Does Couples Counseling Help You Divorce?

marriageI dated a man with his Sun, Mercury, Venus and Saturn in Scorpio. He also had Pluto conjunct his seventh house cusp. He felt that couples went to counseling to get help breaking up.

He said that you go in there, state your problems. The other person states theirs.
It’s then determined you can’t come together and it’s best if you separate…
Then you separate.

He asked me if I would like to go to couples counseling towards the end of the relationship. I told him I’d rather just break up if the result was already known. Why circle the drain for weeks or months or years, when you can flush?

I tend to agree with him, for the most part. If a couple can’t work something out between themselves, it’s rare that a third party would be able to help.

Do you know of a marriage saved by couples counseling? If not, why do you think it’s so ineffective?

29 thoughts on “Does Couples Counseling Help You Divorce?”

  1. I’ve known some extended family members who have been to counseling and it helped them repair their relationship. Also, the parents of friends.

    I think in some cases the personalities of the people involved determine the outcome. Some people may feel that when they reach the point where it’s over, then it is over…they are probably the types who have considered (internally) all possible outcomes and solutions and have put a lot of thought into that decision, or there were deal breakers whose conditions were met and, well, the deal is done.

    Conversely, there are those who are more mutable, more willing to re-examine processes and actions, who are willing to come up with different strategies and changes in behavior in order to salvage the unit as a whole.

  2. I’ve known many that tried none were successful, only prolonged the enevidible end. Though I have seen couples helped by one party seeking individual counseling. It is not uncommon for one to project his/her unhappiness onto the partner. A counselor can help an individual assess if this is happening and also help the individual with why they got into and may want to stay or leave their relationship. Most relationship issues can be solved by parties accepting personal responsibility for their part. Of course sometimes the best solution is to cease life saving measures and call time of death.

  3. i agree w/you; i’d rather just break up; cut it at the jugular. No need for long drawn out counseling. It’s like a long drawn out painful process of wasting time, especially if it weren’t working years before.

  4. Oh my goodness! I was married to a Scorp with almost the exact planets. He has a stellium and 6 planets in Scorp. Also Pluto on 7th going into 8th. We were married 30 years. To be honest with you I would be suspicious of him really even suggesting counseling!! Hah!! A hot planted Scorp?? Wow. But that’s just me. I would suspect all kinds of underhanded, secret,devious, diabolical, tangled up reasons he would bring that up. But then again. I’m a Pisces with an 8th house sun….

    1. That’s too funny. My ex has 4 planets in Scorpio in the 4th and he used counseling against me. LOL. I posted further down.

  5. Research does indeed show that couples counseling,because psychologists believe in individualism, will GUARANTEE divorce unless couples signal early that they do not want it, or screen the therapist as someone that will not have an anti-marriage bias…I have experienced this first hand, and if you have been, notice how the therapist will work toward bringing on a crisis that will cause the ultimate breakup. Therapists have power. Nothing is natural.

  6. Hey Elsa and all,
    Couples counselling helped me and my ex, but we did end up parting ways. It helped in that it taught us to communicate our needs and to fight fair. Those were two life skills I needed anyway. It ended up breaking us up as I saw a world outside the marriage that I had not seen before. I personally think it helps in general. Sometimes divorce comes from it. If I had stayed with the ex – it would no have been good.

  7. When the ex fiancé and I broke up I begged him to go to counseling with me and he refused. He thought it to be a waste of money, I was willing to pay whatever I had to on my own to save us. My mindset was of the understanding that when there’s emotional strain/ stress people aren’t good at communicating with each other in a rational manner. My thinking is that a counselor would be good as a mediator, to help each other hear what the other is trying to say without emotional prejudices. I decided I’d see a therapist on my own. I told her my side of everything, how I felt, what was going on with me, where I was not handling my emotions properly, etc. She told me I sounded very emotionally mature and very resilient. I didn’t want it to be a one sided thing, I wanted her to know his side of the situation as well so she could have a better grasp of the situation and be able to help accordingly. I asked my ex to email her, stating his side of things. He did email her, and it was so completely vague that it was basically a waste of time to her. He didn’t want the help, which I took as him not wanting to salvage the relationship and this was at a point where it still wasn’t clear as to whether we were completely over or not (we were still living together at the time as well). Despite not even getting counseling together, he still played head games for about a year until I cut him off. He’s fixed, quite a few personal planets in Scorpio with his sun conjunct Pluto in the same sign. He made his decision, I was just blind to it. I’m mutable but with a lot of earth and water. I like finding alternate methods to finding solutions for problems.

