Finding “The One”: Therapy Edition

I made an appointment to see a psychologist on Friday.  It’s the first therapy appointment I’ve made in almost two years.  I spent many years in therapy, so it only takes me about 5-10 minutes to see if a therapist is worth a follow up appointment.  I have my preferences (middle-aged, straightforward, and sarcastic is a huge plus) although I have been known to see someone who’s not necessarily my type when there was “something there”.  I try to remain open minded but I have a few deal breakers (asking me the same question over and over, being overly sympathetic, being emotional, etc.) which I rarely budge on, especially if they’re out of network.

As I revisited the lineup of therapists I’ve seen over the past 17 years, both good and bad, I realized that finding the right therapist is a lot like finding the right partner.  Intake appointments are like first dates, which can be promising or major letdowns, and finding “the one” is like winning the jackpot.  Like most things in life, it’s all about chemistry; do we mesh or do we not?

Here are some of the similarities I’ve found between therapy and dating:

The Name

Are they a doctor? A social worker? An internet certified crazy person?? What letters are after or before their name?  Does that even matter? I’m looking for a connection here, titles don’t matter all that much.

The First Look

Old?  Young?  That guy looks like Jesus…is that bad? Thanks to ZocDoc, much like Tinder, you can get a glimpse of your potential “one” ahead of time. But unlike Tinder, ZocDoc lets you rate these contenders so you can get the tea ahead of time.  Too bad Tinder doesn’t do the same.

Initial Dialogue

Are they going to talk about themselves or ask me questions first? Do they keep referencing other people and comparing me to them?  Ugh, their ex/other patient is nothing like me, I wish they’d stop brining them up.  Wait…are they playing on their phone??? I CAN SEE YOU.

Conversation Skills

They just keep nodding at me, are they even listening?  Do they care?  Do I want them to care?  I need a little banter, especially if I start to get emotional or “overly passionate” (aka crazy).  Let’s get some conversation going and not just me reciting every negative experience of my life.  And stop asking about my mother.

The Goodbye

Do I want to see them again?  Did they get me?  How much did this time cost me?  I said I would see them again, but do I want to?  I need a minute…

Although it’s been a while since I was in the dating world, searching for a therapist was oddly reminiscent of scrolling (I didn’t make it to swiping) through potential matches.  When you think about it, a partner and a therapist can fulfill a lot of the same needs; the need to be heard, the need to be validated, and the need to be calmed when irrationally angry.  And just like with dating, the search can take a lot of trial and error and requires a good amount of energy.

So if this one doesn’t work out for me I need to remember not to give up and that there’s always another therapist in the sea.

Grattitude

*Note: I am aware “Grattitude” is actually spelt “Gratitude” – there’s a sign near the city that has is spelt this way because gratitude is really about your attitude.  See what I did there?  Let’s move on…

As I’m sure you’re aware, this past week was Thanksgiving.  My fiancé, or ‘fiancebabe’ as we like to call each other and he shall hence be known as, spent Wednesday-Saturday (technically Sunday morning) with various combinations of our family members.

While I’m sure a lot of people might think “Jesus. You must have wanted to shoot yourself,” we were thinking “Jesus. We’re REALLY lucky.”

I have an unconventional family that we refer to as our “modern family” and I love every single one of them, no matter how we’re related.  I also have an incredible future family-in-law that I would seriously choose to spend time with.  Not many people can say that.

Instead of raging the town at some bar in the city, we spent pre-Thanksgiving doing what every good Italian family does; eating.  As we went around the table and shared what we’re thankful and grateful for, I reflected on the many blessings in my life.  I went for the sappy road and shared my gratitude for my beloved fiancebabe and my soon-to-be in-laws.  But here are some other things I am (and lot of us should be) grateful for…

  • I’m grateful for the $8.17 organic chicken bone broth (with added organic bone marrow) I bought for lunch because it means I have a stable job and salary that allows me to enjoy such extravagances (once in a while).
  • I’m grateful for the many empty whiskey and wine bottles in my apartment because it means I have good friends who helped us drink them.  And even better friends who brought them.
  • I’m grateful for my insanely sore thighs because it means I am healthy enough to use them, and that I was able to treat myself to a Soul Cycle class.
  • I’m grateful for the medication I take every day because it means I have health insurance, a good doctor, and a country that’s finally recognizing the importance of mental health.
  • I’m grateful for the hangover I had on Saturday because it means I had a great time and that my mom can still out drink me.  It also means my body has a checks and balances system in place that makes me say “I mean it this time – I’m only having one glass of wine tonight.”
  • I’m grateful when my phone blows up from a group text because it means I have friends who want to stay connected to each other.  Plus it means I have a phone and my phone is super helpful, and it entertains me on my way to work.
  • Most of all, I’m grateful for when I feel uncomfortably full, for when I’m so comfortable I don’t want to get out of bed, for when my face hurts from smiling, and when my stomach hurts from laughing because it means that I have a good and plentiful life.

