Marriage

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Research marches on.

I have more than one patient now, and many patients in the past, who are women whose men have cheated on them.  It has run from the one night stand to the entire family kept elsewhere in the state or nation, unknown to these long-suffering women, who invariably come to me more than a little bit depressed.

I have been sometimes asked ahead of time if and how a woman can avoid this.  For many years I have been recommending pre-marital evaluations to friends as well as patients.  Many years ago women were shocked and shrugged their shoulders.  I was “ruining” romance.  I always told them that it was their call how they chose to live life.

Read more on You Can Change Your Jeans But Not Your Genes…

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“Dr. Goldstein; you aren’t going to sit there and tell me you believe in love, are you?”

I started nodding. slowly, trying to think quickly of what to say.  Soon to celebrate a quarter of a century–twenty five years, married to a guy I am actually crazier about now than I was the day I met him.

Read more on The Ultimate Valentine’s Gift — Happiness!…

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There can be no doubt that support for same-sex marriage is gaining momentum, which is fine with me.  News abounds all over the internet, including major network type media outlets. By March or so, the issue is expected to make it to the Supreme Court.  As much as this is an issue whose time is come, it is also a “push button” issue, one sure to evoke emotional responses as people hide behind pre-structured belief systems that preclude thinking.  I mean, once people say things like “Christian” or “right,” the issue is thought through or at least parroted and no thinking is necessary.

I am not surprised that the lovely stirrer up of right wing thought, Fox News, is already getting folks stirred up for March. My job, at least in part, is to put things in context.  By this I mean human — maybe clinical medical and psychiatric, but mostly human — context.  The world is a pretty awful and foreboding place.  It is also a lonely place, where a lot of people have trouble making dyadic, or one to one, relationships. Read more on Gay Marriage? Anything Between Humans Is Good With Me…

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The USA Today has highlighted a new study that says newlyweds who have “cold feet” going into marriage are more likely to divorce.  I say make sure those feet are warm because divorce can be hell and children can be enveloped in that hell if you wait long enough.
I found the abstract of this study, but the dry academic summary tells me very little about the actual study.  I can view a copy of the study if I pay for it, but I regard this as a low down dirty trick perpetuated by academics who want us to think their research is always worth something — which it’s not, necessarily.  Notably, I am unable to access any juicy gossip points that may actually tell me something useful, such as who paid for the study. 
This always seems to have something to do with results and can sometimes infer whose tenure was dependent on this thing getting published. I will also refrain from commenting on publishing papers by psychologists, other than to say that they can get away with publishing an awful lot of “questionnaire” based and “pencil and paper” studies.  Medical doctor psychiatrists always seem to have to sample at least one bodily fluid to get something published.

The author of the study — Justin Lavner of UCLA — basically says that people who have “cold feet” or “jitters” at the time of the wedding are more likely to divorce later. 
The study followed 464 newlyweds.  He says nobody can say for sure whether folks had doubts about their partner or about the institution of marriage in general.  This tells me the study could have been designed to answer this question in more detail.  But as it is, we do know that 47% of husbands and 38% of wives had doubts. 
After four years, 19% of women who had doubts were divorced, as opposed to 8% who did not.  For men, 14% who had doubts were divorced four years later, versus 9% of those who did not.  Of the 36% of those couples of which neither partner had doubts, 6% still got divorced. I basically like psychologists.  Like most psychiatrists, I have learned to live in a symbiosis with them, where they do the psychotherapy and the psychiatrists do the pill-pushing.  Notice, I am talking mostly about PhD psychologists and clinicians. 
I’ve worked with patients who have been seen by professionals with lesser degrees.  A few actually get well.  At any level, most are subject to professionals who try to provide the minimal necessary to charge some sort of insurance.  They are the devotees of the ‘easy hour,” people who do things like light candles and tell patients to spend an hour “relaxing” from their stress.
Read more on Cold Feet Might Mean No-Go for the Future of Marriage…

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As I write this, a song is running through my head.

Ah, look at all the lonely people
Ah, look at all the lonely people*

Not surprisingly, of the people, of all ages, the overwhelming number of those who complain to me about loneliness are female. If and when the adolescents get past any and all of the awkwardness without contracting any life-threatening depressions, I really think most of them will be all right. I am a little more worried about those in their late thirties, maybe around forty, who tell me they are lonely.

Plaque Dedicated to Eleanor RigbyThey have generally had at least a couple of relationships, maybe even a marriage.  Their associations with males, sometimes disastrous and maybe even violent, are over.  Happily over, I should think, but they are not so sure.

