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First Relate session tomorrow .. What to I expect?

(9 Posts)
Avondale Wed 06-Nov-13 11:06:06

That's it really. DH and I have agreed to go to counselling as our relationship isn't good. No sex life, just plodding on with things for sake of DCs. No one else involved. I've told him that I think it would be better if we split but he wants to stay together. I quickly agreed to try for the sake of DCs. I want to make sure we have made every effort.
Very nervous about appointment. Does anyone have experience they don't mind sharing?
TIA

wallaby73 Wed 06-Nov-13 11:32:22

I felt incredibly apprehensive before my first session; at first i went on my own, then we went as a couple. Like you I wanted to be sure we had explored every possible avenue, and had no experience of counselling personally prior to this, but had heard good reports. So i was way out of my comfort zone - but it was such a relief! Not only did they immediately put me (and later us) at ease, they somehow created an atmosphere which made it easy and safe to say things to eachother we probabley couldn't have managed on our own. It was also ok to be upset. We found that whatever tensions arose in between appointments, a session at relate seemed to difuse it and we both left feeling a lot calmer and less stressed. They made it clear at the outset that the misconception of marriage guidance was it was only there with "the purpose of keeping people together"; no, it was with the purpose of finding out what was best for all concerned and how best to facilitate it, whether it was to find a way forward together or seperately. Good luck!

cjel Wed 06-Nov-13 11:32:29

Have no experience of relate but have had my own counselling. IME the first session usually covers what you both expect from the sessions and what you would both like to achieve. It should be explained how the counsellor works and some sort of 'rules' about session times, ending the counselling etc,
To get the most out of the sessions I would advise to say what ever is on your mind.
Would love to hear how you get on!!

Avondale Wed 06-Nov-13 12:04:04

Thanks for your replies. I'm not very good at talking things through - much more of a bottle-it-all-up kinda person.
It just seems like such a big step to take to admit to someone that we are having 'problems'. I've only briefly mentioned to my DS and that was a year ago.
I'm not sure what I want to get out of it or what I want to say ....

redundantandbitter Wed 06-Nov-13 16:14:44

Hi, I have been on my own and with my DDs father .

I think it's a good safe place to talk. Nothing much shocks them. They have a good understanding . The first session may involve a bit of admin - form signing and you may need proof of your incomes.

I generally always make a few notes before I go - in case things get off the subject and you don't get your say otherwise. What might be important to you may not be on your partners agenda. Hope that makes sense.

They will make notes anyway, they can help you find a way to stay together or they can help you end well.

Good luck.

stalepalemale Wed 06-Nov-13 17:10:23

Hi Avondale, I know you both must be nervous but really it’s quite exciting what you’re doing, going out of your conform zones to improve your marriage. I agree with the other posters that it’s a great way to say to each other what you really feel in a ‘safe space’, and your therapist will soon show you ways to communicate with each other better if that’s an issue between you.

This is your opportunity to express all the stuff you’ve been bottling up, so go for it! Yes your marriage has got problems but so do all other marriages. And your therapist will have heard everything before, so don’t be embarrassed. Just be as honest as you can be. Small warning: like all professionals, there are good therapists and bad ones, so don’t be discouraged if you or your DH feel like you’re not connecting with them – just look for another (therapist that is, not DH). I hope it goes well, good luck!

Avondale Wed 06-Nov-13 20:32:43

Thanks again for your replies. It's helping calm the nerves.
stalepalemale communication is a big problem so that is a great idea of things that we can discuss. I was thinking I would just be going in with a list of things that annoy me but didn't think that would be useful! But asking for help in how we communicate is a great starting point
Oh, bit of a typo in my first post. I've mentioned problems with my sister not my son!

stalepalemale Thu 07-Nov-13 11:57:42

Hi Avondale, just wanted to say that I hope it all goes well today and that you both find it productive. Communication is so important in all relationships – you can’t fix anything between you if you don’t know what your partner is feeling about it. Also it’s really easy to say things in a way that unnecessarily puts the other’s back up. The golden rule seems to be, express your own feelings clearly without being judgemental or accusatory – ie instead of saying, ‘You’re so mean and selfish for going out drinking till midnight all the time,’ say something like, ‘When you go out drinking till midnight all the time it makes me feel neglected and unloved.’ Turning it around like this helps promote empathy and can make all the difference to their reaction.

For what it’s worth, one of the best books I’ve read about relationships is Passionate Marriage by David Schnarch. Well worth checking out if you’re into that kind of thing! All the best…

redundantandbitter Thu 07-Nov-13 21:22:35

How did you get on with your first session? Good I hope

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