I almost forgot to mention something else I’m grateful for, or should I say someone else – I’m so grateful for my fiancebabe. Because of him I get to share all of the good (and the bad) things with someone who loves me in such a unique and powerful way.  He’s also not too bad on the eyes (wink).

I hope everyone found something to be grateful for this year, and I hope you find even more to be grateful for next year.

Oh, one last thing – I am also grateful for Pumpkin Spice Lattes because they are amazing and they mean it’s fall and I am NOT SORRY ABOUT IT.

How to Suck at Relationships

I’m going to be honest here for a minute – I have not always been the best at relationships.  I know, it’s mind-blowing.  Unless you knew me in college, then you’re probably nodding to yourself right now.  Regardless, I’ve made my fair share of mistakes when it comes to love.  Now that I’ve found the most amazing partner and am happily settled in a healthy relationship, I feel I now have the right to judge other people’s relationship flaws…

I’m totally kidding!! That was a joke…sort of.  I’m not here to judge, no one is perfect and neither is any relationship.  However, I am here to tell you that there are ways to suck at being in one.  I know from experience, either as the perpetrator or as the unfortunate witness, so I’m here to help.  If you do these things, you probably suck at relationships but don’t worry – there’s hope!  Just keep reading.

You micro-analyze

At 3:30pm (s)he took 3 minutes to respond to your text so that means they must be cheating, right? No!  That means they were at work!!  He came home from work and barely said hello, that means he’s mad at me, right?  No!  That means he probably had a shitty day!  Don’t read into every little thing your partner does or you’ll drive yourself (and them) insane.  If you think something is up then ask them.  Don’t become a psycho detective to get to the bottom of it.  Trust me, if you’re dating a guy and he says nothing is wrong, then nothing is wrong.  They’re not like women where “fine” actually means “I’m going to stab you”.  Relax.

You never stop talking about your relationship

Whether it’s positive or negative, it’s still annoying.  You should certainly talk about your relationship to your friends and family, but if you start every sentence with “OMG guess what she/he did”, your friends and family are going to learn to instantly tune out the second you utter that phrase.  If you’re upset about something your partner is doing, try journaling about it or even try a relationship counselor (solo or together).  If you’re really happy with your partner, then tell them.  A lot of people don’t tell each other they love enough so give your friends a break and share the love with your partner.  Besides, you have other important things to talk about with your friends, like last night’s Game of Thrones and Drag Race.

You blowup everyone’s social media feed with your relationship

THIS IS THE WORST. If you have posted more than one picture of you two kissing I guarantee I (and many of your friends) have unfollowed you.  This is also a red flag that your relationship is not all it’s cracked up to be.  A #mcm is certainly cute once in a while, but if you find yourself constantly posting about everything your partner does for you and everything you do together, ask yourself this – who are you trying to convince?  The internet or yourself?

You fight in public

This is just mean to your friends and people commuting on the subway.  It’s awkward for everyone involved and a really quick way to ruin brunch or someone’s birthday party.  If you’re having an issue, either table it for later or leave.  Either way, do it in private or you will become to couple no one invites anywhere.  Then you’ll have no one else to each brunch with and that would just be the worst.

You get too serious too quick

You moved in after three months.  You got engaged after six months.  Slow down crazy!  Sure your relationship seems fine now…but what about in the future?  Have you ever gone through a crisis together?  Or airport security?  These are the moments that determine if a relationship will last.  Enjoy dating each other without trying to achieve milestones because your friends did or you reach a certain age.  Life is a marathon, not a sprint.  Like day drinking.

 
I’m telling you these things because I love you and because they’re preventable.  A relationship should not define who you are as a person, so don’t let it.  I see people disappear into their relationships and I know I’ve done it too.  But instead of letting your crazy get the best of you, try to be awesome at relationships instead!  How do you do that?  You take care of your needs first (more to come on this), you treat your partner with respect, and you put down the Instagram and enjoy your time together.  It’s a simple as that.

The 10 Relationship Commandments

Thou Shalt Share the Remote

When the hour of HBO’s Girls strikes 10pm, thou shalt hand over the remote and play on thy tablet or phone.  When the era of March Madness dawns, thou shall hand over the remote and go on Pinterest.  Or thou shalt journey to ye ole sports bar or thy friend’s quarters.

Thou Shalt Keep it Spicy

Should winter descend upon thy bed, thou shalt get creative with games, costumes, and toys.  Heed this advice – all ye new interests must be consulted and agreed upon before thou doth get it on. And the lovers shall establish a safe word.

Thou Shalt Apologize for What Thou said while Drunk/Hungry/PMSing

While anger and rage make take over body and mind, thou shalt ask forgiveness for calling thy loved one “incompetent” while looking for parking, and for eating all of the cookies.

Remember thy anniversary to prevent the silent treatment.

Should this day (or birthday) be forgotten, thou art in for it.

Thou Shalt Not Lie

Unless questioned “Does this make me look fat?”

