How Do I Get My Husband To Want To Go To Counseling After The Affair? He Doesn’t See The Point

By: Katie Lersch: Many people intuitively know that probably the fastest and most effective way to save their marriage after an affair is counseling. (Well, I should probably preface that last sentence and say that most women intuitively know this.) For whatever reason, I find that overwhelmingly, women are more likely to be open to counseling than men. This is only my opinion and I am not relying on any scientific data to back it up. I’m not a therapist, but this is my perception of it. Men may well go to counseling, but they often are only there because they have to be.  Or because they know that they need to.  But some men refuse to go or are incredibly resistant.

A wife might describe this situation. “I believe that the only chance that we have to make our marriage work after my husband’s affair is working with a good counselor. I already know of such a person. One of my coworkers used a therapist with fabulous results. But my husband is all but refusing to go. He says that therapists always make the cheater out to be the flawed, bad guy. He says it is going to cost tons of money. He says he doesn’t want to sit there and hear what an awful person he is while I gloat about it. He told me that he will share his feelings and his motivations with me alone and that this should be good enough. He says that between the two of us, we are smart enough to get through this without bringing outsiders into our marriage. So I have tried it his way. But when he makes these revelations, I don’t know how to respond to them or follow up – which is why I feel we need some help. Honestly, I do not think that I will be satisfied without the counseling.”

I understand your line of thinking. I believe that counseling can be extremely effective. And I also believe that if you feel that you need it, then you deserve to get it. However, I do hear from a lot of husbands who feel exactly the way that your husband does. Many of them are highly resistant, which means that your husband’s feelings are not uncommon. So, it can be a huge challenge to get him to willingly participate. Below are a few things that you may want to try, as I have seen them to be effective.

Carefully Choose The Right Counselor: I know that this may sound like a lengthy waste of time. But frankly, some counselors have a way with reluctant men. People often assume that men want a male counselor. I do not always find this to be true. There are counselors of either gender that just have a way of putting every one at ease while being objective and fair to both people. And I believe that this is what men are looking for – someone who will at least listen to their side of things. Your husband might perceive that the counselor you already want is not going to be sympathetic to him. So it might be necessary to tell him that you are willing to interview several people in order to find one you both agree on. I know this seems tedious, but if that is what it takes to get him to go, then it’s probably worth it.

Allow Him To Start Out By Just Attending Your Own Sessions To Support You: I have seen this work more than once. If you truly feel that you want to start counseling, go on your own. Start individual work. You can ask your therapist to allow your husband to sit in on a session when the time becomes appropriate. And she (or he) can usually work in some issues where your husband can contribute to the session. Some men are willing to go if the session is about you instead of being about them or the marriage. And much of the time, they will see that it is not as bad as they feared. And they will see that the counselor is just trying to help and is not out to get them.

This allows your husband to see behind the curtain and to dispel their assumptions. And that can be an effective way to ease them into the counseling.

Allow Him To See What Is In It For Him: The next time your husband begins to list the reasons why he doesn’t want to go to counseling, you might try something like this: “well, I’ve said that you can help me choose a counselor that you are comfortable with and I stand by that. But I also think that you are not considering what is in this for you. If we have a counseling session once per week, then you might get some relief at home. I won’t always be peppering you with questions and accusations every day because I will know that I will get these things addressed at counseling. This will help me with my frustration and anger and eventually, things may be a lot nicer at home and between us. I can’t promise you that every minute of counseling will be a joy, but it should make life at home better and it should help us to make progress so that we don’t have to live this way for much longer. Don’t you think that is worth it? To put in some time once a week so that for the whole entire week after it, we’ll have some relief? I certainly think that this is worth it. Please take some time to think about it. I think if you go just once, you might see that it isn’t as bad as you think and is really helpful.”

Try to think of it this way. You usually only have to get him to go once in order for him to see that it is not as bad as he thinks and it isn’t based on someone just telling him how awful he is. Because once you can get past these fears and assumptions, you will usually find him to be more willing.

I do believe that ultimately, counseling is helpful.  It is not always fun.  But it often helps you see the things that you are not objective enough to see. Often, we are just too close to things because our feelings are too raw. However, I don’t think counseling is always the ONLY way to heal. But it certainly helps.  You can read more at

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