When it comes to couples therapy, both parties have to agree to attend it in the first place, and this can be a hurdle in itself.
Despite the proven benefits of therapy, for some people, the idea of sharing your feelings with a stranger seems weird, confusing, and pretty damn terrifying.
We might assume that it’s because of pride or a refusal to accept that anything is actually wrong with our relationship.
But one therapist has taken to TikTok with a strong opinion on why men refuse to come to couples therapy with their wife or girlfriend.
In a video that’s received 1.5 million views so far, Kristina Virro, a psychotherapist from Ontario, explains that men simply feel they will be ‘picked on’.
She says: ‘A common thing I see as a therapist is that women in heterosexual relationships will have a hard time bringing their partner to couples therapy because he’s worried that the therapist will “pick on him”.
‘If a man does agree to go to couples therapy, nine times out of ten he usually asks for a male therapist because there’s this assumption that the male therapist will “get him” and be less inclined to pick on him.’
Kristina went on to suggest this stems from a change in the format of heterosexual relationships.
‘Historically people married for much more functional reasons than they do now, she said.
‘In Western society it was usually that men would go to work and women would stay at home.’
She pointed out that in Canada 70% of couples are now dual-income couples and a study by Wells Fargo in 2021 showed that 1/3 of millennial and Gen Z women are making more money than their partner in heterosexual relationships.
Kristina added: ‘A lot of women come into relationships being like “okay I work hard for my money and make good money, in fact I might make more than my partner – I don’t need a bread winner anymore”.
‘What a woman is now looking for is companionship, emotional intelligence, good sex and love from her partner.
‘Now we have a situation because this whole time men have been like, “I just need to provide, I just need to provide” and now they’re being asked to have skills that they have not been societally raised to develop.’
She even cited a study carried out in the UK, which shows that men don’t develop emotional maturity until the age of 43.
‘So I’m going to say something. If it feels like you’re getting picked on in therapy, it’s not because we are trying to pick on you,’ she said.
‘It is because I am trying to teach you skills that society has not engrained in you. This is not your fault but it is an issue and it is something men need to work on if they want to stay in happy, healthy heterosexual relationships.
‘Don’t get me wrong, I am also focusing a lot of attention on women and what they need to develop but I think that this is a really important thing we need to work on as a society.
‘So don’t see it as being picked on, just see it as “okay you haven’t developed certain skills that need to be developed” and that is precisely what couples therapy is for.’
So what Kristina seems to say is that constructive criticism shouldn’t be misconstrued for being ‘picked on’.
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