Therapy Won’t Make You a Better Person.
Your therapist is positioned to take your side — that’s both a good and bad thing.
Yesterday, I stumbled upon a tweet that sadly reminds me of numerous avid therapy-goers I’ve met in real life:
The woman described in this tweet appears to be taking a deeply adversarial approach to dating — one I’ve heard endorsed by many straight women who attend therapy for their own betterment and empowerment. She apparently sees her current boyfriend as a future enemy in the making, not a partner she can express concerns to and collaborate with to solve problems.
Unfortunately, since heterosexual dating norms teach women to obscure their desires and expect their partners to mind-read, doing something “wrong” in this woman’s eyes could be anything from acts of violent abuse, to simply not knowing her favorite flower. Women are taught that asking directly for what they want is wrong. But they’ve also been told that in order to escape sexism, they need to be unflinchingly confident and unattached to men, who won’t ever understand them and can never be trusted. This leads to a lot of self-defeating behavior loops in straight relationships.
A woman faking sexual satisfaction without ever telling her partner how she likes to be touched (and later mocking him for not knowing something he has never been told) is perhaps the most stereotypical example of this dynamic in practice. As a young person, I used to think it was just a cliched media trope — but then over the years, I met dozens of women who shared with me that they had faked orgasms and never communicated their sexual desires with their partners. When women shared this kind of information with me, they usually sounded smug, or almost triumphant. It was as if by concealing information about their own wants and needs, they believed they’d gotten the upper hand over their partner.
As an Autistic gay man who has always been bluntly straightforward when I desire someone, this phenomenon always baffled me. Why were some women proud of having played themselves? Why are straight men, on the flip side, proud of never having their deepest sorrows known either?