- For some people, the mere suggestion of "pre-marital counselling" could be alarming and an indication of an unhealthy relationship.
- But the truth is, in the same way, that individual therapy can be helpful for people who aren't in crisis, pre-marital therapy can be beneficial for couples entering a new chapter of their relationship.
- For 33-year-old Olwethu and her husband-to-be, pre-marital counselling had always been important to them. However, having an ex attend sessions wasn't what they envisioned.
- Olwethu told Wandi Jama why her ex attends her pre-marital sessions.
My fiancé and I have been engaged for a year and dated for three years. My ex and I dated for six years, he was my first love, and we started dating when I was 20 years old, so he knows me quite well.
My 20s were filled with a lot of trauma, and he was there through it all. I know this will come as a surprise to many but having my ex attend pre-marital therapy with us is part of my healing journey.
I experienced trauma, abuse, depression and gaslighting in my 20s, and it's been one long journey of trying to heal and piece back the puzzles, but it's not easy. My ex was the one person I could confide in as he was there for me through the heartache.
As a result, having my ex there with us gives my fiancé a different perspective regarding my triggers and past traumas and it's been such an eye-opener for my fiancé. When you go through trauma, you forget certain things, and my ex is there to help me remember and share with my fiancé and therapist.
He's also there to share how these triggers affected our past relationship, which is helpful because I don't want to repeat the mistakes I made in my previous relationship or give my triggers and trauma space in my marriage.
It was not an easy decision to make as I was against the idea at first and just never thought that it would work, but my personal psychologist encouraged it.
My ex and I have always been on good terms; breaking up was a mutual decision, and there was no resentment after that, and I think that's why my psychologist figured it would be a good idea to have him attend our pre-marital therapy.
The challenge, however, was that although I have an incredibly supportive and understanding fiancé, asking him to be in the same room with my ex was a bit of a huge ask. But I'm grateful he eventually agreed to the suggestion.
It hasn't been an easy journey, to be honest. There are certain parts about me that my fiancé is finding out about, and it's been difficult.
I've had to bare my soul and completely be vulnerable. My ex has had to revisit a few episodes from our past, which hasn't been easy for him. However, it brought so much closure and has made my fiancé discover me even more, which has been quite beautiful but a bit daunting.
My ex also made me realise how much I've grown and how much I overcame. He even said in one of the sessions that he's proud of the woman I've become, and he is happy to see me with someone who loves me and is willing to understand me a bit better.
Our situation does sound taboo, but it works for us, and it's actually brought my fiancé and me even closer. I'm grateful for the safe space and for the decision we made. It wasn't easy, but it's paying off and will make a difference in our marriage.
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