Our towels match, but not our degrees

I’ve written before about the ongoing saga of my therapist break up. This time, we’re finished for good. After much back-and-forth, I got to the root of why I was feeling less than groovy about things. Basically, I started therapy last fall when I was constantly feeling like the other shoe was gonna drop any minute. I never felt relaxed about work, the fiance’, friendships, breakfast, anything. I needed a place to vent out all that stress before I exploded and was glad to find someone who seemed willing to listen and was on my side.

But after a few months, something didn’t feel right. My therapist seemed pretty sure I needed to leave the fiance’- he was having a pretty tough time of it and I admittedly was having a hard time dealing with his tough time myself. Her suggestion? Tell him to move out and wait for him to get “well”. Which would be all well and good if I didn’t make it pretty clear all along that I am old fashioned when it comes to things like commitment. I know the fiance’ would never leave me just because I hit a rough patch, and I sure as hell wasn’t going to do the same if I could find a way to deal with it without losing my mind.

But then came the final straw. She actually said,”I’m sure there are plenty of lawyers out there looking for someone great like you.” Because I went to law school. Because the fiance’ is a chef and apparently doesn’t fit her idea of the kind of “educated” type someone who went to law school should marry. Because apparently in her mind lawyers date lawyers, forever and ever, amen.

And there it was. Class, in all its shiny glory. I have read the statistics and studies. I know that relationships are easier when both the participants come from similar backgrounds- religious, money, family, education, etc. But I’ve never been a big fan of easy. Nor have I ever been a big fan of deciding how intelligent someone is based on the string of academic letters after their name. And if she hadn’t figured that much out about me in four months of weekly appointments, she never would. I ended it- a short thank you note for her time and an explanation of our philosophical differences did the trick.

On our first real date, the fiance’ and I laid on a blanket in the park until almost five a.m. talking about great books we had read. I picked up two of his recommendations and read them immediately. And they were good. Really good. He had me hooked. Nothing is a better pick up line for a book nerd than, “have you read…?”. Then we went out to dinner, where he picked out the best wine and seafood based only on a very bad description of things I had liked before. Then I rode in his car on our next date and he introduced me to amazing obscure reggae artists and explained the meaning of every bit of lingo and the history behind it.

You see, what my therapist apparently couldn’t imagine is that there’s learning outside of school. That there’s art in food and music. Or that, maybe I was looking for a partner who could do more than draft my will and review my lease clauses. Because we already have one law school type in the family, thankyouverymuch.

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12 Comments

Filed under Daily Life, Relationships, Soul Searching

12 responses to “Our towels match, but not our degrees

  1. Love this! I am in a similar situation with my fiance. He is a mechanic by trade, and I am a lawyer. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE thought we were a wrong match simply because of the difference in education. I find it insulting to both of us.

    Thanks for finding my blog, I’m excited to delve into your archives.

  2. I think this is a really beautifully written post. Part of this issue has to do with gender, I think. I have only a bachelor’s degree and work near the bottom of the totem pole at a nonprofit, while my fiance has an MBA and works as a business consultant. And nobody suggests that he leave me for a woman who is at his “level” in terms of career and education. But if the situation were reversed, they might.

    Anyway, I’m glad you’re breaking up with that therapist. It sounds to me like you need someone with a slightly broader perspective.

  3. I can’t believe your therapist’s advice! That’s scary. I went to a therapist and she pretty much gave me no advice at all; she just helped me to find my own answers to my problems. She helped me to see that if I give myself time, I will figure things out for myself.

    No one else can tell you what you want or what’s best for you, no matter how well they think they know you. I love my husband because he lets me just be who I am and doesn’t claim to know me better than I know myself.

  4. You are definitely breaking up with the right person.

  5. Good for you for getting out of that one. I hate how difficult it can be to find a good therapist though!

    p.s. I have one – but I have had very bad ones in the past

  6. Dear Eleanor’s trousers,

    I am going to call you that, because I find it hilarious, regardless of what your name may be. So there.

    Your therapist needs some therapy. I have known many lawyers in my 11 years of being a legal secretary. Some are married to other lawyers. My lawyer brother is marrying a lawyer woman. But many, many others are not, and they are still happy.

    As someone with learning disabilities and only an associate’s degree, I will be so bold as to say I would get along better with a lawyer than with a … sanitation engineer, despite our vast difference in formal education.

    I would be interested in knowing if your former therapist would have made her statement had your fiance not been unwell. I would also like to point out that many a lawyer has burnt out and quit the legal profession. And lastly, I would like to call you Eleanor’s trousers just one more time, because the idea of writing a comment to someone’s pants amuses me oh so much.

    Eleanor’s Trousers: My pants and I can’t stop laughing. 🙂

  7. Wow. I can’t believe a therapist told you to leave your fiance because he was going through a rough patch. Huh. Good choice on who you dumped. Anyway, as a fellow attorney, I really doubt I would enjoy marrying another attorney. I much prefer my goofy scientist who rather be outdoors than in a tall building wearing a grey suit.

    And I concur that this was a wonderfully written piece.

    Eleanor: In her defense his “rough patch” is diagnosed bipolar disorder and she did share the statistics on the likelihood of bipolar people staying med compliant, etc. Nonetheless. If he had cancer, she wouldn’t ask me to leave him (I hope). Thank you for the lovely compliment, as well.

  8. Fiance’ sounds like he is perfect for you, I approve. And a chef? Wow, you are one lucky duck.

  9. thegirlfromtheghetto

    I would never give up on a man who could cook. And what does a therapist now? Most of them are nutty themselves …

  10. Lina

    Most therapists have therapists because that’s what they believe in, and like thegirlfromtheghetto said, they are nutty, from all the human mind studies they have done… Random thought, but yeah.

    Opposites don’t always attract, but neither do like minds. I was once engaged to a writer until the day he told me I should quit writing if I wasn’t ready to try to publish… Oh, yes he did go there!

    Terrific post! We never stop learning, even after leaving school, unless we choose to. Plus, with your fiance, he’ll know that your confident in the relatioship and be there for him, and will be less likely to go off his meds and risk losing that

  11. I was a social worker prior to being an accountant and my husband is a therapist- we both agree that there a lot of people in the mental health field using their careers to work through their own issues.

    We had to meet with a social worker prior to my husband’s kidney transplant, and the woman asked us why we got married so soon before the transplant. She also asked me if I regreted getting a degree in social work (I was still working in social work at the time and did regret it, but I hadn’t brought it up and it was none of her business.) My husband basically started answering my questions for me because he detected the daggers from my eyes.

    Anyway, good for you for taking matters into your own hands and making the break. You pay, you are the boss.

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