This is the concept that may occur in one or both of two people engaging in some kind of relationship.
Two roles are available, the "therapist" and the "troubled." Note that the relationship may not necessarily be a two-way romantic relationship. Instead, one person (usually the Therapist) will be romantically attracted to someone (usually the Troubled) who would like to just be friends with the Therapist.
In that case, the Therapist usually sticks around, offering advice and being a shoulder to cry on while the Troubled goes out with a succession of girlfriends, boyfriends, group situations, or tricks. The Therapist is not paid for their troubles, not even with real physical affection. The Troubled may become angry when confronted with this fact, but these Therapists are rarely likely to do this. Progress is not usually made in treating the patient. The Therapist makes an ongoing effort to be supportive while simultaneously pointing out their differences from the people that the Troubled dates (or has one night stands with).
This relationship usually results in either frustration for the Therapist or an ill-timed encounter between the Troubled and the Therapist.
In the case of a mutually romantic relationship, the Therapist spends a lot of time avoiding the landmines left in the psyche of the Troubled by past lovers, friends, rapists, and parents. An ongoing attempt is made to heal any wounds made in the past. The foibles of the Troubled control all aspects of the relationship, from casual conversation to intimacy. Anything can set off a landmine.
This type of relationship is also doomed.
On my first date with a young lady who was probably a little too attractive for me, not bright enough for me, but displayed her availability in no uncertain terms, we sat in a car and chatted. At one point, she uttered the sentence, "Talking to you is better than talking to my therapist."
Maybe I'm a pig, but I never called her again.
I can now successfully resist to the urge to martyr myself as a healer, crucified by nails of unrequited love or lust. In the City of Love, you will find yourself driving in the wrong direction down most one-way streets.