Lost in Life
I just got through reading your article, ‘Telling the Truth’ in the Fall 2002 issue of Integrated Health and Healing. I wanted to write and tell you how much I appreciated it. To have a friend like that which you spoke of is something of great comfort.
I guess another reason I am writing is because my relationship of 8 years came to a screeching halt last month with my husband’s announcement that he was seeing another woman. Since then it seems like everything around me has begun to crumble. I have tried over and over again to get him to communicate with me the way he seems to be able to with this new woman. It tears me apart inside that he is just tossing all our years together aside. It seems like every time something gets hard for him or he has to try at something a little bit he just gives up and that is how I feel about him and I. He has no concept of what it means to be in a relationship, the both giving and taking, supporting one another through the good times and the bad as well as communicating. I know I am no brain at this, but no relationship is easy. I have tried to talk to him so many times over the years, but he is always drunk or watching TV and then what good is it. When I found lumps in my breast 4 months ago and I tried to talk to him about it he simply tuned me out by turning up the volume on the TV. So instead I have been forced to deal with it on my own. I guess I just don’t know how I am going to cope with all that is happening. It has gotten to the point where it has started to affect my health. Do you have any ideas on what I can do?
It sounds like this man has been as unavailable to you as any man could be. You have some grief work to do–I’d strongly recommend that you get a copy of Howard Halpern’s How to Break Your Addiction to a Person and see if any of it rings true for you.
But my hope is that, hard as this transition will be, that it will also be a time of self-exploration and re-birth for you. Nobody deserves to be ignored or abused in a relationship. And I’d bet my life that, no matter how hard you try to convince your husband to communicate with you, he has been lost to you for a long, long time. He may even be one of those people who is incapable of love or commitment. (Tell the truth. Would you EVER turn up the volume on the TV to tune out a friend–even a casual friend–who was struggling with a major health crisis or scare? I doubt it.)
Divorce is an agonizing thing. I hope you will get the support you need from a good therapist, an excellent lawyer, and lots of loving friends to surround you. And I hope, once the seemingly unending trauma of this is behind you, I hope that you will begin to build a wonderful and fulfilling life.
Daphne Stevens, Ph.D. is a psychotherapist and life coach who provides consultation by email and telephone as well as in person. She also offers workshops and speaking engagements to a variety of groups. For more information, please call 1-877-471-0527, or email her at [email protected].
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