The lonely women of this age are generally truly beautiful — maybe more beautiful, physically than I have ever been or might ever be.  Sometimes, they have devoted all of their lives to beauty, and are now on maintenance.  I have never met anyone in the same boat I am, who have been brains all of their lives and suddenly find that being physically attractive is something like the ice in your drink that rushes up and hits you in the teeth when you are expecting a rush of cool liquid.  It hits you and you got to deal with it.

“I am sorry to hear that you feel so lonely,” I say. “What would you have to do to stop feeling lonely?  Just do it.” They look at me confused, as if the answer is magically obvious and I have magically missed it.

In a way they are right. Few are those whose loneliness can be relieved by church friends or bingeing on rich ice creams in the middle of the night. Most of them have enjoyed a sexual relationship at some time during their lives and now they miss it. Sometimes, I think they just need masturbation lessons.  But there are several live links to that on the internet, and heaven knows they are NOT hard to find. Read more on The World Is Full Of Lonely Women…

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My husband and I were staying in one of these extended-stay hotels in a medium-large California town while I spent a few weeks getting the local clinic straightened out.

A large group had pretty much taken over the hotel for a wedding ceremony in the garden on Saturday.  So Friday and Saturday nights there were some pretty wild looking revelers whom my dear husband had to dodge on the way to the ice machine.

A group on the second balcony; another one by the pool — laughing loudly, behaving erratically. Every age group represented, but it seemed they were all getting along together happily. Read more on The Wild Wedding Weekend…

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I was at a Midwestern medical center, taking internal referrals.  The referring physician was a medical doctor I had never heard of.  Of course, there was no information about why a 70 year old grandmotherly woman with white hair and a surprisingly pleasant smile had been referred.

She told me she had headaches.  She was very happy that she did not have one on that day.  They were horrible and even an emergency room injection of narcotics did not do anything for them once they started.  They were variable, sometimes brief and sometimes lasting a whole day.  They could be on either side, or both, but most often cut a line from above one ear to above the other ear.  They were getting worse and quickly.

One of the smartest things anyone ever told me (It was an ancient professor in France, who was so experienced he had to say smart things once in a while) was that if a patient could not be diagnosed, or did not make any sense, just spend more time with the patient and get more history.  He said that very often patients knew exactly why they had the problems they had. Read more on Unconventional Cure — Leave The Headache Behind…

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“I see him every day at work and I am attracted to him, really a lot, like I want to be with him all the time.”

She was 25 and hot by most common ways of assessing such matters; with olive skin and dark eyes, well made-up and skirt a little on the short side. A smile  sneaked gently onto her face as she talked about this guy.

Workplace Affair

Workplace Affair

She told me she was happily married, with a three year old at home, and a good husband, one of the husbands everyone else wished they had, and she did not want to screw that up. Her face got dreamy and she kept talking and I could only wonder about one thing.

Is this the best problem she could come up with?

I saw her in a clinic in a poor part of town, where nobody had jobs let alone husbands, and this was her problem. Read more on Hard To Keep An Affair At Work Only…

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Parents and grandparents want their children and grandchildren to have better lives than they did. They have always wanted this, but they don’t seem able to get it anymore, as they have in the past. I am curious why they think mine is a life to model after.  Some ask a few indirect questions after I get them medication.  Recently one women walked in, said she wanted the same medications she had always had, and took notes on some very precise questions.

Girls do not wait,  Especially in the poorer socioeconomic groups they still get married because they happen to be pregnant, and finish out their lives with people chosen as partners in the suboptimal manner.

Cupid is a SnailWhat made me wait?  First, I was married to my career and got the “wear no man’s collar” message from my mother. But I was before a revolution that gave women options of part time professionalism so that they could mix it with mommying.  I saw people take longer to get where they were going than I did.  I especially remember a colleague in the same residency program I was in, in psychiatry, who I cannot think about without visualizing tiny children on her arm.  I do not think she was smarter or better because she strung out things part-time.  I doubt she would have completed things at all had she not chosen that option. Her husband was a resident, too; finished before he (obviously) as he did things full time.  They ended up on the same hospital staff. Somehow, I suppose justice was done. Read more on You Can’t Hurry Love…

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I was in line at Wal-Mart, sandwiched between two women. One was behind me in line.  The other was the cashier ringing up my purchases.

“She is the best checker here.  You are lucky to get her before she leaves,” said the woman behind me in line.

Escape from Marriage

“This is my last week!” shouted the radiant young girl checking me out.  “I’m getting married and I’m moving out of here and I will never have to work at Wal-Mart again!”

A lot of people have told me about a lot of reasons to get married.  I have got to admit that not having the imagination to figure out how to spend your life other than working at Wal-Mart — well, let’s just say it did not impress me as a particularly good reason. Read more on Marriage Is Not A Wise Escape Plan…

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