Jennifer Garner credits the therapy sessions she signed up for following the break-up of her marriage to actor Scott Foley for the success of her relationship with Ben Affleck.
The actress admits her split and subsequent divorce from Foley in 2003 was "a huge heartbreak" which sent her into therapy.
And Garner reveals the sessions helped her come to terms with the fact she wasn't ready to become a wife when she wed Foley in 2000.
She tells Parade magazine, "I had a lot of growing up to do. I’m still conflict-averse. I don’t like to argue. But, back then, I couldn’t have a fight. I couldn’t work things out because I wasn’t able to say what I needed to say. I didn’t have a voice. I didn’t dare to express myself.
"It was a huge heartbreak for me to have something fail like that. I knew that this was either an opportunity for growth or I would sink.
"It’s easy when you’re hurt and angry to just say, 'Oh, it’s them,' but I had to come into my own. I thought, 'Why did this relationship not work? What part of the failure is my responsibility?' So I went to work on it. I started therapy."
Garner called on inspiration from her TV spy character in Alias to help her become a better partner.
She adds, "It’s not like I didn’t realise I had any issues until I got a divorce, but I had this professional confidence that wasn’t equalled by my own personal confidence in any relationship - not just with men. There was a disconnect. I realised I needed to be more like my character in Alias, who was so powerful and confident and an inspiration to me.
"I understood very well how to be nice and how to take care of people. I didn’t know how to ask for anything that I needed. It was important to balance it out."
Her second marriage to Affleck has become a success story - the couple has become one of Hollywood's most solid pairs. They wed in 2005 and have two kids.