  8. My ex and I went to counseling after we filed bankruptcy, I returned to work and we were both miserable. For me, it resolved my will to stay in the marriage and to find some way to make life happy (I hated my job, rent house, and it was a stressor to work a full time job, part time job and raise 3 kids) so I went to grad school. I think he knew he didn’t want to stay in the marriage, so while I was in grad school, he got fired from his job working with his brother, moved to another city, had an affair and told me he was done. At the time, I was devastated, but now with a little distance, it was pretty much a hot mess. And we went to a Christian counselor that was totally against divorce. Never thought of it the AMF’s way, but I would tend to agree with him. Thanks for the new perspective Elsa!

  9. It’s ineffective because both the man and the woman go in thinking the mediator will favor their standpoint; hoping the other will surrender all of their values. Very few people will sacrifice what they believe will bring them the most happiness and fulfillment for another and even if they did, they would spend their life miserable and eventually the other person would get tired of being around a miserable person. Venus rules values.

  10. Lol. Every couple I know that went to counseling ended up divorcing/parting ways. Every one. The therapist in every case “opened things up” and resentments poured out and the couples would become upset and angry and feel “violated” and sadder than prior to going! Every one (male and female) told me — never, EVER do this this counseling thing! break apart or work on your own. It’s just a depressing money-sucking thing that resolves nothing. One friend who went to just one session told me her marriage therapist shared an office with her husband, a divorce lawyer, and said she and her husband felt they were getting the rush to think of breaking up. The bad experience reunited them — they snarked about it, sorted themselves out, had laughs, back together.

    Then I once read what the ELLE advice columnist E. Jean wrote and I feel it is great: “Whatever you do, stay the hell away from marriage counselors. They will encourage you to air your grievances and that will doom you to divorce. All you require is to start remembering why you enjoyed one another in the first place.”

    1. Ha– mine and my husbands marriage counselor is going through marriage counseling himself!

      My husband and I both saw him individually first. He told us both, basically, he thought we would be better off separating.

      It must be true– they’re in business to help people break up.

  11. In my case, my ex and I went decades ago. The counselor kept asking us if we would consider divorce. At the time we both said no. (My ex never considered divorce until he found someone else.) But the ex is a narcissist and I believe he has borderline personality disorder, so he was extremely capable of manipulating the counselor and he did. He used the sessions as a way to upset me and I chose to quit going.

  12. I knew of one couple whom, as far as I know, were “saved” by marriage counseling for a time, but can’t say that they remain together to this day, as people sometimes drift away from others. I will say that with that particular couple, each seemed like puppets or “Stepford Husband and Wife” after the counseling. I do appreciate Kat21’s comment that life skills were gained from it – that in itself was important, so an effective(and HONEST)practitioner would’ve been in there with them. It’s up to the couple really. It’s still a worthy attempt if two people can come out of it with at least one gaining insight/life skill, and that would help in making a decision as to how you want to go on with your life. As for all the stuff in Scorpio! All you really need is your Sun there(just kidding!). It does sound troublesome. Is there any Sun sign that could handle that much w/o being, well, troublesome?

  13. I can’t speak for anyone else but in my marriage we know ourselves well enough to know if we thought we had to go for couple’s counseling that it is already over.

    Now, my husband did seek counseling when he was deployed one time. He came home from that deployment and was acting very different. He was more considerate and caring and it continued on to this day. That was 2006-2007 time frame.

    Recently, within the last year or two I brought it up with him about how he had changed during that deployment. He said it was because he went to a therapist there for issues he still had with his mother and the therapist told him that he better treat me better than he has or he might lose me.

    lol. I’d like to thank that therapist 😀

  14. Jesus. It’s surprising to hear all of your responses; I thought at least one person would say they knew of a person whose marriage was helped by counseling or they themselves were helped by it.

    I mean, this topic hits home for me. We’ve been in marriage counseling off and on during our 11 year marriage. Now I feel like what’s the point of having any hope? Why bother trying to ‘stay positive’ or give it my all?

