Let’s be honest for a minute here, we all have a type. While some of us want to date a doctor or a lawyer for their intelligence, others have a thing for uniforms and would love to date a soldier, firefighter, or nurse. The thought of dating a therapist, on the other hand, gives everyone mixed feelings. After all, here is a person whose job is to figure out how one functions and to be emotionally invested and available for their clients. It’s not surprising that one feels vulnerable as well as intrigued at the same time about how therapists might help people.
We often forget that the person who spends all day long dissecting the human mind and behavior is, at the end of the day, a human being too. They have their own sets of trials and tribulations and traumas too. They are attuned to so much hardship in other people’s lives that it affects them too, and most therapists have their own therapist for that very reason. Many of them are still working on themselves, just like you. Remember, some therapists even date other therapists to navigate their personal and professional growth.
So, if a therapist has asked you out or if you’d like to date one, you might be wondering, “Are psychologists good partners?” Consultant psychologist Jaseena Backer (MS Psychology), who is a gender and relationship management expert, gives her professional opinion on a few things to know before entering the dating world of therapists.
What Is It Like Dating A Therapist?
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The thought of dating a psychologist can be intimidating for a lot of people. Some people fear having their every move and their body language scrutinized and everything they do be judged. Others assume that a therapist is always put together, processing feelings efficiently. And some think to date a therapist is a way to solve all their life problems. None of these things are entirely true.
“One of the things to know before dating a counselor is that they don’t have all the answers,” Jaseena explains. She adds, “You might feel that one of the benefits of loving a therapist is you get a manual for life and romantic relationships, but that is not the case. No one is perfect and this applies to your therapist partner as well.” Dating as a therapist, your partner might be better equipped than others to help you process emotions and might take things slow for the good of both. But no one else apart from you can fix your life. You may hire your own therapist to help you in this process, but that doesn’t mean you treat your partner as one. You ought to genuinely care about them as a real person and not some idealized version of them.
If you have decided to start a relationship with a therapist, then it makes sense to get ready to talk. Communication is important in a relationship and when you are with a therapist, there is going to be a lot of it. They are very detail-oriented and good listeners. You might spend two hours talking about something to get to the root of the issue and to understand the pattern of your and their behavior. And for someone who is not accustomed to this, this intense experience can be one of the struggles.
One might wonder, are psychologists good partners? No one is perfect and we all have our flaws. But if you want a partner who will try to find a better way to make the relationship work even in a difficult situation, then there is no one better than them. One of the major benefits of being with a therapist is when in a relationship, they will do their best to make it work even when things seem tricky because they understand human behavior. They do what they preach in their own lives as well.
But does it mean that if you are dating therapists, your relationship will be a bed of roses? Most likely not. Every relationship has its drawbacks and charms; a relationship with a therapist is no different. Here are some pros and cons you should consider.
7 Pros Of Dating A Therapist
A therapist, whether in training or one who’s practicing, keeps evolving their life hacks in interaction with other therapists. They have developed skills in their profession that allows them to read an unhealthy situation as well as understand a person better. “When you are dating a therapist, you are going to feel understood,” Jaseena says. “They understand the importance of communication and they will bring it along to keep the relationship strong and happy.”
A therapist has a lot to offer, as you will soon find out. Here are some things to appreciate when you start to date a therapist. However, do remember that their professional and personal lives are two distinct places they oscillate between.
1. They are empathetic in romantic relationships
You can’t really be a therapist without having high emotional intelligence. And you cannot have a high EQ without being empathetic. Therapists can put themselves in your shoes and understand your feelings and emotions while also being mindful of self-care. “When you are dating a therapist, there will be a lot of communication in your relationship. The good, the bad – everything will be talked about. Being great listeners, they will pay attention to all that you have to say, without scoffing at your feelings or judging you,” explains Jaseena.
Therapists date deliberately and are mindful in their relationships, especially during stressful situations. You will not be judged for being vulnerable. They will make you feel safe. It can be heartbreaking when you open yourself up to someone and they disregard you or, worse, humiliate you for your vulnerability or prioritize themselves over your stress. This will not be one of the struggles of dating a counselor.
2. Benefits of dating a therapist: Lots of patience
With great listening skills, comes great patience. Doesn’t come as a surprise now, does it? Therapists are trained to be patient and maintain a professional persona. It is a very important part of being a good therapist, and this quality will be predominant while dating them. They are willing to put effort into the relationship. They will work through problems step by step and keep their calm. They will try to resolve a conflict in a way that works and where no one’s mental health is badly affected, including their own.
If you like drama, then on the flip side, this patience means your fights might not be as satisfying as you like them to be. No yelling or throwing dishes because they can be weirdly calm. A therapist will calmly listen to you while you shout yourself hoarse, get to the bottom of your anger, and then try to resolve the underlying issue at the same time. Frustrating? Yes. Also, very healthy. But remember, in certain situations, they also know not to indulge in too much drama and might walk out if the relationship is no longer healthy for them or if your wavelengths don’t match.
3. You will always get good support and advice
When you are in a relationship with a therapist, you will definitely get a lot of emotional support and a morale boost when you need it. Whether you are dating a therapist online through dating apps or married to one, they will always take care of your emotional needs and be there for you.
Therapists are trained in human psychology. They have an intricate knowledge of how the human brain works. So whatever your problems are, whether it’s a friend who constantly seems to be putting you down or a family member with whom you are perennially waging a war, they will be on your side. They will help you get to the bottom of the problem and also give you solutions to sort out your issues. However, your partner is not your therapist. Seek their support but remember there are many programs and support groups available out there for more specialized help.
