Crossroads

Hi Dr. Darcy.

I'm the writer from both "Friends Without Benefits" and "Train Wreck," [both linked to under their respective titles] which it was at the time. Since then I've been in therapy as you advised. I've lost that friendship, for the most part, which - combined with therapy - has saved my marriage. (Thanks, btw!)

But my question is relative to my therapist ... Her solution for all of these residual feelings I'm having is to meet new people and develop new interests. Is that really it? But it doesn't change the fact that I drive past places where she and I did things together and practically fall over in pain. I vacillate between wishing I'd never met her and jumping for joy when we run into each other at the grocery store. Couldn't my therapist do better than "meet new people, do new things?" Is it really that simple, or do I need a new therapist? (You do Skype sessions, don't you? J/K, well, only sort of ...) The old adage "better to have loved and lost" is NOT holding true for me; I'm feeling bitter and my therapist doesn't address that with me at all. And I'm angry at myself for allowing this all to happen; I was never going to be a person that ended up in a mess like this one...

ANSWER

The problem is that you didn’t follow my advice.  I told you to take a 6-month break from both the husband and the girlfriend & get into counseling so you could figure out what to do with your life.  Instead, you decided to end things with her, stay with your husband and go into counseling.  Not a bad Plan B, but I still think you needed some time away from your husband to get some clarity.

The second problem is that you entered therapy but never defined a therapy goal, so let me ask you now:  Why are you in therapy?  What problem do you want to solve/what do you want to accomplish?  Once the goal is clearly defined and a date by when you’re going to evaluate your progress is scheduled, it’s much easier for your therapist to do her job and for you to know what you’re supposed to be working on in therapy.  Right now you’re describing that you have ‘residual feelings’ for the ex-girlfriend but I’m not clear about why that’s even relevant.

[Dr. D recap:  Writer stopped seeing the girlfriend, who she was allowed to hook up with within the context of her marriage, because her husband, naïve thing that he is, didn’t think his wife could potentially fall in love with a woman.  And of course she fell in love with the girlfriend, wrote in to me that the girl was, at the time, playing head games, and that her marriage was in big, big trouble].

You’ve hit a cross roads, girlfriend.  You’re abstaining from the girl but it’s killing you.  I don’t know what steps, if any, you’re taking to repair your marriage.  I’m feeling like you’re more of a mess now than you were when you first wrote in to me, and the reason is that every area of your life is veiled in vagueness.    So let me help you get crystal clear about at least one thing:

Define a therapy goal. If you were my client and you were hell bent on staying in the marriage (i.e., not separating), I’d encourage you to set a 90 day therapy goal, and that goal would be to throw yourself into your marriage.  100%.  I’d have you doing exercises on a daily basis to turn up the heat between the two of you, and I’d be looking for you to provide me with the inevitable examples of ways you run from having intimacy with him…And that’s where the real work comes in.

You have intimacy issues.  And all the distractions in your life are keeping you from deeply connecting with the one person in your life who is emotionally available to you:  Your husband.

You may be too much of a handful for your shrink.  I’d be willing to work with you via Skype if you’re truly ready to get down to work.  But do NOT fire that shrink until you’ve connected with a new one and are committed to working with someone.  Better to work with her than to work with no one.  And at least now you have a road map for what to do in therapy.

Writer's Stats: Female, Bi.