themighty logo

The Shame of Couples Therapy


Some people don’t know what to do if their relationship is on the rocks. One option is to go to couples counseling. Even though couples therapy is quite common, some people still are afraid to admit they are seeking therapy in their relationship. However, there’s nothing shameful about working on your marriage or long-term relationship. Some people do not understand that going to couples therapy doesn’t mean your relationship is failing. In fact, by seeing a counselor you and your partner are trying to save your connection. When you’re afraid you can’t salvage your relationship, that is the optimal time to find a couples therapist who can help you figure out what the disconnect is between the two of you. But first, ask yourself why you are embarrassed about seeing a counselor?

Why are you ashamed to go to couple’s counseling?

People feel shame for many reasons. Sometimes their families tell them seeking counseling is a form of weakness. Their loved ones say if they had a healthy marriage, they would be able to work it out without therapy. However, there are times when people can’t work out their problems by themselves, and that’s when a couples counselor can intervene. Each person communicates differently, and in a relationship different kinds of communication need to be recognized and valued.

Let’s imagine you and I are in a relationship. You express your love for me by giving me gifts. For example, you know I love unicorns, so you buy me a unicorn T-shirt. However, you do not directly tell me “I love you.” Your way of showing me you love me is to give me presents, but I don’t feel loved because you’re not saying the words. My way of expressing love is saying the words “I love you.” Even though we are both expressing our love for each other, there’s a communication breakdown, and we do not understand one another’s love language.

Perhaps you feel ashamed that you can’t communicate effectively with your partner and that’s something that causes you to feel deficient. You may assume in every healthy relationship two people express love in the same way. However, that’s not the case.  People show their partner they love them in their unique style.

If we do not speak the same love language, it’s difficult for us to feel loved or appreciated. There are several different love languages, and we can learn them with the help of a mediator, otherwise known as a couples therapist. The role of a couples therapist is to serve as an interpreter. If one person in the couple doesn’t feel like their partner understands them, then the job of the counselor is to translate between partners. That way both people feel understood.

What if people think my marriage is failing?

There is already a huge stigma with regard to getting divorced. So people see couples counseling as a road to separation. Those in couples counseling might fear other people finding out they are in treatment because the assumption could be that their marriage is in trouble. In reality, the relationship may not be at risk if the couple seeks counseling imminently. In fact, couples therapy might be the thing that saves a failing relationship.

Let go of your shame.

There’s nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to seeing a couple’s therapist. Everyone goes through turmoil in their relationships. Each person experiences a bump in the road when they’re in love with someone. No matter how perfect your relationship looks from the outside, there are issues behind closed doors. For example, marriages may appear perfect on social media. However, the couple could be in crisis without their friends and family knowing the truth.

Don’t be afraid to seek couples counseling; there’s nothing to be ashamed of for wanting to improve your relationship. Whether you seek online couples therapy or one in your local area, there are mental health professionals who can support you. You and your partner want the same goal, which is to have the best chance of a healthy romantic relationship. You might believe there’s no hope for your marriage, but that’s when you might need a counselor the most.

Getty image by jacoblund.