Couples counseling for dating couples

I went into counseling thinking Ryan had to change. An aspiring actor, Ryan had no job security, no savings account or 401(k), and a penchant for buying every new electronic gadget on the market.

If he didn't fix at least eight of the things that were wrong with him, I was out. He lives and breathes sports, while I swore I'd never date a jock.

He can stew for an entire day if the Red Sox lose a game — an act I deem ridiculous and infantile. I accused him of being a man-child who slept all day and didn't know what responsibility meant.

Going to couples therapy wasn't something my boyfriend or I had to wrangle the other into.

Our rough patch was more like a slick of black ice, and we were careening toward a precipitous ending.

We had moved in together almost a year earlier, and couples therapy seemed easier than breaking up.

It would at least buy us time to figure out how to split our belongings while I looked for my own place in New York City.

Ryan said my planning for the future got in the way of enjoying the present.

His proof: I would buy a purse for 0, let it sit in my closet for 29 days, and then, overcome with spender's guilt, return it for a refund the next day. By the time I got there, I was shaking and sweating.

But, I reasoned, the world is far too consumed with materialism and I didn't want to be sucked into it. Schaffer said her schedule was full, but she would have an opening in a month. Did couples leave happy and cured, with a better understanding of each other? The waiting room was beige — beige walls, beige carpet.

Or did they exit just as disgruntled as when they walked in? If there were pictures on the walls, I didn't register them.

Maybe sitting together in a room for an hour week after week was all the confirmation husbands and wives needed to finalize their divorce. Ryan was sitting in one of the chairs (beige), playing with his i Phone.

I toyed with asking what her success rate was but instead accepted the appointment and hung up. He looked up when I walked in, and we gave each other a tight-lipped half-smile half-grimace. During one particularly wrenching hour we talked about Ryan growing up without his dad, and how he felt he had to take care of his mother.

An hour before our first session, I left work at and walked the two miles to Dr. I wanted time to clear my head and expel my nervous energy. I wanted to be mad at him, but instead I felt surprising relief. In our minds, we'd won the psychologist jackpot — she was funny, compassionate, illuminating, and sarcastic. You talk about things that in normal conversation you might gloss over — like stinging details from childhood or fears about the people you both might become. He was embarrassed by how emotional he felt, like he should have been over it. Schaffer turned to me and said, "Jill, is this hard for you to hear? " When I tried to express how sad I felt for him I began sobbing.