I know why they dumped you.
This week we have been talking about advice. The topic came up after reading the myriad questions and answers posted on relationship chat groups. They read like soap operas with topics ranging from ‘I think my boyfriend is cheating’ to ‘how much oral sex is enough?’ When we first started reading them (for purely business reasons) it was like striking a vein of dysfunction. We had enough fodder to write about to take us well into our old age. Then the question arose; why are people spilling their lives out onto cyberpaper for total and unqualified strangers to critique.
Paul says: One day I was reading the daily seven hundred emails of people bantering dysfunction on a Yahoo group when one of the posts asked the most vocal member whether she was a therapist. I assumed that the person was because she answered every question and did so with authority. When she said that she was not a therapist, just someone that has been around a lot, I was amazed. Honestly, what would have someone give advice about relationships when their only qualification is that they had had many? So a relationship expert can be either a psych professional or whore? Not that I was expecting to be reading actual therapy on the internet but, with that statement, the group went from a support group to a bunch of people bitching about their exes or their dumbass boyfriend /girlfriend /husband /probably-not-significant-for-long other.
First of all, I want to say that I am not a therapist and, as a person that sleeps with one, I know the allure of being a counselor by proxy. I know that I have good insight and I have done a fair amount of psych work on myself. Then I see Lee work and I need to step back and it remember she went to school for this. Contrary to popular belief, there is actually some training and science behind this whole psychology thing. Like the time I saw her speak to a man named Rocket Boy for over an hour at a party. By the end of the conversation she had the list of meds he was no longer taking and his social worker name and number. That was impressive!
But these people are putting their lives out there, on display, because seeing a professional is a commitment. It is easy to elicit sympathy from the crowd of broken and wounded compatriots in the war of the sexes. It is another to seek solutions within yourself.
I do not know why these relationship groups set me off so much. I think that it has to do with the bottom line premise that they all have: I will never have a good relationship, no way, no how, so let’s talk about it.
Lee says: When it comes to having problems, I have never shied from asking for advice. I have always figured that feeling crappy was worse than any embarrassment I may suffer by sharing my issues. However, these people that Paul is referring to are not your ordinary folk. These people really like to see there shit splattered across the cyber universe for any asshole to take a whack at it. The best part is reading the advice. I’m talking get some popcorn and watch the drama unfold. The level of dysfunction displayed on both sides, advice wanter and advice giver, is better than watching Maury, Springer and Bad Girls Club all at the same time!
Maybe I’m jaded because I am a therapist. Maybe I lack the ability due to my education to appreciate the grass roots, Middle America perspective on things. And maybe, just maybe, I use the brain God gave me and know you go to experts for help. In other words, don’t ask a toothless man to be your dentist.