“My partner doesn’t want to attend couples counselling – what do I do?”

What do you do when one person is desperate to get professional help and the other person will not go? I know for many this situation is so frustrating because they feel so stuck. 

Far too many people wait until they are on the edge of divorce before they are willing to seek help and this causes them significant stress that could have been avoided.

Fortunately there is a solution to help you be heard…

Before i jump into this post I wanted to give you two pieces of news.

  1. The better relationship program offer ends in 6 days – please hurry I only offer this program twice per year. Click here to attend
  2. I have now opened my home in Oxfordshire for couples to spend time with me in addition to my Harley Street office.

In todays post I thought it might be useful to expand on this topic of a partner blocking attending counselling, because I hear this so many times.

There are many reasons that can sit behind this specific problem.

  • The person that won’t attend doesn’t believe it will work.
  • They don’t feel that things are that bad despite what their partner is saying.
  • They are afraid that someone will tell them they are the problem.
  • They are afraid someone will make it worse.
  • They are afraid the counsellor will gang-up and side with the husband or wife.
  • They are just not ready…yet!
  • They have heard too many horror stories.
  • The counsellor will tell them to break-up.
  • Friends have said it’s a waste of time

The list could go on…

The solutions I offer to this problem

So how do “I” help someone that’s in this position?

They know something is terribly wrong in their marriage and they want to seek professional help to deal with it before it gets worse, but their partner simply will not attend. Many people are suffering and this leads to detachment which is a significant problem to reverse, so it’s really important to take action.

When I find a person in this position they have a few options open to them – To be clear taking no action is not a solution.

Option 1:

Far too many people feel that they have to attend the session together for it to be successful. The reality is the moment one person changes their behaviour to be powerfully attractive, the other person will have to react and change.

So one person can attend and create a successful change in the relationship through making a powerful change in themselves.

This process is about one person committing to be the best version of themselves with the knowledge of how to be a truly valuable partner.

This is an empowering journey of self-discovery that will help you to be able to cope with whatever life throws at you.

It creates more confidence through a greater understand of why you are in trouble and what to do about it.

Option 2:

Make attending attractive. When couples come to me the objective is to empower both people to find a win-win solution – that’s one of my missions with any couple.

So if you are trying to get your partner to come along, help them understand that you want to learn how to become a better partner for them.

It’s very difficult to get someone to attend something that they think will only cause them more pain or more problems.

It’s also very difficult to get someone to attend if they are made to feel they are the problem and it’s them and only them that needs to change.

In my experience it’s never a one person challenge.

If the relationship is not good for you, its highly likely it is not good for them either. So help them see your intention is to be the best partner you can be for them.

You could also help them to understand the type of relationship you would really like to have and would like help getting to. They must know that you too are open to positive changes and learning where you have gone wrong.

How to get the best out of a couple

In my practice I don’t allow couples to argue with each other in the sessions. An argument is two people out of control – two people shouting and no-one listening – it’s pointless and destructive!

My meetings with couples are not a place to put each other down. This is a place where two people can learn how to become effective partners to each other.

It’s a place where the couple are enlightened to see how their destructive patterns are actually hurting them and how to easily change them.

It’s natural to be skeptical and question what’s being presented so I am very open to someone wanting to understand more.

My job with any couple is to help them get to an authentic position so two intelligent people can start to make better choices about themselves and their future.


So if your partner won’t come then either help them to see you want to attend to make their life better, or take responsibility for your own life and attend on your own and free yourself from being helpless, because the chances are you’re not.

About Stephen Hedger

International relationship expert Stephen Hedger's philosophy on relationship problems is this: Couples fail to understand their relationships because they are too focused on their problems and so they totally miss what created them. Stephen's approach is a refreshing and enlightening journey that helps couples uncover their truth. His strategies uncover the knowledge that all couples need to create a successful and lasting passionate connection. If you are in crisis and you need help, book an initial consultation today to get your life back on track.