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Dating A Psychologist And Feeling Inferior

Question:

I am a teacher who has always been self confident. I am now dating a psychologist who I really hit it off with. He and I can talk for hours and I enjoy him. He hasn’t shared as much about his family with me except to say that his mother left him when he was very young and his father disregarded every accomplishment he made. He mentions it to me as if he was abandoned. I adore him and our relationship is terrific but I fear I am not asking him enough questions. I am intimidated about his knowledge base. What does he need? What should I do?

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Answer:

Thank you for submitting this very interesting question.

First, let me remind you that psychologists, psychiatrists and medical doctors are all just people. They are human beings who experience and suffer from all of the human foibles and life problems that afflict us all.

So what does this mean for you and your question?
Well, for one, I want to remind you that his "knowledge base" is intellectual in nature and does not have much to do with him as a human being. If he is in private practice, he may be a really good practitioner. However, when he is away from work he is just himself.

Think about it from your perspective as a teacher: I do not know what level of teaching you are involved with. Perhaps you are a Pre School teacher or Elementry School or Middle or High School or College School Professor. So what? Your students view you as a "Goddess." As a child, my friends and I believed that our teachers were all powerful. The point is that when you go home you are simply your own self and not the professional role you occupy as a teacher. It is exaclty the same for this man you are dating.

In other words, he is not looking for a professional colleague but a human being, a woman, a person for him to be with, in an honest and open way.

What he needs and wants is YOU, just as your are. He does not want someone who is being "phoney" or intellectual.

He tells you about his mother and father not "as if" he was abandoned. Instead, he truly "feels" abandoned by them. This is all the more reason for why he is looking for and wanting YOU and not anything else.

I can only urge you, encourage you, try to convince you to be true to who you are. If you want to ask him more questions then ASK. If you feel some anxiety, then tell him. If you feel annoyed about something, tell him. If he has said he "likes you," respond in kind, if that is what you feel. If he has told you that he loves you then tell him the same if that is what you feel.

Talk to him about your profession. Ask him about his profession. Talk about all the mundane things that comprise every day life that we all have to cope with.

I want to remind you that you and he are in closely allied fields. Teachers and psychologists work closely together. Despite your self doubts, he is not from some "some other universe" than you.

I cannot tell you to not be intimidated but I think it would help if you remind your self that he is just a man, just a person, just a person who has his hurts and pains and that he looks to you for things like: Love, Acceptance, Warmth, Understanding and Safety.

Good Luck

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Comments
  • Catmom

    I have been posting in the support community about idealizing my therapist and how painful that has been for me. The above response by Dr Schwartz is enormously helpful to me in understanding how a client/student can have such a perspective.

    In fact, in my professional life, I have evidence that there are people who idealize me. I am an administrative RN, specializing in Medicare Case Management. My education and knowledge base is greater than that of most of the people I work with so I have had people make comments about how I "know everything." This is far from the truth. However, this realization gives me a refreshing new understanding of my own situation with my therapist.

    Thanks Dr Schwartz!

  • Anonymous-1

    Thank you so much for y our response. I am actually an 8th grade teacher and i love my work. I am very nurturing and for this reason I feel that I do not have the appropriate skill to really nurture him. I cant thank you enough and i actually showed him my post and he thinks you are right on! We have spent two days really talking about our lives and bonding. Thanks dr. Swartz!

  • Erin

    This week I went on a date with a Psychologist after communicating on eHarmony for a couple of months. This was my first date after my divorce two years ago. He kept talking about his personal favorite theories in psychology. I told him I was just as interested in my field of work in healthcare but the conversation remained on psychology. He was twiddling his thumbs and I was spinning a bread plate, I think we were both very uncomfortable. The scene was pathetic. I was very attracted to him physically and he was a gentleman. He was what I would call a decent man. Then I feel like he started to interview me. I have some friends I target shoot with just for fun and he alarmingly linked this to my divorce and my ex-spouse. When I called him on this he said "Well you mentioned the target shooting right after you mentioned you are divorced". It was a shame because I was also mentioning rock climbing and hiking. Apparantly they are unrelated activities to my ex-spouse. Was I being analyzed?

  • Amanda

    I have recently begun dating a therapist who has been twice divorced. I am in a behavioral psychology field as well. In very short order we have begun having arguements about how we are communicating and I often feel tackled by what i refer to as his psychobabble. I can no longer just speak my mind. I must first pre-analyze all statements to ensure that I will be heard and considered. On more than one occassion, when trying to express my feelings getting hurt, I have the very context and semantics dismissed before my sentence is finished. I feel tackled. I don't understand how we went from having such an easy understanding and unity of mind... to this! I am frustrated to the point that I have thrown in the towel. Hopefully I will be able to maintain this fascinating man as a friend, but I am so looking forward to just expressing my thoughts, feelings and experiences without a crash course in emotional competency and cognitive distortions. Wow, I often wish I could take a pipe cleaner between the ears after I try to express that i really just don't like it when you say this...

    Dating is difficult, dating a therapist...possible?

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