Couples Counseling: Learning to Say No in Your Intimate Relationship


Couples counseling with Take Charge, Inc. helps struggling couples make changes as individuals and in their relationships as well. How does someone end up becoming a person who can’t say no to others? And what does it cost themselves in the process? Saying no in your intimate relationship is the most important no you can learn. Continue reading to find out how couples counseling can help you learn an assertive no in your relationship.

The inability to say no effectively is directly linked with the need to seek approval from others. So how do we end up as adults who crave the positive opinions of others? It often stems from a childhood where we didn’t feel we could get love by simply being ourselves. One way or another, despite the very best intentions, our caretakers left us feeling we had to obey or perform somehow to ‘earn’ their affections. Here are a few examples of parenting that can leave you a people pleasing adult:

  • Strict parents who rewarded you for meeting expectations and you were shown displeasure if you didn’t,
  • Mixed message parents who are tolerant one moment and demanding the next, so you decided it was best to conform instead of risking rejection,
  • Parents who are too distracted; your caretaker suffered with something traumatic – a difficult relationship, stress, or depression, so you learned to fit their needs instead of becoming another stress for them,
  • Instances where your caregiver has not resolved their own personal issues with their parents, so they played out their flawed dynamics with you,
  • Insecure parents who don’t love themselves and in turn uses their child to support their self-esteem, leaving the child pressured to make the parent feel good.

Never saying no comes at a higher price than you might realize, psychological costs. Some of these psychological costs consist of bad relationships, stress, anxiety, depression, lack of identity and sometimes even breakups or divorce, ultimately it will lead to burnout. If you continue to be a people pleaser your entire life, you’ll most likely bring that into an intimate relationship down the line, and saying no in your relationship is important because it allows you to set boundaries and communicate your needs and values clearly. Couples counseling can help with communication issues as well.

Never saying no in a relationship can have negative side effects on both partners and the relationship as a whole. Some examples of these negative effects include things such as resentment, imbalance, lack of boundaries, codependency, and burnout. If one partner always says yes to the other’s requests, they may begin to feel resentful over time. This can lead to feelings of frustration, anger, and dissatisfaction in the relationship, it can create an imbalance. One partner may begin to feel like they are doing all the giving, while the other is doing all the taking. Without the ability to say no, boundaries can become blurred or non-existent. This leads to feelings of confusion, frustration, and even anger if one partner feels that their boundaries have been violated. Always saying yes can also contribute to codependent behavior in the relationship. This can lead to a lack of independence and autonomy for both partners, they may even become overwhelmed and burnt out over time. This can lead to feelings of exhaustion, resentment, and even physical and emotional health issues. Some ways you can effectively say no in your intimate relationship involve:

  • Identify your boundaries,
  • Practice saying no,
  • Use “I” statements
  • Be respectful when declining,
  • Compromise,
  • Seek support with couples counseling.

Every couple, no matter how deeply in love and committed they are, has disagreements. But it is within everyone’s rights to say no. Couples counseling at Take Charge, Inc. in Overland Park, KS will give you new tools and techniques to transform normal relationship stress into a stronger bond. For more information on couples counseling, contact Take Charge, Inc. at (913) 239-8255 to schedule an appointment.

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