I always thought couples therapy was a great idea. Talking about feelings, needs, the future, compromises with another person present who could add insight and might see things we don’t see. Sounds like it would make for a healthier relationship and might help us avoid problems.
Therapy on my own has been great for me. I’ve had two brilliant therapists in my life, and they’ve done so much good. I still think about things they’ve said, and I’m a better person with more skills, thanks to their care.
But finding a good therapist is difficult to begin with–finding a good therapist for two people sounds improbable. What are the odds of finding someone who would be good for both of us? And we’re both very smart. A therapist should be as smart as you are. Right? But my spouse and I are smart in different ways.
A fear I have is that the therapist would be unfair and strongly favor someone. A therapist is a person with prejudices like anyone, and pet theories. So going to couples therapy, there’s a risk that I’d be told I’m selfish and bad in every way–I hope not. It depends on how smart the couples therapist is, how similar they are to me vs the other, what bad experiences they’ve had.
You’d hope a couples therapist would be brilliant about relationships and not subject to huge blind spots, manipulation, or fuckery. But who knows.
This meme made me laugh–so sneaky, the idea of hiring someone to say your partner is wrong, wrong, wrong. What a relief that might be, if a voice of authority told my spouse that long-held conflicts were bullshit because I was obviously right. Wow–how amazing would that be?
Of course I don’t need that. I have deep respect for my spouse, and I don’t need to be right. Long ago some of our differences hurt me. I found a few of his opinions offensive, and a few of his deep beliefs felt harmful.
It’s not like that anymore. Over the years, we’ve smoothed over the painful parts. We’ve met somewhere in the middle and learned a couple topics to avoid. We get along great in almost every way. Those few issues that are still too painful, I’m happy to avoid.
Couples therapy sounds helpful in an ideal world. If therapy was cheap or free, and good therapists were abundant. If couples therapy was the norm, not a last ditch effort to heal things when they’re probably too far gone.
Sounds fun, if done right. But I have the idea that most people are emotionally clueless. That’s why our culture is dysfunctional in so many ways. Most relationships might be based on unhealthy patterns or deceptions that couples therapy would uncover.
Being more healthy isn’t the goal of most relationships! Many relationships seem like they’re about staying together for housing reasons, convenience, weird trades of income and childcare that made sense years ago but not anymore.
If people were really honest with themselves, relationships would fall apart. Therapy is about honesty, isn’t it? Lying to a therapist defeats the whole purpose.
When I get into trouble in relationships, it’s usually when I believe someone’s words too much. My autism has a naivety. I maintain deep self-awareness and honesty. Over the years I’ve learned the most people don’t do that. They seem to be lying to themselves and one another almost constantly.
How can you tell an allistic is lying? Their mouth is moving. Sad joke, funny because it’s true.