The guy I’m dating is fabulous. He’s sweet and kind and amazing with my kids. We have similar interests in movies and television shows, though we both cringe at the other’s music. He’s gastronomically adventurous and is more than willing to try any concoction I produce from my kitchen, from pickled green beans to fried daikon radish. My friends enjoy spending time with him and both my mother and my grandmother have threatened me with disownment if I let him slip between my fingers.
Still, there’s one area where we can’t seem to see eye-to-eye, and it’s a big one.
“Sometimes I think we are literally speaking two different languages,” I told him after an argument that left me dizzy with confusion and him pushing his hands through his hair in frustration.
The stars that aligned to allow us to meet didn’t quite take into consideration our drastically different styles of communication. He’s literal. I’m figurative. He’s logical. I’m emotional. He’s taciturn. I’m verbose. He likes clear, set plans. My life is as fluid as water. He remembers everything. My memory is Swiss cheese.
Both of us realize our differences should help to bolster our partner’s weaknesses and balance the strengths. Yet, time and time again, we end up bickering or arguing over the semantics. Which was why he broached the topic of seeing a therapist to help us find tools to communicate.
I admit it. I hesitated.
I’ve spent more hours than I can count sitting on a couch with my ex while a therapist helped us work through our motivations, feelings, and goals for our relationship. I did “homework” and learned to use dialogue tools like, “When you say this, it makes me feel that.”
At first it was fun learning what made my ex tick. Then, it became frustrating as each tool crumbled under the glaring fact that we were not meant to be married.
So when the guy I’ve been dating for a year and a half suggested we see a therapist together, my reaction was not an enthusiastic, all-in response. After all, if my marriage of a decade wasn’t able to sort out with therapy, what does that say about my dating relationship? A part of me feels that people either click or they don’t and if they don’t, the decision needs to be made as to whether the off beats are deal breakers.
Another part of me sees all the amazing parts of my relationship with my boyfriend and whispers in my ear that if counseling could level off the discordant notes, it might be worth a try.
What do you think? Is coupling counseling only married couples do? Would you go to counseling with your boyfriend?