They’d broken up after the party and I was to blame. Apparently he interpreted what I was saying as, “You are too good for my friend and you deserve better.” Really? I decided to drop it. Why try to fix something that was already broken. More meddling? I thought best not to do more damage. And you might be thinking well they obviously had some other issues to begin with, but for me those thoughts fall on deaf ears. The damage had been done. I did the unthinkable, the very thing I’d never said I’d do. And, I felt horrible.
All we can do is learn from our mistakes and not make the same mistakes again. Your friends’ relationships when they are best left up to a therapist, one who they pay and see in an office are just that, Not Your Business. This is why dual relationships are cautioned against in our field. The therapist is often the easy one to blame. God forbid it should be a friend.
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The nice thing also about therapy is that the couple shows up together, asking for your help. In this scenario, they weren’t asking for my help necessarily, they weren’t showing up together, and he wanted to vent. They weren’t ready for change, at least not the kind of change I thought they wanted, or should have (read: to stay together) and this time my words fell on deaf ears, and were grossly misinterpreted. I wanted them to have a better relationship. Change has to come from within and perhaps if they were ready to hear it they would have heeded my advice, but I gave it even when they weren’t asking for it. Furthermore, if they really wanted help they would have sought it out themselves. Or maybe, just maybe, the lesson is that we can’t control how people will interpret what we say or do. We cannot will our ideals onto them. We cannot make the decision for them, how they should and should not change. They are the experts on their lives. In therapy we know this. In real life, it’s quite a different thing. In therapy we know that we can only listen, educate and let the cards fall where they may.
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So the lesson is this, yes, I may be a sex therapist by day, but at the end of the day, I am still little old me when it comes to my friends. No expertise needed there. Leave that at the office.
And, with all of that said, I am also publishing my first eBook, a guide for couples who have a need to hear what I have to say, and may even use it for change.