instead of focusing on the current negativity, the conversation will usually be smoother.
When it comes to asking him to join you in this process, avoid using ultimatums. It can raise doubt and hopelessness “if she is going to leave anyway, what’s the point?” Or he may react to the control you are exerting and rebel against you. Be clear that your intention is to create a mutually satisfying relationship.
Include your mate in the selection process. For example, do the research together on the web. This will help him to feel like he is part of the decision making process.
Finally, when all else fails, honour his resistance. Appeal to his love and ask him to trust your judgment that this endeavour that will improve your connection.