The ROI of Therapy

Screen Shot 2014-03-13 at 9.08.29 PM

Welcome to Format Free Friday, when I break the format of answering your questions and I dispense that which we rarely welcome in life: Unsolicited Advice.

I’m about to make a case for something that is going to sound painfully self-serving, but because it’s true I’m not going to let that stop me. Listen up, Folks: Of all the investments you’ll make in your career (education, training, etc,), diving into therapy is likely to yield you the greatest return on investment.

It turns out that there’s a correlation between top work performers and high emotional intelligence: 90% of those belonging to the first group also belong to the second. How’s that for significance? It comes from Forbes, and I’ve linked to it here.

According to Travis Bradberry, author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, emotionally intelligent people earn almost 30K more a year than those with low emotional intelligence, and not just in privileged parts of the country. His findings are generalizable – they are consistent throughout the world, across industries and at all levels.

Why is emotional intelligence so important? Because if we can manage our own emotions, we can better manage our behaviors, and once we know how to manage ourselves, we’re better able to manage and navigate others - and the extent to which we can do that is the greatest predictor of the quality of our relationships. Virtually everything in life boils down to relationships. I remain loyal to those service providers who I gel with. If I like you and you need a favor, you’re more likely to get it from me than if I don’t like you. Ultimately, you’re going to get my business and my help if I like you. Think of the advantage that puts you in.

Unlike the other intelligence (which predicts how well we can learn and which is said to remain fixed regardless of our age and educational level), emotional intelligence can be taught. Learning to recognize and regulate your emotional response is a teachable skill. Social skills are teachable as well. So if I’ve successfully made the case for a high ROI for therapy – if I have in fact illustrated that it’s likely to be the most profitable investment of your career, why are you still reading this and not running a Google search for a therapist? Happy Friday.

Mean Daddy

Screen shot 2013-04-25 at 9.43.07 AM

Dear Dr. Darcy:

My wife complains that I’m too controlling with money. She even goes so far as to accuse me of being a financial bully. Let me tell you my side of the story:

Before we were married, my wife had terrible credit. She didn’t pay bills on time. Hell, she didn’t even open her mail for weeks on end.  So when we bought our house, my name had to be the only one on the mortgage, otherwise our rates would have been too high to include her because of her poor credit rating.  And because the mortgage was in my name, I needed to make sure that it was paid on time every month which is how I took over paying the bills. OK, maybe I went too far, because after I took over paying the bills, I decided to put us (OK, mostly her), on a budget. She calls it an allowance and says she feels like I’m acting like a father to her. I don’t think I’m acting like a father – I think I’m acting like a responsible adult. Recently (and I believe this is out of spite), she’s become disinterested in having sex. How can I get her to see that she’s withholding sex out of spite?

ANSWER

Whether she’s withholding sex out of spite or because no one wants to sleep with Mean Daddy, the issue (in all likelihood) is directly related to your less than democratic way of handling the finances. So to me, it seems as though you need to get clear on this correlation – not her.

Look, I don’t blame you for wanting to pay the bills, particularly given her history of poor credit and the fact that your name is on the mortgage. But imposing a budget/allowance on her does have a patriarchal feel. I think in hindsight, we both agree that it wasn’t the most sensitive way to establish family solvency.

Here’s what you need to do. I want you to make 2 lists:  A list of money that comes in monthly and a list of money that goes out monthly.  Ask for a family meeting with her to discuss the finances. Begin the discussion by summarizing your understanding of her feelings around the ‘budget’ and express to her your intention for the meeting:  You want to collaborate on how money is spent in the family. Show her both lists and ask her for her ideas on how much money should be allocated to each expense. She’s going to make suggestions that are different from yours. Do your best to compromise wherever possible.  My guess is that before long, the sex-freeze will begin to thaw because she’ll feel more empowered, more adult, and more respected.

Writer’s Stats: Male, Bi.

Stop Dating Lesbians

Screen shot 2013-02-04 at 10.31.56 AM

Hi Dr Darcy,

I am 27 years old. I'd like to say I have a good head on my shoulders and a job I see myself growing in.  Anyways, I have been dating this guy for the last 4 months. He makes a lot more money than I do and owns his own home. Prior to me meeting him, I was working on my credit in order to fulfill my dream of owning my own house soon.

My problem is that that guy is really big on us moving in the near future. I lived with my ex boyfriend for 5 years, even though it was great I lived in HIS house and that's something I'm not willing to do again.

If things get even more serious with this guy, how do I tell him that I prefer to keep pursuing my dream of owning my own place (perhaps rented out if I move in with him) or if I do move in with him, how do I approach the topic of me at least being on the house deed considering that I will be helping him pay off his mortgage?

What should I do? I like this guy more and more. I don't want my dreams stand in the way of something that could be a great relationship.

ANSWER

First of all, you are BOYS. You are supposed to be socialized to want to avoid nesting. I can understand you finding one guy who wanted to cohabitate quickly, but two?  The short answer is to stop dating lesbians. Since you’re clearly not interested in doing that, I suppose I’ll have to give you a longer answer.

You are 100% within your rights (and correct) to want to delay home ownership until you can clear up your credit so that you can be on the deed to the home that you’ll be contributing to monthly. To live in a house that you do not own will create an inequity between you and your boyfriend which will negatively affect the relationship.  And you’ve already lived that scenario and know the end to that story. Do no repeat it. Make new mistakes. Not old ones.

If I can play Monday morning quarterback, I’d say you missed an opportunity to speak your truth when your boyfriend first mentioned moving in together. Were I you, I would have said, “I’m not in a position to cohabitate until my credit is cleared up…Unless, that is, you want to rent a home together.” Your failure to say that may have suggested that you are open to it, which only means that you’ll now have to explain why you never mentioned your reservations. The answer to that is, “I wasn’t sure how to handle it, but I’ve since given it some thought and I’m just not in a position to do that now.”

Stay true to your dreams. Do not give them up. They are not mutually-exclusive to having a good relationship. If your guy’s worth his weight, he’ll admire you for being willing to sacrifice in order to meet your goals.

With that said, I will circle back to the top of my answer and point out that 4 months is waaayyy too soon to be seriously contemplating this. Fantasize about it all you want, but stop any serious conversations about it. You boys are still in the honeymoon phase of the relationship, which is part of the reason why you didn’t set him straight when he first mentioned moving in together. If you still want to make a home with him in 5 months, you have my blessing. But do it in a way that keeps you aligned with your dreams.

Writer’s Stats: Male, Gay.