4. They understand how you function
To some people, this can come off as one of the dating therapist cons. When you are dating a therapist, chances are they understand you and your loved ones really well. This might make some people feel vulnerable and exposed. After all, these experts are trained to read the little cues and body language signs that one cannot hide.
However, there is a huge positive to this. Jaseena says, “If you have a therapist date, then they will know what your triggers are and how to work around them. A therapist is more likely to understand the source of your emotions and will have the patience to deal with them.” They will know how to make you feel better. When you are in a dark place mentally, they will be able to penetrate that darkness and get you out of it, or at least know how to sit with you in the dark. Dating as a therapist can be like this sometimes.
5. They really want to please you
Are psychologists good partners? Let’s answer it this way: An interesting thing about being with a therapist is if they say they love you, they mean it. A therapist is a person who knows who they are and what they want in a relationship and life. If they’re committed to a mutually healthy relationship, they are committed to taking the relationship’s emotional weight.
A pro tip to date a therapist is knowing their feelings are sincere for you and that you are not a subject for their experiments. Your therapist partner understands you at a very deep level and wants to love and please you. That is something worth cherishing, is it not?
6. Dating a therapist means fun conversations
One thing is guaranteed. The conversations will never be boring. A therapist worth their salt will have the skill to steer the conversations into deeper waters. Also, they will ask all the right questions to get to know you better.
When you study to become a psychologist, you are taught to make a person talk (at their own pace). Needless to say, you are bound to have some really good conversations, even for hours at a time. If you are a sapiosexual and believe in spending quality time together and falling in love at first conversation instead of first sight, then dating a therapist is bound to get you weak in your knees. They are most likely your perfect partner. Therapists date more mindfully and so the conversations they have are refreshing as well.
7. You can be your true self
We all know that if you are unable to trust your partner, the relationship will collapse after a while. A couple might trust each other not to stray, but is this really the limited definition of ‘trust’? Too often we see couples who are very loyal to each other unable to be themselves in their relationships. A sound relationship gives a person a safe space to be vulnerable and when you are dating a therapist, this security is ensured.
There is very little that surprises a therapist. After all, they deal with a wide range of clients and psychological concerns. “A therapist’s job entails that they provide a safe environment for their client to open up,” says Jaseena. “They can keep secrets without being judgmental. Things spoken in confidence will always remain in confidence.” They will encourage you to be yourself, love yourself, and love you for who you are.
All that said, life with a therapist is not always sunny. Issues might crop up from time to time as they do in every relationship. Here are some dating therapist cons you should keep in mind as well.
Related Reading: Secure Relationships – What Are They And What Do They Look Like?
3 Cons Of Dating A Therapist
Dating a therapist, or anyone for that matter, is a double-edged sword. Every relationship has its own set of problems. There is an image that comes to our minds when we think of a therapist. The image is of a person who understands you and is able to connect with you on a deep level. And it is true to a great extent, but the reality might be a little different.
As Jaseena so aptly puts it, “The communication, attention, compassion, and understanding feel good initially but going further, the probing and over-analyzing can make the partner feel that they are losing their emotional freedom.” Here are some reasons that a relationship with a therapist could feel like an uphill climb.
1. They are going to be busy
And that is an understatement. With more and more people becoming aware of mental health issues and the importance of psychological well-being in general, the demand for a therapist has increased. So be prepared for a hectic job schedule. Or waiting for them for a long time on a dinner date because they had to take on an emergency session with a client.
2. They might try to psychoanalyze you
It is very difficult to not bring the work back home. When you are doing something for eight hours in your day (that’s one-third of your life), it becomes a part of your personality. It’s the same when you are dating a therapist. “One of the struggles of dating a therapist, especially in the sub-specialty of a family therapist, is that they are unable to take their therapist hat off when they are off work,” shares Jaseena. “Your therapist partner may try to psychoanalyze you from time to time and give advice as to how to handle your emotions. They will also expect you to constantly analyze yourself and behave accordingly.”
One of the important tips is to remember your boundaries and reinforce them. You are their partner, not a client (as a therapist dating a client is unethical, of course). No matter how difficult it is for your partner to leave work at the office, it is beneficial for your relationship that they maintain a work-life balance.
3. People will approach them for guidance all the time
The moment you tell your friends and family that you are dating a therapist, chances are some of them will try to approach your partner in the hopes of getting a little bit of counseling every now and then. Be it getting them to guess their personality type or asking if their husband is a narcissist or not. No matter the reason, they are bound to be approached by people.
If you are dating a therapist online, your partner’s other matches are going to talk to them even after you both have become exclusive. They, like others, will try to reach out to your partner for advice on their issues, their love life, psychological health, and other relationships. And if you are a person who gets jealous easily, this can become a huge issue.
- The thought of dating a psychologist can be intimidating for a lot of people
- Some of the pros of being with a therapist are that they are empathetic and patient. They’ll be a good support system and would allow you to be your true self
- A few cons can be that they would be pretty busy, people would approach them all the time for guidance, and they might analyze you more than usual
Whether you are dating a therapist online or in person, don’t enter the relationship if you are insecure. You can have a healthy and fulfilling relationship with a therapist, but if you are insecure, then you might not be able to see the good aspects of your dynamic. And this can have a very damaging effect.
Another important aspect to remember is that you are not in a ‘therapist dating a client’ situation. While your partner’s professional responsibility is that of a therapist, in their personal lives, at their core and within the relationship, they are simply another human being seeking love and respect, just like anyone else.
When you date a therapist, the universe hands you a mirror. There will be days when you don’t like what you see and then again, there will be days you will be stopped dead in your tracks, marveling at the beauty that is your relationship. A piece of good advice for dating a therapist is to love yourself and be confident, and I assure you, your relationship with your therapist partner will be an adventure of a lifetime.
This article was updated in July 2023.