13 Stories From Couples Counselors About Their Strangest Sessions
"Her husband cuts the sandwich straight instead of diagonal."
Recently, the couples counselors of the AskReddit community tackled a fascinating question: "What's the stupidest reason a couple has made an appointment?"
While many of the counselors pointed out that there's no "stupid" reason to go to therapy, they did still provide some stunning stories of their strangest sessions. Here are some of the best ones:
1. The case of the couple who solved everything in five minutes:
"The husband wanted to write a book. The wife said she would work and do everything around the house for a year while he worked on his book. So he quit work and wrote his book while she did everything. The book got published and was a hit. The publisher asked him to do a book signing tour. The wife was furious. She had supported him writing the book and she was done. They came to the appointment and explained the situation. The therapist asked the wife, 'So what would it take for you to be OK with the book tour?' She said, 'A trip to Hawaii with my sister.' The husband was like, 'Really? Done.' The appointment was over in five minutes."
2. The case of the dog greeter:
"My sister-in-law made an appointment for marriage counseling because her husband greeted their dog before her when coming home from work."
3. The case of the communication issue:
"My specialty is children and families, but during the pandemic I was assigned whatever came in because it has been super busy. One lady called and spoke with me first about how her husband was horrible at communication and never listened to her. She asked for a couples session.
She ambushed her husband with, 'There is a therapist on the line that wants to speak with you,' and her husband screamed:
'YOU CALLED A THERAPIST BECAUSE I DON'T WANT TO PAINT THE HOUSE PURPLE?'
She wanted me to convince him to paint the house purple, and like any normal human who sees colors, he refused to listen to her."
4. The case(s) of the dishes...always the dishes:
"It's always the dishes. I don't see couples anymore because I cannot have one more conversation with adult human beings about the various philosophies of dish washing."
5. The case of the "drinking problem":
"A buddy of mine was in therapy with his wife. She told me later that my friend (let's call him Gary) has a drinking problem.
Me: 'Wait. What? Since when is Gary drinking? I never saw him drink alcohol.'
Her: 'That's the problem.'
Oh Gary, I hope you are fine now."
7. The case of the missing — wait, what?:
"My uncle and his wife. Reasoning: She lost a frying pan."
8. The case of the geometric dispute:
"My cousin went to counseling because her husband cuts the sandwich straight inside of diagonal. When I first heard it, I thought it was a joke."
9. The case where either the husband or the mother-in-law was a jerk...or both:
"Not a counselor, but my friend is one, and a couple came to her (unofficially) because the wife wouldn't tell her hubby when her mum was coming over because she knew he'd be 'sick' or 'out' that day."
10. And the case where the husband was DEFINITELY the jerk:
"Husband: 'She forgets the laundry in the washer.'
Wife: 'Ok, but I’m busy. Maybe you could put the laundry in the dryer if you see it.'
Husband: 'Yeah, that’s not my job.'
That was the least of their problems."
11. The case of the person who provided some real-time support for their (ex) partner:
"The most startling session I’ve had was when the couple had barely sat down and one of them informed the other that the relationship was over, turned to me and said, 'Thank you for supporting (partner) through this,' and left the office."
12. The case of the inexplicable dispute:
"I spent the entire week with these two pod people. Not one of the pair expressed emotion during the counseling at all and every session they just kept beating around the bush. I swear they were trying to fuck with me. Finally, it's the end of the week and the last session of it.
One of them said, 'Thank you for your time, but there is no need to keep up the counseling now. He moved the table so it's parallel to the wall without me saying it.'"
13. The case of the ex-couple:
"From the other side...
I ran into an ex-girlfriend after being broken up for a long time. We decided to go to couples counseling as friends to clarify some stuff from the past.
We went to the session. Talked about some heavy stuff but then ended up being very supportive to each other and laughed and stuck up for each other in a weird way.
At the end, the counselor guy was just staring at us sort of dumbfounded and said something along the lines of, 'Uhhh, you two clearly need to get back together.'
I just remembered his face. He was looking at us like we were idiots. I think the idea of ~post break-up couples counseling as friends~ might have been a new thing as well."
And finally, as a bonus, this reminder:
"I'm not a marriage counselor, but I'm in school to be a mental health counselor at the moment. My professor has worked in the field for over 30 years, and we asked him this question at one point. He answered something like this:
There is no 'stupid' reason to seek out counseling. What may seem trivial to one person can completely consume another person. What may seem insignificant to you might just be the last straw for a client. It's our job to figure out why that 'stupid' reason caused them to land in your care. Sometimes it's a lot of minor things that built up because they don't have any good coping mechanisms. Sometimes it's a major problem that they don't want to talk about, so they start small. Sometimes it's something they don't even realize is a problem, but is causing them distress regardless. There's a lot of reasons why clients might present you with something that seems completely insignificant, but the fact is, they are in front of you, paying you money, so that you can help them improve their mental health. Ninety-nine percent of the time, that means that they believe getting help is worth their time and money."
Got any stories to share of your pettiest disputes as a couple? Let us know in the comments and we might feature your story in an upcoming BuzzFeed post or video!
Some submissions have been edited for length or clarity.