Serial Dater: Let’s Get Clinical

by: Adam Guerino

I know I should start dating someone, I think I’m ready. However, I’m not ready to jump into anything seriously. I want to start slow, get my feet wet a little bit. Maybe just start seeing someone casually. And I figure, if I’m going to start seeing someone new, it might as well be a therapist.

That’s not just a pun. I mean, sure, I’ve been told for years, “Woah, Adam, you really need to go see a therapist,” and maybe I’ve internalized it all. In all actuality, I have plenty of stuff I need to deal with and everyone could use an unbiased, clinical opinion sometimes so I think it’s time. But I’m so poor. So, I’m going to find a therapist to date and try to sneak in free therapy conversationally. (That seems smart and healthy, right?) Picture this: after a few very few slow, casual dates. Maybe coffee or beer once a week, for an hour or so at a time. After we’ve already established introductions as far as where the other is from, a little about their family and relationship history, I’ll start asking his opinion on things.

He might ask, “How was your day?” and I might respond, “My mom called, she complains about her relationship with my dad and I think, ‘If you think he’s so awful then why did you let me grow up with him?’ Is that normal?” Or maybe we’ll have cute morning texts after seeing each other for a month where I say good morning and he responds, “How’d you sleep?” And I go, “I had that one re-occuring dream where I’m petting my childhood dog that we got when I was 5 and he died in my arms when I was 18. Growing up kind of smart and strange in a small town in Iowa, he was my only friend, you know? Anyway, how’d you sleep?”

I know what you’re thinking. It’s going to get weird when we start having sex, but I disagree. Because everytime I cum on his chest — bam! — instant Rorschach test. “That’s interesting, when I look at my spooge on your chest I see a butterfly split in two with a razorblade–I wonder what that means?” And better believe, he’ll tell me. Because when you’re dating someone, you want them to not be crazy anymore. He’ll be a more-than-willing participant to my own recovery.

It may sound like I’m just using him. And sure, that may be true, he will offer years of experience and insight into what might normally be a boyfriend’s support. But don’t forget, he’ll be getting a little something-something too. (Make more explicit or semi hilarious what he would be getting here) And if it sounds strange that I’d exchange dates or sex for therapy like an addict might do for a fix, maybe you’re right. Maybe I should see a therapist about that.

Adam Guerino is a writer in Chicago who works nationally as a stand-up comedian event producer. Guerino is the creator of OutLoud Chicago a production effort bringing queer entertainment to the mainstream with rotating venues including Queer Comedy at Zanies and Barefoot Ballad at The Hideout. His benefit series We Are Halsted seeks to get the queer community to support the queer community by raising funds and awareness for queer homeless youth. For more information and a calendar of upcoming events, www.adamguerino.com.

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One response to “Serial Dater: Let’s Get Clinical

  1. Enjoyed this post.

    I totally endorse therapy. After a really bad breakup (for me, not him), I turned into an evil, bitter gay bitch. I was mean to my friends. I tried that ‘get back on the horse’ mentality and went on a few dates and just got so jaded and was throwing around retorts like, “Oh, you do the dishes, do you?” while sipping glasses of red wine like a fool. The error of that is very clear to me now.

    My friends were also getting tired of listening me lament the end of this relatively short relationship that I clearly invested myself in, especially the forethought of what our future relationship could have been, and I was tired of burdening them with all my moaning/talking/whining/vitriol.

    After a little bit of a search – and asking friends for their recommendations – I found a therapist who is the polar opposite of me: a straight, married man who is an active church-goer and recovering addict. He’s wonderful. I actually was nervous and e-mailed my clinic to say, “I am gay…I want to make sure he knows this and won’t try to push God down my throat.” The last thing I needed was another guy try to force anything down my throat.

    Therapy has been completely beneficial in that it’s a place where I can safely release how I feel about my dates, my friends and who they are dating, my ex boyfriends and more. It totally gets me closer to who I want to be as an individual in – and outside of – relationships. It’s helped me focus less on things outside of my control, like worrying about why someone wouldn’t want to be with me or why I am not willing to change who I am in order to fit in in Boystown, etc.

    The fact is that I’ve also been someone who’s been a therapist to the person I’m dating and you really do resent them. And they resent you. They find you attractive because you’re stable and ‘put together,’ but then they resent you for always being in control and seemingly telling them what to feel or think, while you sit there and assume they are terribly frightened to make a decision about anything – whether to eat grape or strawberry jelly or to date someone seriously or not.

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