What It Means If Your Husband Only Wants To See A Female Marriage Therapist

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couple talking to counselor

After years of trying you convince your husband to see a therapist, you might have given up hope that the ongoing search for the "right" marriage counselor will ever bear fruit. 

But then he announces that he found a perfect fit.

He slides the laptop over with nervous anticipation to reveal that she is — gasp — a woman.

I don’t know what your gut instinct says, but I hope it isn’t jealousy.

Because the reality is, if he wanted a relationship with a female counselor he would go to great lengths not to know her in a professional capacity and destroy immediate and future chances of romance.

Besides, counselors receive extensive training in patient ethics. No therapist worth her license is going to get embroiled in a romantic tangle with a client.

Now that we have that settled, there are many reasons your husband might prefer to discuss personal and intimate topics with a woman.

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Seeking the strength and wisdom of a woman

Your husband’s first experience with a positive, attuned, and warm human being was likely the female that answered his first cries for help. And he has never forgotten that feeling.

Throughout childhood and adolescence hot meals, clean clothes, and timely first aid would be a regular and repeated response to his needs. It created a perfect scenario for positive reinforcement. 

Not to mention the bedtime stories, shoulder for tears, and heartfelt hugs. Unconsciously, your husband is hardwired to idealize a woman as a caregiver

Hallmark confirms that Mother’s Day is the third-busiest card-sending holiday in the United States, with 113 million greeting cards sent annually. It is also the second favorite for gifts.

Men and women alike have had more positive experiences with that significant woman in their lives.

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Still looking for 'mom'

In some cases, the man did not have the “perfect” maternal relationship and continued to seek out a surrogate with whom to repair the uneven bond of childhood and adolescence.

Many female relationships are out of bounds to married heterosexual males, so connecting professionally to a female counselor may be his only chance to heal with another woman.

It is highly unlikely that your husband is as aware of this instinct as he is of females as a stereotype.

RELATED: Top 4 Complaints I Hear From Men In Couples Counseling

Overcoming gender stereotypes 

If you play a word association game with him your significant other may answer woman when you say nurse, teacher, and daycare worker because that is who comes to mind.

When you ask him to describe firefighters, police, and plumber, he will produce a different image.

Like it or not we categorize professions into gender-based stereotypes and it is only in recent history that we see more male counselors and female firefighters.

My guess is it will take even longer for us to trust men and women to do all jobs equally.

RELATED: Why Couples Counseling With A Narcissistic Partner Won't Work

Women as nurturers

Culture has also reinforced that women are better listeners and communicators, more detail-oriented, more sympathetic, and even more approachable.

Check out billboards, magazines, and television, and women are pictured as softer, warmer, and kinder.

Which is exactly what you prefer in a counselor.

If your husband was bullied and terrorized, felt helpless and ashamed, and was demeaned in any way it was perpetrated by someone stronger, forceful, and harsh.

If he was punched and told to“suck it up” he would have learned that sharing his weakness and vulnerability was a mistake. It makes perfect sense that he would seek out someone he perceives to be the opposite.

RELATED: The Strange Reason I Wouldn't Listen To My Marriage Counselor

Gender doesn't really matter in counseling

The truth is that both genders are equally capable of good communication, connection, and effective therapy.

Don't be surprised that when your husband has accomplished some of his therapy goals with a female counselor, he decides to seek out a male therapist for a different perspective, and that’s okay too.

So, when the laptop swivels in your direction to reveal that female counselor, I invite you to swallow the lump, relax and embrace his choice. Take it from a female who has counseled men and women for 25-plus years.

I've helped hundreds of men during that time and let me tell you: There is no need to feel jealous that he can talk to another woman about his problems.

In fact, it's a blessing. You will, in all likelihood, be rewarded with a more understanding, more generous, more loving spouse than before.

RELATED: 8 Impactful Ways To Get The Most Out Of Couples Therapy (& Maybe Save Your Relationship)

Reta Walker is a therapist who specializes in healing relationships. She offers one-on-one sessions, couples retreats, and courses to help couples get back on track.