Friends have suggested I go to a trained therapist to work out problems that took root in early childhood and became reinforced throughout my 28 years of life. These include but are not limited to: my difficulty regulating my emotions, verbalizing my feelings, and my tendency to pull away as soon as a relationship starts to get serious. What my friends don’t seem to understand is that I can get free therapy from someone who has sex with me and is basically on call 24/7. It’s a very good deal.
Some people will tell you that successful relationships are about equality and balance, about two people being there for each other in equal measure. Those people must not know how beautiful it is to find a therapist girlfriend — someone who will not only carry the weight of managing their emotional problems, but yours as well. To me, that’s truly the most loving relationship two people can find.
Of course the downside to a therapist girlfriend is she can’t write prescriptions for antidepressants or anxiety medication. But that’s what I have alcohol for!
Finding a good therapist is hard, and sometimes it involves trial and error. What’s really disappointing is when you’re going through the involved process of interviewing a woman for the position, and she refuses to step up to the plate. I’m not here to offer up my feelings in first-date conversation; I’m here to have them surgically extracted from me. Being a good therapist girlfriend means she should always be on the lookout for ways to make the conversation about me. This is why I changed the subject to my debilitating depression right when she was in the middle of communicating her feelings about how I “stood her up” at her “parents’ house” to “meet them.” (My roommate’s dog was wearing a shoe as a hat and we needed to get a good record of it, which I had even sent her so she knew.)
Sometimes it helps to have a therapist girlfriend who goes to therapy herself. This ensures that you’ll be less burdened with her problems and can benefit you in unexpected ways. Usually girlfriends develop greater emotional management and communication skills while in therapy. As they build these emotional muscles, they are able to take on even more emotional labor in your mutual relationship, so that you don’t need to do pesky things like ask her how her day was.
It can be very confusing for some women when I say I’m looking for something serious and committed, and they don’t seem to realize right away that I’m referring to codependency. I will be the most loyal, loving boyfriend if only you surrender your personal well-being.
I understand that my therapist girlfriend — who grew up in a society that devalues and is often violent toward women — may struggle with depression, anxiety, PTSD, or any number of her own mental health issues. However, I expect her to maintain a level of professionalism in her position so that these issues do not negatively affect her actions toward me or disrupt my treatment process.
What would be great is the kind of therapist-patient relationship where she also does all the dishes and date-planning — and reminds me when my mother’s birthday is coming up.