Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Why It's So Hard To Get A Date Out Of Your Husband: A Developing Theory

OK, this might seem a bit convoluted but stick with me.

Today I was meeting with one of my co-workers when I came up with this theory. I was trying to figure out what kept me procrastinating on filling out some forms; forms that once processed would allow me to be an official Province of Manitoba therapist for working with victims of violent crime. As I was reflecting I realized that part of why I wasn't applying for it had nothing to do with the obvious reasons that had been in my head (I'm so busy, it's such a pain). My theory is that I wasn't applying for it because I was worried about if I could do it. In essence then I was procrastinating because of how I feel about myself as a counselor, specifically I was worried about how I would do counselling victims of violent crime (a type of client I have not had experience with yet). In short, I procrastinated because I was afraid. Afraid of not knowing what to do, afraid of going out of my comfort zone, and possibly afraid of failure.

This made me think, where I seen this kind of thing before? Aha, husbands in therapy who procrastinate on going on dates with their wives! Often I have given the task of going out on a date to a husband only to see him procrastinate on it for weeks or even months. When I inquire as to what's stopped him from doing it there are always the obvious answers (time, finances, forgot). For some these are the real reasons, but I wonder if there is something even less obvious: a real fear of failure and fear of rejection mixed with performance anxiety. When a marriage is stale or hurting, it takes huge effort to initiate something like a date. At least for men, most women (even the really angry ones) seem open to going on a date, no matter how bad things are. But for men, well, many struggle. They feel intense pressure to perform - to be romantic and to initiate something. So many resist. In therapy they commit and say it's a good idea but then their fear holds them back. This dissapoints and angers their wives even more who got their hopes up. The man knows he's dissapointed his wife and the distance between them grows . . .

Perhaps if the women could empathize and undestand their husband's fear, they could do things to make the action of dating easier for there men (via not putting on the pressure and offering acceptance/reassurance). Or perhaps it's the language of dating itself shouldn't be used as so many men hear pressure in it. But I think that if a man can honestly name and face his fears, he has a better chance at following through and getting back into dating his mate. So what do you think? Does my theory hold any water? Feel free to critique, add to it, or throw your own out there.

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