Will couple's therapy help my relationship?
(Los Angeles, CA, USA)
My (26F) boyfriend (28M) and I have been together for 3 years, living together for about 1 year. We moved in together when we relocated across the country. When we moved, we agreed that we would try the new city for a couple of years before we moved back to our hometown.
Well, turns out that I did not like the move as much as he did. My job/company has been terrible (I've been here for a year; Long story short: sexual harassment comments made to me by my direct male supervisor, and they did nothing). I also did not try to go out and make friends (no excuse for that). Whereas my boyfriend found a great opportunity and a good company (joined a couple of sports leagues).
I have decided that I am going to move back home in 3 weeks, while he stays for an extra 2 months to help his company transition is replacement well. This will be the first time we'll be 'apart' for 2 months, as for the past year we have literally spent all day, every day together.
On to the issue: for the most part, we have a great relationship. We share the same deep, important life values, have a lot of the same interests, as well as we just get along great. There has been a few issues that popped up, such as him feeling like I act immaturely sometimes, me not being as emotionally strong, and me not growing as much/working on myself. This has come up a few times in the past year.
Things came to head a few weeks ago where we just had a serious talk about our relationship and everything. We kind of worked it out, but then this past Monday he told me that he's 'not sure' what he wants. Part of him wants to be with me and spend his life with me, but then the other part is worried that we are growing apart too much (which honestly, I think saying that after this 1 hard year is not a fair assumption. I can see how he'd feel like that if it was continuous, but this only started happening a couple of months ago).
I also told him that these 2 months apart, albeit not ideal, but it'll be good for us since for the past year, we have spent pretty much all day, every day with each other (outside of work) and that us having our own lives outside of each other will be good. It'll also show him how much I'm growing since seeing me every day makes it hard to notice any difference (it's like having a puppy and not seeing it grow every day since you are seeing it all the time, whereas someone
who doesn't see the puppy often will notice the growth). He thinks that me thinking the 2 months apart is 'good for us' is 'unhealthy', but I just think he doesn't get it.
I know that there is some things that I need to work on, I have been reading articles, books, and listening to self-help podcasts. He said that if after the 2 months apart, if things aren't 'better', then maybe we just don't talk for a month or so, so I can can 'grow' and mature without him being there to 'coach' me, but that seems like a last resort and if everything that I plan on fixing gets worked out when we are apart for the 2 months, I don't think this will be necessary.
I offered that we go to couple's therapy, as I think that seeing a third-party person to help us talk out our problems will be very beneficial. I also told him that him thinking that he could find a 'perfect partner' is unrealistic/naive since not one person is perfect, and couples are able to have some differences.
After Monday, I told him, 'maybe we should go see a couple's therapist' and BF's response was, 'if you think it will help, then make an appointment'. So we have a therapy session scheduled this weekend, and if that goes well, I'd like to go again one more time for I move back in 3 weeks.
I've tried not being emotional with him, but it's been pretty hard. Last night, I told him, "I am not giving up on us" and he told him, "if me coming with you to therapy on Sunday that I am not giving up either, then I don't know what else to tell you". But when I've been crying, he's told me that it is only hurting me if when something gets hard, I just cry. I need to be strong because that's when things 'get done'. I know he loves me, he tells me it all the time, but our relationship at the moment isn't the same because we can't just act like everything is ok, when it is not. So while we are being civil and fine with each other, it's not all lovey-dovey like it usually is.
I don't think my relationship is over, I think we can get through this 'cross road' (it's really been our only crossroad we have been through together). I think seeing the therapist will help me with being strong, independent outside of him, and my personal growth outside of the relationship. And help BF with seeing that not every relationship is perfect, you are allowed to have some differences, and these 2 months apart will be good.
Will couple's therapy help or will it be a waste?
Eugene Kayser, lic. Marriage & Family Therapist