The Kind Of Couple That Does Best In Counseling, According To A Therapist

Dr. Angelica Shiels has found there is one type of pairing that tends to make the most progress in therapy.

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When relationships hit a rough patch, many people start thinking about therapy to help their relationships heal.

And don't get me wrong, therapy can be incredibly beneficial. However, ther's a specific type of couple who tends to benefit the most from it.

Licensed therapist Angelicia Shiels delves into the dynamics of these couples and how you might fit the bill.

The Couple That Does Best In Counseling

"Okay so just based on statistical probability I think some of you all might have been getting the dynamic with the controlling guy and hippie wife mixed up with one another much more common scenario," begins Shiels.


It's a common setup: you've got the attractive wife and her laid-back husband.

In this dynamic, the wife has usually been through a lot of relationship trauma.

Shiels explains, "In the pretty wife and passive husband scenario the wife has sensitive temperament." She often feels anxious and probably has a fear of abandonment because of her past trauma.

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You see the pretty wife was the scapegoat of their families. They were the black sheep and growing up, they felt as if they didn't belong.

Yes, on the outside the pretty wife seems like the avoidant hippie. She appears unbothered and detached from her emotions.


However, deep down inside she is hypervigilient. She's always on the lookout for signs that her partner cares about her.

man covering woman's eyes giving her a present Prostock-studio / Shutterstock

Shiels continues, "Her personality profile puts her as a big boss or a hopeless but she can mask as a hippie to avoid being abandoned." But that's not all.


Shiels says it's pretty much guaranteed that the pretty wife is faking her enjoyment during sex. Likely, she's faked orgasms a few times because she felt that she had to.

The pretty wife believes that if she doesn't have intimacy with her partner, he will abandon her. That's why most of the time, she pushes herself to have sex even when she's not in the mood.

On the flip side, the passive husband is laid-back, straightforward, and low-key. He's the kind of guy where what you see is what you get. The passive husband also has an avoidant attachment.

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Shiels explains, "In his family of origin no one talked about anything and he's just flailing trying to figure out what it means to be a man."


So, when the passive husband meets the pretty life sparks fly. The pretty wife is charming, hilarious, and stunningly beautiful.

Because of this, the passive husband overlooks her complicated needs and the pretty wife feels safe because of it.

Plus, he's not very emotional and doesn't seem to have any negative emotions, which the pretty wife finds refreshing.

But when they commit to a relationship, that's when things start to go south.

"And the hippie mask just can't hold on anymore," says Shiels. She feels emotionally neglected and instead of talking about it, she tests her man to see if he cares, and if he notices that her needs aren't being met.


The pretty wife bosses him around and will begin to criticize him for every little thing. The permissive husband will be perplexed because he doesn't understand why she's so upset.

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He becomes defensive and the relationship slowly begins to become strained as they avoid each other.

Moreover, the permissive husband will step out of the relationship as he begins to feel unloved. And for the permissive husband, feeling unloved is triggering.


Chances are, the permissive husband didn't get much love as a child. So, when the pretty wife criticizes him, he gets defensive, thinking she doesn't love him.

But this is why Shiels loves working with this couple in therapy.

She says, "Because neither one is one up or externalizing," says Shiels. They both have deep wounds that need healing and in the safe space of therapy, they can heal and rebuild their relationship together.

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Marielisa Reyes is a writer with a bachelor's degree in psychology who covers self-help, relationships, career, and family topics.