Is therapy really what I need?

I had a break-up that happened 3 and a half years ago. I'm worried that the break up is still affecting me today. We were only together for 56months so naturally, I would have expected to be over it by now. I'm not struggling getting over the person, but how hurt I was at the time seems to be staying with me in the form of fear.

I'm in a new relationship that I'm perfectly happy in, with someone who is good, kind and committed. I don't have any trust issues with her and I feel like we could have a happy life together. We're at the stage in our relationship where we talk about the future as if it's a given. It's been 18 months and for some reason, the idea of committing for life gives me anxiety. It isn't that I don't want to start a family or be married, that's exactly what I want. But it scares me, to the point where I won't allow the relationship to move forward. It's not fair to her or to myself as we seem to be stuck because of it.

If therapy is the way forward, is there a type of therapy or therapist that you'd suggest would be the way forward?
Asked by Stuart

Hi Stuart! 

Thank you for reaching out. Deciding to start therapy can be a big decision! I am glad you are exploring it because I have never met a person that did not find therapy helpful, as long as they are willing to work on their challenges. Therapy is not going to help you feel better just by showing up to the sessions but if you work hard and focus, it can be life changing. Life changing is actually sort of the point! :) 

It sounds like you already recognize that your behaviors are based on your feelings. Cognitive behavioral therapy (a.k.a. CBT) might be helpful to you. This kind of therapy shows us that our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are all connected. Your behavior of not allowing the relationship to move forward is based on your feeling of fear. I do not know what your thoughts are on that situation but being aware of your thoughts and how they are related to your feelings and behaviors can be helpful in itself. Therapy can help you identify and connect these thoughts to feelings and behaviors and can help you to make positive changes in your life. 

Being hurt after a break up is normal and not wanting to have those feelings again, at the same level or a deeper one is also normal. A therapist can help you to explore these fears and weigh the risk of committing in a new relationship.

Would committing to your relationship damage it? Would not committing damage it?  Is there anything else contributing to your fear of commitment other than the fear of loss? Those are a couple of things to think about to help you work through what you want to do but are also examples of questions that a therapist might ask you in a session. It's okay if you don't know the answers to those and if you don't I would recommend therapy all the more! 

There are a lot of great therapists on BetterHelp! I do have openings. If you are interested in working with someone else, I think someone who practices CBT would be helpful to you. Don't be afraid to try more than one therapist. If you are not connecting with someone, it is okay to switch to someone else until you find someone that clicks for you! 

Thanks for reaching out and I wish you the best of luck!