relationships

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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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I remember the time when the only person who ever held my hand was my mother of blessed memory, with my father of blessed memory as a rare substitute.  I mean, if the four of us, both parents and my brother and I, went for a walk, my father would get the better behaved child, who was definitely me.

Mommie had told me quite clearly that I could not cross the street without holding a hand.  We lived near an expressway, and cars went fast.

Many years later, when I brought my husband to the parental house to meet her, she was gratified that I did not have to navigate this treacherous place without the anchor of my hand, and that I never had.  A tad overprotective, perhaps, but like a therapist colleague once said after meeting my family, better they are like this than like the ones who don’t give a damn. Read more on I STILL Wanna Hold Your Hand…

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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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Since my husband and I have been together for over 19 years, a rarity in this day, people often like to ask me about our “couplehood.”

It’s hard to miss if you are around us for any length of time at all.  He still opens and holds doors for me and whenever we walk, it is always hand- in-hand.  Oh — and we treat each other nicely and with respect.  Those are all dead give-aways.

One question I get sometimes is when I first knew it was “real love.”  I had always been cautious and protective about giving my heart away. After all, I had finished a year of psychotherapy training where most of my patients were women and nearly all of them were divorced women. I decided I was too sensitive for this divorce stuff.  It sounded like something that would turn me inside out, render me basically non-functional, and leave me screaming for mercy.  The only answer, to maintain a functional life, was to avoid it.

To choose a husband so perfect that the relationship would be “divorce proof” for sure by the time that I was actually involved in it. I used my reasoning skills and wrote the plan that worked.  We were together for a good year before I decided that this was the one, and it is the rightest thing I have ever done. But with all the reasoning skills, I would be the last one to deny that there has to be an element of “chemistry.”  There was and still is.

I do believe, however, that women are constantly duped by men who say or do things for the wrong reason.  I can teach, to a certain extent, the things I did to eliminate such from consideration.  But when I am asked when I first realized this man loved (and desired) me, I always say one of the things I often say that nobody believes. It is when his pupils dilated.

As the Rodgers & Hart song says, “If they ask me I could write a book,” and I suppose I am. Sorry, I couldn’t miss this one.  I love Rosemary Clooney and Rogers and Hart. Read more on There Is An Actual “Love Light” In His Eyes…

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His diagnosis was schizophrenia, but this man in his mid forties looked more sad than schizophrenic.  I asked his story. He hadn’t had any of the symptoms of schizophrenia for years; as a matter of fact, he was doing fine; no voices, no symptoms, working as a peer counselor.  But he was sad.

His white hair looked so distinguished; I would have guessed he was a businessman, not a schizophrenic.  But the downcast eyes, the slow shuffle of his walk, told me that sadness had taken over his daily life.  As for the white hair, he told me his hair had turned quickly, at the time of his loss; a story I had heard before.  To me, this was more empirical evidence of the Mind-Body connection — emotions affect bodily functions in a large number of ways. Sometimes we know more about the biochemistry than others, but everything I learn amazes me.

Like many with his diagnosis, he had struggled with relationships.  He thought he had won the game, for he found a woman about whom he cared greatly. Then, she died. Read more on Fighting Grief With Positive Activities…

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She was a woman in her early seventies. She looked tired, almost haggard, although neatly dressed.  She had obviously seen a lot of hardship in her life, but she wore it well.  She looked like someone you could trust, a “salt of the earth” kind of person.

It is unusual to see a senior come to a psychiatric clinic for the first time.  We see women of all ages, it is true; about 70% of the psychiatric patients in most average (not Department of Veterans Affairs) medical clinics are female.

Empty ChairShe had been referred by a general physician who could do nothing for her headaches.  He had wisely decided that starting her on any kind of potentially addictive painkiller was a very bad idea.

I took a detailed history.  It seemed that the headaches came on when her husband yelled at her or threatened her.  He did that often enough.  He was of some kind of northern European origin.  She had married him after the death of her first husband in an accident; her first husband had been her real love-match.  But she was a traditional housewife, who wanted to keep house more than anything in the world.

Read more on The Power Of The Empty Chair…

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