What to Do When You Waited Too Long to See a Therapist
Unfortunately, it’s common for people to wait “too long” to take that step of seeking out a therapist. I see this most often with people who are dealing with addictions, and people who are having relationship issues. In these situations, partners are wanting to see action, and steps to making changes. When those requests are ignored, it can feel like a betrayal.
Waiting on this makes a lot of sense. Similar to needing to see a doctor, it can seem like it will just pass on its own. In fact, there are many times where you may have even seen this happen. There would be a blow up in the relationship, and over time it would settle and seem to go away. The problem that you’re facing now is that it didn’t actually go away. It was just temporarily tucked away, but slowly built into resentment.
This slow resentment is only for issues that happen slowly over time. However, sometimes the issues themselves are more severe. Cheating, lying, and affairs can also lead to procrastination. There is a lot of shame to work through. This can be easier to avoid altogether, but this avoidance can lead to a relationship crisis.
So what do you do if you have waited?
Allow your partner to have the experience and emotions that you have. This can be tough, because it’s likely that there is some resentment or anger towards you. Empathizing with these experiences can really help with rebuilding.
Give it some time. Time alone will not likely heal this hurt. If you take the right steps, time can help the dust settle. This is because it takes time to rebuild trust and commitment.
Get in with a specialized therapist. Whether you’re dealing with sexual issues, affairs, or an addiction, find a therapist who specializes in this. Relationship therapists, sex therapists, and addiction therapists can help.
Ask your partner what you can do right now. Sometimes, this will be to give them time and space. Other times it will be to check in more. Respect these wishes. Respecting these types of requests can feel vulnerable, but it can be the best, first steps at rebuilding trust.
Talk about the issues. This isn’t going to be one conversation. Instead, you need to have ongoing conversations about emotions, and what has happened. It will be uncomfortable, but you’ll build a better understanding. This will show your partner that you care.
You didn’t get here overnight. Unfortunately, that means that this won’t be fixed overnight either. Even when there are affairs and betrayal, these situations have underbellies of other issues. This will take time. Be patient and give it the time it needs. You have to learn about yourself and about your relationship.
Don’t give up. It can seem hopeless, but try not to give up. Maintaining hope is going to feel vulnerable, because you could end up getting hurt in the end. However, if you don’t have any hope, you also don’t have a foundation to work on.