December 18, 2017 at 11:51 PM #1889
Does anyone else have trouble with therapists feeding into the (false) idea that you are doing something wrong and that’s why you’re still single? I’ve gone to therapy off and on over the years for depression and anxiety, and I feel like my perpetual single status is the one area where they just don’t get it.
The thing I loved most about Sara’s book is the message that nothing is wrong with us. The timing just hasn’t been right. I’ve spent so many years thinking I needed to change something about myself in order to find love (Flirt more! Wear more makeup! Go on as many dates as possible! Think positive thoughts! Put myself out there more–whatever that means). It wasn’t until I read her book that I thought, “Huh. Maybe nothing is actually wrong with me.” I feel like I’m in a much more healthy place when it comes to being single. Do I get lonely sometimes? Of course. But it’s not all the time. Could I put a little more effort into creating situations where I’m more likely to meet new people? Sure. But it’s also not like I’m a hermit who never leaves the house. I just feel more balanced now.
Honestly, most of my frustration with being single is less about feeling lonely, and more about the pressures from society–therapists included! I bring this up because I recently started therapy again and I can already feel her feeding into the (false) idea that I’m 36 and single because of something I’m doing wrong or because I have some psychological blockage that’s preventing me from opening up myself to love.
It drives me bonkers! Please tell me you can relate.December 20, 2017 at 12:01 AM #1891
I think I’m right where you are when it comes to being single. I feel mostly fine now. I have never had a therapist, but the message you’re getting is ever-present and everywhere you dare to talk about your being single. It drives me up the wall as well. I think for me it shows up a bit less as I usually just go to events where most of the people there are single and of all ages and because I decided to no longer discuss that aspect of my life with anyone who I don’t know enough to trust and who also happens to be single lol. I don’t know if I’m being too radical, but I refuse to entertain any damaging messages no matter how well intended. There is absolutely nothing wrong with us. There may be parts of ourselves to discover (aren’t there always?), but nothing wrong or missing. I think when we’ve been told so long that everything we do or are is wrong, it’s hard to undo that entirely, but making it our mission to always have our own back no matter what, makes things much easier. I also think that therapy, as helpful as it is, operates in this framework of fixing a person, so it’s no wonder we can feel judged, even by these people who are supposed to know a bit more. Do you feel good with your therapist? Does it make you feel safe to be in their presence?December 20, 2017 at 8:58 AM #1892
Thanks for the reply!
I should mention that it’s early on with this therapist, so it may just not be the right fit. So far I’ve really liked her, but I’ve been dreading bringing up the topic of dating because this has happened before in therapy–everything is going fine and then they discover how long I’ve been single and suddenly the therapist is on a mission to figure me out. The more I say I’m okay with being single, the less they believe me. I can’t tell you how many times a therapist has straight up suggested I flirt more or given me some other trite piece of advice.
I’m like you in that I’ve learned to not bring up the topic with people unless I trust them. I think it just bums me out that there are very few people I can discuss it with. I can’t even find a therapist who gets it. So annoying!
Also I really liked your comment about refusing to entertain damaging messages, no matter how well the intention. Very well said. I think I need to figure out a way to not get so upset about the fact that my married friends (and therapists and society at large) simply do not get it.December 20, 2017 at 11:44 AM #1893
Oh wow! That must have been extremely disappointing for you! I mean that a therapist goes all rest of society on you at your most vulnerable is an atrocity. I see why you don’t want to bring it up. Maybe wait a bit longer, or decide instead if she’s a good fit. We really need to feel safe and compassionately guided by our therapists. Especially for us sensitive people.
I know, there are very few people who truly get it, but it’s not just that. I personally prefer to confide in someone who gets it, but who also doesn’t go into advice mode, simply listens, lets me figure myself out on my own and just supports me. You can imagine how smaller that group of people gets once this little approach is needed. :(
It’s ok to be upset when you’re pressured. Your reaction is very natural, especially because we do want a partner. I don’t think we can expect ourselves to suddenly be fine with people prying and telling us there’s something wrong with us for not being coupled up. Honestly, to this day, I find that very disrespectful and it’s no one’s business how we live our lives. I personally never ask people about their marital status nor personal things like that. People usually just tell you things if you just listen. I guess that’s why it bothers me so much that many people are different in that regard and they don’t see how their “curiosity” can be trespassing.
We’re doing the best we can with what we have and that is enough. I think it’s fine to take both approaches: putting ourselves in situations where we might meet someone and take a break and not look at all. It can be exhausting. We just have to live, nothing more. And living means different things at different times to everyone.January 9, 2018 at 6:13 AM #1898
So sorry to hear about your negative experience with your therapist. I’ve been trough therapy on and off and with different therapists (because of moving) over the last 10 years and not every therapist is a good one, OR good for you. I loved some of the ones I had and was like…umm…nope with one and meh with a couple. It makes a HUGE difference. The one I’ve seen most recently was a Perpetually single woman herself until her 40s so she kinda gets that part of me, even though she has told me that she didn’t think much of her husband when she first met him but agreed to go on a second date and eventually they hit it off. I don’t know if it was to advise me to keep my options open or just general FYI. But I couldn’t imagine how it would feel if she told me it was straight up something I did or didn’t do. But to have your therapist say that. Sure, they are supposed to look at your behaviors and see if there’s something you’re subconsciously doing to self-sabotage yourself, but I don’t think that should come at the cost of empathizing. Again, I’m really sorry you had to go through that, especially somewhere and with someone you’re supposed to feel safe.
I listened to Sara’s book to “reread it” and man, it’s still great and so validating and empowering. I love all the positive messages she gives as well as the counterpoints to all the garbage.
Angel, I love that you’re no longer tolerating BS from people and I do believe we all need to do that, for our own sanity and contentment. If we are already dealing with the negative feelings around the issue of being single, we don’t need the added negative feelings from others. And like you, I only try to confide in people who will empathize. Unfortunately, as you said, they are few and far between.
Hugs to you both!
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