As visible from my last post, I have recently gotten interested in the kind of effect therapy has to a relationship, in particular individual therapy and not couples counceling. It is surprisingly a topic that has been discussed quite sparingly. I did find some articles however- this and this. Both of them seem to cast a rather negative picture of the effect of individual therapy on marriage. I have mixed feelings about the arguments these articles make.
To begin with, I am quite open in admitting that I broke up with my ex in vain, not investing enough to fixing the relationship. The breakup happened about a month after I started my therapy and my therapist did have some effect on my decision. Ever since I have contemplated and agonized over my decision and imagined how my life would have been, had I stayed together with my ex. I have imagined myself having a family and being extremely happy with him.
My therapist did make me feel even less hopeful about my relationship when he suggested that my ex had some serious protections in place which did not allow him to be emotionally expressive or vulnerable. Granted he could only hear my version of the story and I can easily see how this can be very misguiding. I do think my therapist was right about my ex and his inability to trust me in our relationship though. The question is- could it have been something solvable or not? My ex and me had a pattern where I was longing for more closeness, more love etc and he was feeling extremely overwhelmed by it. This left me feeling unlovable and alone and probably left him feeling threatened and scared of all the emotional intensity.
Even though I admit I should have given this relationship a chance to heal, tried more, I do not think my individual therapy was responsible for the breakup. More likely I think that he would have sooner or later broken up with me without therapy or we would have ended up having a relationship where both sides did not get their needs fulfilled. I do have problems imagining, as well, how the relationship could have survived my individual therapy which included me becoming extremely emotional, at times, and require quite a bit of support. My current boyfriend has been extremely helpful throughout the whole process, in listening me, in empathizing with me and in general giving me great advice. If I have an adequate picture of my ex, I would suggest that the changes happening in therapy would have scared him even further. So I feel that I was in a no choice situation. I could have not avoided therapy, because I and my relationship were in a troublesome state, and starting the therapy also included breakup.
As already said, I often do think what would have happened if I had not started the therapy. Would me and my ex be having a family by now? Maybe we could have been happy? Maybe it was all such a wrong choice? Maybe I have just wasted all these years of my life? Many questions I have and these questions will always be unanswered. However, I do tend to think, that the problem was in me and not in me starting therapy. I do tend to think that me back then would have never been able to sustain my relationship. After all I was flirting, constantly imagining what it would be like to be together with someone else, constantly doubting my ex etc. What are the chances of such a relationship succeeding? Furthermore, a more general question- if people are starting therapy, what are the chances that they are happy or satisfied in the relationships? What are the chances that these relationships would have survived without therapy? I do agree, that therapy should be focused on solving the problems in the relationships, however, I do think that there are situations which are not easy to solve. To hold therapy responsible for not being able to solve these issues is like shooting the messenger. It might feel comforting, but ultimately, are we just convincing ourselves into believing that there were no problems before the therapy. By the way, after the breakup my ex told me that he thought the breakup was a good idea. Giving the speed of which he moved on it seems to me that the breakup was not entirely my doing after all and my imagination that at the time I started therapy I had already driven my ex crazy with my neediness might have had some meat to it.