Whether you are dating or married – this one is for you! If you’ve ever found yourself dealing with a jealous partner OR simply navigating the dating scene with a career that involves physical touch, there is no way that you don’t relate to my experiences. Let me share a story that many of us can probably nod along to, and together, we’ll explore ways to cultivate security in our relationships. So, grab a cup of tea (or otherwise haha) and let’s get into it!
Once upon a time, I was (un)happily married, but to his credit, my husband never blinked an eye at my career choice as a massage therapist. It was always smooth sailing, and we enjoyed a relationship built on trust and understanding. But as life often has it, things changed and my marriage ended. When I reentered the world of dating, I faced challenges that I anticipated, but not to the degree that they were…
Picture this: I go on a dating app, excited to get to know someone new. We are chatting along, innocent enough, talking about our favourite films and cuisines. However, as soon as I mention being a massage therapist, things take a turn. Inevitably, the innuendos and cheeky jokes start flowing. It eventually becomes so predictable that I find myself hesitating to reveal my profession until after meeting for the third or fourth date, hoping that by then, they might see beyond the stereotypes.
So I’m thinking, perfect – I’ve figured out how to overcome that hurdle. But then once you reveal you are a qualified massage therapist, of course, everyone wants a massage, right? It’s like an unspoken expectation that arises when you mention your profession – dating or otherwise. It’s so insulting – nobody would ever ask a person they met who is a tradesman to paint their house for free just because; but anyways, it just comes with our territory.
I don’t mind massaging a partner, but here’s the catch: I’ve made a conscious decision not to give any massages until the relationship reaches a certain level of commitment. It’s not about being standoffish; it’s about maintaining professional boundaries and ensuring that my partner sees me as more than just a walking pair of skilled hands. I want my chosen career to be valued.
So let’s say we are now 2 months into dating, and we are official. They have complained about their shoulder for the umpteenth time, so come on, let’s go. Time for the first-ever massage. Now, here’s where it gets interesting. Despite my clear boundaries and full remedial style and professionalism, some partners will still try to push the boundaries further. Towards the end of the massage, they make advances, hoping that a massage might lead to something more intimate. But I stand my ground, firmly declining their advances. Why? Because I know that allowing the massage to end in sex would only fuel their assumptions about how I might behave in my professional clinic. It’s about protecting my integrity and the sanctity of my work.
Now, I want to emphasize that I know my story is not unique. Many of us who work in physical and intimate professions encounter similar situations while dating or within our relationships. It can be frustrating, disheartening, and at times, make us question whether finding a partner who truly understands and respects our career is even possible.
But fear not! I’m here to share some insights and strategies that can help make your partner feel more secure and comfortable with your career as a massage therapist. Now let’s delve into them together, with the understanding that these challenges are part of a shared journey.
Choosing the Right Setting: When it comes to giving your new partner (if they are insecure, then the established ones, too) a massage, always prioritize using a massage table rather than a bed. This simple shift in setting helps maintain the distinction between a personal and professional massage. By creating a designated space for your therapeutic work, you reinforce the idea that your skills are rooted in a professional context.
Inviting them to Your Professional Space: Consider inviting your partner to experience a massage session in your professional clinic, if possible. This allows them to witness firsthand the professionalism, care, and therapeutic environment you provide for your clients. Seeing you in your element can help them develop a deeper appreciation for your work and the level of dedication you bring to your career.
Introduce them to Colleagues: Introducing your partner to your colleagues can be an excellent way to dispel any misconceptions or doubts they may have about your profession. Arrange opportunities for them to meet and interact with your fellow massage or complementary therapists. By seeing the supportive network of professionals surrounding you, your partner can gain a better understanding of the credibility and legitimacy of your chosen career path.
Attend Research Events Together: Invite your partner to join you at research events, seminars, or workshops related to massage therapy and healthcare. These events provide valuable insights into the scientific basis of massage therapy, its benefits, and its place within the broader healthcare field. Attending such events together enables your partner to witness the knowledge, expertise, and dedication required in your profession, helping them recognize the significance of your work beyond just a relaxing experience.
Understanding Jealousy and Insecurities: It’s important to recognize that these emotions are multifaceted and may stem from personal experiences, past relationships, or societal misconceptions. Acknowledging these underlying factors helps us approach the issue with empathy and understanding.
Open Communication: Establishing open lines of communication is essential in any relationship. Be transparent about your passion for your career, the professionalism you uphold, and the boundaries you’ve set. Encourage your partner to express their concerns, ask questions, and share their own perspective. It’s through honest conversations that we bridge the gap between their expectations and our professional reality.
Setting Clear Boundaries: Creating and communicating clear boundaries is vital to navigating the complexities of dating as a massage therapist. Explain your decision to refrain from providing massages until the relationship reaches a certain level of commitment. By articulating the reasons behind this choice, you ensure that your partner understands and respects the professional
Remember, building a secure relationship requires patience, understanding, and a willingness to address any concerns or insecurities that arise. I truly hope you never have to face jealousy or insecurity surrounding your career, but if you do, by incorporating these strategies into your dating and relationship journey as a massage therapist, you can foster trust, open communication, and a deeper appreciation for your professional career within your personal life. Embrace the uniqueness of your career, and may your love life thrive alongside your passion for helping others through the power of touch.