    What’s the point of having any hope at all about anything.

  15. Most people seek couples counseling too late (ditto individual therapy IMHO). They’ve done too much Plutonic detonating to undo the damage through a weekly chat. It’s a proven fact that we women lose more of our “bonding” hormone, oxytocin, over the years and are way less prone to accept bullshit in our close relationships. I remarried at 50 sought counseling IMMEDIATELY when problems cropped up right after our marriage. We have been totally happy now for 8 blissful years of marriage!! Getting a good efficacious therapist is also a must. And very hard to do. Good luck y’all.

    1. Very smart. And you are correct that most people go too late. Then they show up trying to get the therapist on their side. Relationships don’t happen to you – you create them. A therapist can help you see what you are doing so you have a conscious choice.

  16. Christian music artist Michael Card and his wife started marital counseling while their marriage was good and solid, and it still is to this day. I think the difference here is that they went in order to STRENGTHEN their marriage, not SAVE it. A good counselor, IMO, gives you tools to help you communicate more effectively with your partner. And you both have to be determined to make it work.

    1. I love that point! I think that the artist P!nk did the same thing. She knew there were going to be issues, so let’s deal with them before they become unsolvable.

  17. @goldie, my guess is that anyone who’s found it helpful would be hesitant to speak up given the tone of previous responses…they nearly all suggest that if you feel you need counseling there is something wrong with/missing from your relationship. if I had time I’d go find and link the 100 other posts that have appeared on this site about regret about leaving a relationship too soon, people unconsciously repeating the same destructive patterns with new lovers, etc. I think you get the point…my view is that couples counseling and individual counseling can be helpful.

  18. My parents went to couples counseling a few times in their lifetime. They still fight about the same gripe they went to counseling for but they’re still married. I think the counseling did help to some degree with the techniques that they teach you to express yourself better and understand each other, but it was up to my parents to work it out.

  19. Well yeah the problem is, people goes to couple counseling when its already too late!

    Also good counselers are hard to get by. Not to forget, chemistry is important. Both parts have to feel comfy with the counseler.
    I have read many many horror stories about sick sociopathuc counselers who rather play mind games and other sick plays to get the couple to part ways! You would be horrified by thise stories!

    In one of the cases the couple was seing this counseler one on one. Theye were ready to seperate and coming to terms after seing this counseler, but they started to feel something is off. It was not until they started to compare notes, that they realised how the counseler had poisoned them and lied abut things the other part supposedly had said about the other etc.,.. Anyways, he was a sociopath who seemed to like feeling powerful and making couples split.

    And as said, this is not unheard of and I have read several stories like this.

    Competent counselers are also super hard to get by.

    Imo, one would not need counselers if one read a few good books about communication and started to follow the guidelines together. ALso having wise elders who have boths best in mind who could act like guidance. But yeah wise elders are as hard to come by as competent counselers I guess.

  20. I’m from the Camila Suprano school of therapy, 3 visits then you have to quit, they know too much. These problems are deep and to think I could open up genuinely is wishfully thinking at best.

  21. I had a friend who was a therapist and she would not take on a couple unless they were both sincere and honest about TRULY wanting to stay in the relationship, and ready to do whatever work it would take to make it work. Keywords being BOTH OF THEM, and HONESTLY.

  22. After 4 counselors in 10 years, I have experience in this dept. The first 3 counsellors did not create any changes within a month so we moved on to someone else. The last was a married man and woman couple counselor pair, which made it feel like a level playing field for us, and who were also psychic. They were great. Because of their intuitive ability, they went straight to the heart of our problems way faster. We got tons of skills to fight fair, listen, communicate and just be better people. It cleared/healed lots of our insecurities. I feel we were originally attracted to each other to fill those insecurities,keep us in the not so good comfort zones and when we healed them, we did not really have a need or dependence on each other anymore and I have just really felt very “done” with no purpose to the relationship anymore. We learned and are much better prepared to be in a new relationship. I could not have grown without the bad relationship or the counselors help to see. It would have taken a lifetime to figure that all out without a knowledgeable third party outside view.

    We have Scorpio Moon and Virgo Moon, two very opposite emotional styles, but we really needed to see the opposites strongly to get ourselves to move out of our own extreme end of the spectrum and become more compassionate people.

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