'Romance goes out the window when there's no money coming in'
Dublin therapist Patrick* (35), has been on both sides of the counselling fence -- dishing out advice to troubled couples and attending sessions with his own wife. Here, he shares his experience:
"My wife and I decided to go to counselling to try and resolve issues dating back to previous relationships. My wife is from a big family and her parents never fight, while mine fight all the time -- so I tend to spoil for a fight, while she prefers to let sleeping dogs lie.
"I was also unemployed when we got married -- romance goes out the window when there's no money coming in. Of course, we knew all that before we got married, but I think our expectations of marriage suddenly came to a head.
"Growing up, my mother spent all of her time doing housework -- and deep down, I thought my wife would start doing that stuff for me and felt duped.
"I think we were confused about what we had expected of each other. I was happy to go to marriage counselling.
"But my wife would bring up issues I'd never even heard of before -- as though she'd been storing them up to use it as a weapon. I'd joke with her to get it all off her chest in counselling so she wouldn't take it out on me at home!
"People often go to counselling to try and change their partner rather than themselves -- I know I did.
"We're not going any more. We have our problems -- but we don't need to pay €100 an hour to be told 'You need to work on your problems'. We know that already."
(*not his real name)