Date Someone who has Been in Therapy
As much as mental health professionals try to take the stigma out of seeking therapy, I’ve noticed that people still get concerned about letting new romantic partners know that they have a therapist. Even people who have been helped so tremendously in therapy feel shame when sharing this information with new partners.
I understand this shame and how powerful it is. But my opinion is different. I tell my clients and friends alike to date someone who has been in therapy or who is in therapy. In my personal and professional experience, people who have been in therapy are usually more emotionally open and mature, better communicators, and good listeners!
They know they have issues: Everyone has issues. These issues, when not explored, impact relationships. It does not help a relationship to pretend that these issues don’t exist. When someone is in therapy, they actively know how their issues are impacting their mental health, functioning, and relationships, and are actively working through them.
They have started the hard work: Therapy isn’t easy. It takes commitment, trust, and a honest yearning for change. When you date someone who has done this work, it shows you that they are the kind of person willing to work hard for positive change. Since relationships are also hard work, this commitment shows a potential partner that they take self-improvement seriously.
They’ve learned to communicate: People who engage in therapy learn a lot about themselves. Having a consistent mirror to your own issues can help you learn to communicate your needs, desires, fears, and worries with others. Many people practice communication skills in therapy even if that is not the reason they are seeking counseling. This greatly benefits future partners, as communication might be one of the most important aspects of a healthy relationship.
They’ve gained some emotional intelligence: When you meet with a therapist regularly, you are building emotional muscles. You’re learning to name your feelings, work through distressing emotions, and figure out what you need. Being able to translate that information to a partner is so important! I’m sure most people have experienced dating someone with less than ideal emotional intelligence. Imagine what it might be like to date a person with whom you can have a deep emotional connection.
They are less likely to name YOU as the cause of their issues: When someone has not done the hard work of therapy, they are more likely to project their issues, feelings, and frustrations onto you. This can be super confusing and upsetting. I’m sure most people have experienced what this feels like. A person who is in therapy knows the cause of their issues and is less likely to make you the scapegoat.
I hope this exploration makes you:
A) More likely to date someone who has been in therapy
B) More likely to tell a potential partner that you are in therapy