Couples counseling for dating couples
It's not a reluctance to make a commitment, but an anxiety."Of course, as any good therapist, counselor, rabbi, or priest can attest, just because someone expresses interest in making a relationship work—by attending couples therapy, say—does not mean that it should, or even that that is what the person really wants.Once in a while, Ziff says, she learns in private consultation with one member of a couple that the person would rather call it quits, but doesn't really know how."Then it's an excellent idea," she says, "but as an informational, assessment tool, not just to bitch about each other," Nise says she also has noticed that people may think of therapy for the wrong reasons."It's a chi-chi, fun thing to do, to have a therapist," she says.Anne Ziff describes her work as "divorce prevention." As a marriage and family therapist, she has been in practice since the late 1980s, and works in Westport, Conn., and New York City."Increasingly I see couples who are entirely committed but not married," she says.
For the person in the couple who may feel significantly more ambivalent, therapy may be a good-faith attempt at appeasement, even when, ultimately, that partner feels the relationship should end."Where you get past that point where everything happens automatically."In the case of unmarried couples in longterm relationships, therapy serves as it has done traditionally, as the tipping point for bringing ambivalent partners closer together.But increasingly, it also functions as a tool to ease them more comfortably apart."The problem is, the patterns that you develop ultimately are based on, 'Well, heck, if it doesn't work out, we're not married,' " says Julie Nise, a relationship trainer and therapist based near Houston. Essentially, this is what I tell my dating couples: if he's not good enough to be married to, then you don't need to be living with him.Because all you're doing is burning daylight."She says she believes that effective therapy is targeted, rather than habitual.
"It seems the question is changing from "Is it too late to save our relationship? "I'm seeing more younger, unmarried couples than ever," he says.