Honor Thy Partner

When accompanying thy partner to work events, family parties, and friend’s dinner parties, thou shalt not consume too many tequila shots or tell the tale about when thy partner got arrested for urinating in public.

Thou Shalt “Return the Favor”

Thou knows what I mean, ladies and gents.

Thou Shalt Communicate Effectively

Should one partner piss off another, thou shalt express these feelings of disdain in a respectful, mature manner and not ye bar parking lot one month later at 2am.

Thou Shalt Not Depend On Thy Partner For Everything

Thou must maintain personal relationships outside of the relationship with thy partner.  Should thou not do so, thou risks becoming overly dependent and irritating thy partner which could lead to squabbles (and unnecessary drama which annoys thy friends).

Thou Shalt Love Thyself Before Thou Loves Another

Thou must resolve personal issues as not to destroy thy relationship with baggage. As it is written in the great text of Ru Paul’s Drag Race, “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell you gonna love somebody else? Can I get an amen?”

Amen

15 REAL Phrases That Would Immediately Turn Women On

I stumbled across an article titled “50 Phrases That Would Immediately Turn Women On If Men Would Would Actually Say Them”.  Intrigued, I clicked the link and was presented with a list of overly sexual, sappy, and definitely not safe for work content.  Repulsed and slightly concerned my IT department was going to check my browser history, I closed the article and thought, “those wouldn’t even peak my interest let alone turn me on, I would judge that man.”  One of them involved the words “I don’t want to ruin your manicure” (I’ll let you imagine the rest), which is considerate but not arousing.  So, I decided to make my own list – things that would make women/fellow bro chicks (if we could) go from six to midnight.

“Go relax on the couch, I already started dinner.”

“I passed by the liquor store and picked up a bottle of your favorite wine.  Just kidding, I picked up three.”

“Would you mind getting me a drink? The baby is sound asleep in my arms and I don’t want to wake him.”

“You look so sexy when you yell at the TV.”

“I have 3rd row season tickets to the Giants.”

“You like that beer?  I brewed it myself, I actually make a few different varieties.”

“Miss, would you like this seat (on a crowded subway)?”

“Allow me -” ::opens door:: , ::pulls out chair:: , ::helps put on jacket::

“I have excellent credit, a 401K, and a savings account.”

“You have the cutest scream when a pigeon gets too close to you.”

“I love your friends and family.”

“Why are you putting on makeup?  You always look so pretty when you don’t wear it.”

“Your butt is the perfect balance of toned and squishy.”

“Go on and order the cheeseburger, you don’t need to watch your weight.”

“You don’t need to wear heels, your legs already look amazing.”

See guys – we’re really not that hard to please.

Growing Older…and Loving It

My late twenties are aggressively different from my early twenties.  I’ve said goodbye to the days of waiting on line to get into a bar or wearing heels without having flip flops in my purse, and hello to early morning spin classes and farmer’s markets.  And you know what?  I’m not ashamed of it.  I still enjoy the occasional late night out but I legitimately prefer going to bed before 11:30 (10:30 on weeknights) and replacing my white wine night cap with peach sleepy-time tea. There are certain things I did in years past that just don’t fly now…and I’m ok with that.

Not wearing a coat out to a bar

If it’s cold I’m wearing a goddamn coat. I will hold it and complain that I refuse to pay to check my coat, like an adult.

Dressing provocatively

Although I’m in a serious relationship, I feel fairly confident that my opinion on this would not change – seeing my boobs in a privilege. Not everyone on the street gets that privilege.

Getting too drunk to get myself home

The days of being luggage are long gone. Not only are they inconvenient and dangerous (plus really not appreciated by friends/ S.Os), but the next day hangover is just out of control.*

*Ok so at my company summer party I couldn’t do it…but that was one time. I’m not perfect.

Sleeping past 9:30am on the weekends

The day might as well be over. Plus all the good produce at the farmer’s market is gone by 10:30am.

Staying up past 1:30am ever

The next day is shot. Plus I’ve noticed I physically start to feel like crap and will be super cranky the next day if I stay up past 1:30am. Especially if I eat drunk pizza….I’m like a gremlin.

Buying cheap clothes

A real paycheck means I should buy real boots that don’t have cardboard soles.

Going out Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night

It’s just too much.  One hangover is bad enough, but two or even three in a row?  I can’t even.  I have no shame in staying in on a weekend night.

Dating inappropriate people

Again, I’m in a serious relationship, but he is an incredible partner. He’s smart, funny, caring and he even has a 401k and a Life Insurance policy. Were I single, I would aim for someone with a job, less that 2-3 roommates, and a hobby that was not drinking or video games.

Eating/drinking crap

This isn’t even a vanity thing, I seriously feel like garbage if I don’t eat well.  Weekend binges of beer, wings, and pizza leave me filled with agita and regret.

Even though I’ve said goodbye to my early twenties and am creeping ever closer to my thirties, I feel pretty good.  I’m still in that sweet spot where my disposable income can go to shopping and good whiskey instead of diapers and a mortgage. Not too shabby.