Q: Hey Angry, what’s it like to date another therapist?
A: My answer is long. And like usual, a bit all over the place. So grab a beverage.
Yes, I’ve dated women on their self betterment journeys but never an official therapist. This is the first one.
But real quick. I have had sexual fantasies about my therapists.
You have too. Don’t lie.
Part of the fantasy is the whole hot for teacher thing. The thick boundary drawn with paint that should not be crossed. We want what we are not allowed to have. The other part is the false assumption that therapists have perfect lives and relationships. We want to experience what a “perfect” partner feels like. But of course, that doesn’t exist. There is no such thing as a perfect partner. Therapists are real people. They have real issues like everyone else. And we want to pull the curtain back to see if it’s true. There’s a part of us that wants to prove therapists are just as fucked up as we are. We want to expose them. And so there’s that deep curiosity. And the final piece. Therapists are trained to create a safe space and if you haven’t had one in a while or ever, that space can create a bond that can easily be mistaken for attraction.
The therapist / client relationship is real. There is trust, vulnerability, and a closeness that can turn into fantasy. Which is not real.
But all of this fades when you date a therapist. Because when you date someone, you don’t see what they do. You see who they are. The taboo line is no longer there. Love makes both of you students. There is no teacher. People are just people. So I am not dating a therapist. I am dating a real person who sees clients for a living. As do I.
That being said, there is a double edged sword when you’re dating a therapist. Yes, you are dating someone who has the ability to process, look inward, own their own stuff, practice self awareness, mindfulness, and create a safe space — have capacity. Which, by the way, I think is the new hot.
But when you date a therapist, the universe hands you a mirror.
Vanessa’s answer to a friend at a wedding last weekend when someone asked her what it’s like to date a therapist,
You can’t hide.
This is the double edged sword. You get someone with tools but those tools also cause you to show yourself. You are forced to look at things you may not have in other relationships because they could not see them. Or they didn’t challenge you in this way. Not in a finger pointing way. In a just being way, a knowing that many don’t have. Partly from the eighty grand dropped on a Masters and thousands of practicum hours. Learning how to see what’s underneath. But also partly from their own healing. One usually becomes a therapist after going through their own death and rebirth (like I did). And finds passion to help others after coming out the other side. Of course the other side never ends because life is a continuous loop of other sides, each making us better versions of ourselves as we grow and evolve.
Friends joke about how Vanessa and I probably sit around all day talking about our feelings. I admit some of this is true. We process more than the average couple I’m sure. It’s because we speak the same language. We’ve learned theories and shit. Our passions overlap. We are seekers and believe in the process.
It’s no different than two personal trainers dating. They talk a lot about training programs, movement, and diet. Right? But hopefully that’s not all they talk about. They have other interests. As therapy talk isn’t our only interest. I like motorcycles. She likes Cheetos. But I’m sure it’s a big piece of their daily dialogue and they live it as well.
Warning: This is where I start bird walking.
So last night, we randomly had an interesting conversation about the love addict / love advoidant dance. The powerful pull it has over so many. It opened a can. Made me think about my own love journey. Flashed my experiences with all the women I have loved, from the first time I felt a woman’s breast in the ocean when I was twelve to this beautiful soul I am dating today at age forty five. I flashed to my marriage. All the three year deals. The long distance one. The one month thing. All of them. Memories came crumbling out like I opened an overfilled closet. How I behaved. Drifted. My distorted defintions of love and intimacy. My predator / prey theory. Addiction runs in my family. My dad’s a recovering alcoholic. My grandfather was an alcoholic. I never had a problem with alcohol or drugs. But women and love. That’s another story.
I’m a love addict. Well, a recovering one. I show all the signs. I can relate to “The Truth” by Neil Strauss, a painfully raw honest account of sex and love addiction which I am currently reading. This may be why all this is on the front of my brain today and why I decided to answer your question.
And maybe the universe presented Vanessa into my life to give me some love braces ← a topic of a podcast I go deeper on (coming out in a few weeks) so that I can have a new experience that washes old defintions of love and intimacy. So that I can create new ones. So that I can grow. Explore. Discover. No longer hide. And maybe then, I can experience the kind of love I only write about.
One of my greatest revelations of this year is that I haven’t experienced true adult intimacy. It blew my mind. I mean I’m a therapist for God’s sake. And I’ve been in nothing but relationships. One of them had to have been true adult intimacy. Nope. I think because I’ve never been in anything abusive, I feel like I had to have experienced healthy adult intimacy. But that’s not the case. You can be in something that’s not abusive but still not experience true intimacy. And I know there’s different levels and definitions of intimacy. I’m referring to a connection that’s deeper than skin and coming from a heathly place, not the powerful riptide that pulls at us from past wounds that feel like love and “the one”. That’s not intimacy. That’s probably dysfunction.
I believe people fall into our lives for a reason. It’s kind of ironic I collided with another therapist at this point in my life. When I decided to shake my love Etch-A-Sketch and start all over with a blank canvas. Well, as much as I can. We can’t erase our past and how we are wired. But we can give ourselves new experiences which shift beliefs, give us new lenses, what we decide to put weight on, and of course create new definitions.
What’s it like to date another therapist?
Well, I can only tell you what it’s like to date this one.
It’s exhilarating. Terrifying. Sexy. Hot. Comforting. New. Learning. Lots of learning. Redefining. Treatment, in a good way. It’s creating a space for me to look at myself. And in that way, it’s challenging but also exciting. It’s refreshing. It’s calm. It’s peeling layers. It’s unexpected.
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