Tuesday, July 16, 2013

15 Reasons Why Being Married to a Therapist May Actually be More Difficult Than Dating Them

Recently, eHarmony posted an awesome article with a list of 15 Reasons to Date a Therapist. They are pretty awesome reasons!

As I was reading through them, I thought, Hm. I'm a pretty normal wife with plenty of issues. Pretty sure Aaron is a much better person for being married to a therapist than I am as the therapist.

So I came up with a little add-on for each of the eHarmony reasons for why that reason could actual be a bit of a stumbling block in a marriage thus making the spouse o the therapist the "better" marriage partner.


15 Reasons to Date a Therapist Being Married to a Therapist Isn't Anything Amazing 
(or Perhaps, Why it is Even More Difficult than the Average Marriage)

AKA 
15 Reasons Anybody Married to a Therapist Is Amazing and Deserves an Award for their Patience, Empathy and Understanding

1. Therapists are great listeners, and intentionally do so without judgement.
But when therapists have been listening to people all day long, they really just want somebody to listen to them talk without judgment.

2. Therapists keep secrets. If you’re looking for someone trustworthy, a therapist is trained in confidentiality.
This also means they may be a bit socially awkward because they can't discuss the details of their work at the local dinner parties and after-work chat may be limited when you ask about their day.

3. Therapists offer good advice and can help you make wise choices if you’re looking for input into a difficult situation.
Or they'll just sit their and ask you what you think you should do in various phrasings over and over until you've made the best decision yourself (... or have you?)

4. Therapists are compassionate.
Which means they may often come home burnt out and just not have any compassion left when you want to talk to them at the end of the day so they tell you to just, "Deal with it".

5. A lot of people are in therapy. If your date is good at what he/she does, he/she has job security.
You may end up in therapy at multiple points in your marriage because everybody needs therapy- including you, and your marriage, and your kids etc.

6. Therapists are acutely aware of emotional needs and the human condition. It’s safe to be vulnerable around them.
They carry a lot of emotions throughout the day while only showing clients brief snippets of their reactions. You will get to witness the full brunt and the crying meltdown if your spouse had a hard day or is feeling incredibly empathetic toward a client and their struggles. (You also get to see the good and great days, too. It can be a bit of a roller coaster.)

7. Therapists want to see positive change take place and are proactive when it comes to problem-solving.
You may find yourself saying to your spouse, "I just want you to listen. Stop giving me solutions."

8. Therapists are good communicators. Not only do they listen well, they help people acknowledge their own weaknesses and make healthy decisions. Game-playing and cryptic comments won’t help clients, so neither are part of their communication arsenal.
Because they aren't usually cryptic with clients, they may overdo it with you at home because they don't want to seem like they are being too bossy and powerful in your marriage and want to make sure all decisions are very mutual.

9. Therapists have seen and heard it all. Your date will not be intimidated by your crazy family.
But now you also understand why your spouse became a therapist- your in-laws. Of course he/she wasn't intimidated by your crazy family!

10. Therapists might seem like intimidating dates, but they aren’t holier-than-thou. Rather, therapists are aware of their own weaknesses, insecurities and shortcomings. You’ll soon realize that your therapist significant other could be just as confused as you are at times.
You will see them at their lowest lows and wonder, "How could anybody pay him/her for help and guidance through problems and difficulties? He/She is barely keeping it together." or "Why does anybody pay a therapist when they are really just normal people?"

11. Therapists are safe and consistent. When other people have crises, they call your date for wisdom, stability and security. Others trust that he/she will be there for them even when they make poor choices or little progress.
Your dates and quiet time could and will be interrupted by those friends that are having crises. If you are struggling, you may feel intimidated to reach out to your own spouse feeling that they already have too many other people to worry about.

12. Therapists are interesting. Instead of small talk about the weather, your date can offer interesting facts and tidbits about human behavior. Even while keeping cases confidential, therapists still have plenty of entertaining stories to share.
The entertaining stories are often surrounding socially taboo topics and will usually make other guests blush or offer a courtesy laugh as they walk away, leaving you and your spouse alone.

13. Therapists at work aren’t necessarily therapists at home. Don’t assume that a therapist is going to act or respond a certain way at home because of what he/she does for a living. Even the best therapists can neglect to make wise decisions during off hours. If you’re paranoid about getting analyzed during every fight, you may be surprised to find your date uninterested in using psychobabble outside the office.
You get to be the stronger one in the relationship and help buoy your partner when they are struggling. You will learn to pick on the smallest emotional or physical cues in your spouse and be ready to jump in at any moment to help him/her.

14. Therapists are available to those who need them. You date will understand that in certain situations, it’s important to always be available. While this may be annoying for therapists’ partners, it’s encouraging to know that your therapist date is prepared to drop everything for you when times get tough.
He/she may often be running late from work due to client's doorknob therapy or most recent crisis because he/she needed to help the client become functional and commit to safety before ending the session.

15. Therapists are emotionally strong. They help clients process heartbreaking stories all the time. If you need a shoulder to cry on, your partner will be capable of sharing the burden.
Therapists appear emotionally strong, but also get burdened at times and need a break. So, have your shoulder ready and your arms open to hold her.




*Please note that some of these may seem insensitive, but I'm just being brutally honest and/or attempting some humor here

7 comments:

mj said...

I saw this post on facebook and I happen to be married to a therapist, who is a wonderful man. But, this is just about the most annoying thing:

"Or they'll just sit their and ask you what you think you should do in various phrasings over and over until you've made the best decision yourself (... or have you?)"

Having learned my whole life to expect a person's opinion when I ask for it to better help me understand/weigh my own thoughts it can be really grating to hear echoes of me when I ask for an opinion. I find myself often saying/thinking "dude, stop being a therapist for a second and be a person!"

On the other hand, one of the greatest positives is that he MUST be committed to the idea that relationships can improve. There are so many people out there that think therapy or even "working on" their marriage is some kind of indictment on them-- it means they failed as a human. My husband is not allowed to have that attitude.

Nihilistic Mystic said...

Everything you have noted applies to any and every relationship, irrespective of the couple's career. Your partner will always bring his/her troubles home and you will have to react accordingly, knowing that you are his/her only real outlet.

If anything, being married to a counselor eases the burden because he/she will empathize and be more patient, given all the nonsense relationships he/she witnesses.

Anonymous said...

You used the wrong "there" in bullet 3.

Anonymous said...

I am married to a cognitive psychologist and I know this will sound harsh but only a dynamic therapist would actually ask "and what do you think about this or how do you feel about this". Cognitive therapists are more oriented to solving the problem using researched techniques. That being said, it can be a challenge either way especially if you expect to win arguments on a regular basis "yes I said win". Why you may ask well if you are also married to one that does research then you will need to have facts and a well laid out argument or so it seems at times. Lol

josie said...

I am married to a counselor and have experienced a lot of these things. The hardest part for me is I get the husband, who is sensitive, sometimes overreactive, defensive (because that is how men in love react), and the women who he helps gets the therapist who is patient, understanding, listen before answering, prince in shining armor. I really have to fight feeling jealous of his female clients.

josie said...

I am married to a counselor and have experienced a lot of these things. The hardest part for me is I get the husband, who is sensitive, sometimes overreactive, defensive (because that is how men in love react), and the women who he helps gets the therapist who is patient, understanding, listen before answering, prince in shining armor. I really have to fight feeling jealous of his female clients.

Anonymous said...

I wish if I could have a support group for all the spouses here...I am also married to a mental health counselor.