Why not going to therapy is the new deciding factor in dating

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While therapy is likely to help if your head is in the shed, it doesn’t automatically make you a better sex, date, or life partner. Many years ago I was fortunate enough to go to therapy for my issues, which admittedly affected my relationships and generally made me an unbearable person. But I don’t think it has anything to do with making me a better partner.

People often act like I’ve been in therapy” translates to I’m amazing in bed” or I possess magical powers of self-awareness and intelligence. But despite 10 rounds of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), I still have baggage. I still lose my credit card once a week and am completely unable to clean up after myself. The therapy certainly didn’t magic me into flawless woman material.

And there is, of course, a class issue at play too. The therapy is notoriously hard to come by unless you have the cash to spit and go private, with NHS waiting lists for CBT (the most common type of therapy) currently standing at one year old. More, therapy does not work for everyone, neither mindfulness nor medication. Only people who have gone through therapy can mean that you are missing out on a great relationship with someone who would love to work on their health (and that, in itself, is a green flag), but just can’t.

Jessica Alderson, a dating expert at so in sync, agrees that therapy is not the be-all and end-all of personal development. Although it may indicate that a person is willing to work to improve” and can therefore also be willing to put the work into your relationships,” there are many other ways people can develop that emotional intelligence and understanding that we all seek in a partner. You don’t need therapy to do personal work. Some might prefer to do some soul-searching and read self-help books, while others might prefer to take self-help courses,” she says. Just because a person hasn’t gone to therapy doesn’t mean they haven’t done their personal work some other way.

If anything, this new dating deal breaker should signal that people are incredibly tired of the crap from their partners. Whether it’s therapy or not, we should be working towards a new normal where men and women deal with their own issues and develop avenues, hobbies and friendships they can turn to, instead of to use their partners as advisers. Of course, you should talk to your partner about your feelings and your problems, but that’s not all a relationship should be.

In the meantime, dating exclusively people who have gone through therapy probably isn’t a surefire solution. It might sound like a great way to leave your bags at the door, but therapy isn’t exactly a silver bullet — it’s expensive, complicated, and doesn’t always work for everyone. It also takes the empathy out of dating and getting to know someone, which is a quick way to break up. Everyone has things to work on, therapy or no therapy. Instead of avoiding people who haven’t had the chance to attend counseling sessions, just associate with hot people you want to get to know. Set your boundaries if you start to feel like their advisor. And keep the social media psychology out of it.

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