If I’m Still in Love with You, What Am I Going to Do? #ThePast #relationship #relationshipAdvice #oldMemories #creatingYourFuture
July 20, 2014
Suzi came into my office crying. I handed her a box of tissue and led her carefully to the most comfortable chair farthest away from me. Between sobs, she shared that her live-in boyfriend of one year had left her on Valentine’s Day, because he was afraid of the commitment. She didn’t know what to do, because she loved him so much. Her heart was broken, torn in two, by a dude who certainly didn’t deserve to be in Suzi’s life, let alone live with her three-year-old son. “Ah, Suzi! What were you thinking?” is all I wanted to say. Yet, I said little for another twenty minutes, while she shared the rest of the drama that led her to my couch.
What exactly is intimate love? Is it pheromones, oxytocin, soul connection, sexual attraction, or is it two people with compassion and friendship, who also have a sexual attraction? In most cases, the latter is what develops, while the other factors are the contributing enemies. But most therapist and psychologists these days are saying that Attachment Theory is the contributing factor to all intimate relationships. The only relationships that are worth keeping are the secure ones, which are in the very rare minority.
My first question to Suzi: “When you first met Joe, what attracted you most to him?”
She replied dreamily, “He had big, blue eyes and a smile that led me to his lips before the night was over.”
“So, you kissed that first night? Is that all?”
Now Suzi became shier. “Well, we went a little further than that.”
By that, I’m sure she meant the couple had had sex on the first date. This is the first sign of Anxious Attachment for Suzi, which developed from her childhood. I’m not a psychotherapist, but this kind of information stewed in my mind. My intention, as a Life Coach, was to have led Suzi to multiple, healthy choices that would change her life. But, to get to those choices, I had to understand what she faced with this apparently, Avoidantly-Attached boyfriend.
I asked her another pertinent question: “How long was it before Joe moved in?”
She answered, “He was about to sign another year lease with her apartment complex and asked me if I’d rather he just move in with me, so that we could split expenses. This was about six months into the relationship.”
“And you were comfortable with bringing a man into your son’s life and into your life after only six months of dating?”
She answered, the sobs diminishing as she spoke, “Well, I figured, if he wanted to move in with me, that meant he was committed to the relationships.”
Interesting theory. She never considered, until after this conversation, that the reason Joe wanted to move in with her was because she was a successful businesswoman. Suzi could provide for Joe, while he played music for next to nothing and conveniently lost his part-time job after the first month of living with her. Then, she let him babysit, sleep late, and watch television, while she worked. Oh, my God!
Here is the deal: Anyone can see that this story is wrong, wrong, wrong. All you have to do is get outside of the situation to see that Suzi had been used. She was too needy for a sexual and meaningful relationship and a father figure for her child to see the very real, potential dangerous circumstances. My thought, immediately, was that Joe found a more comfortable living situation with less responsibility. He probably thought having a child made him too attached to Suzi, so he bolted at the first chance he got. Suzi’s overwhelming emotions were based on situational issues from a man that never really loved her as much as her enjoyed the idea of having free sex with a hot woman who could support him and his mediocre music career without much effort on his part.
While you search for a secure, loving relationship, leave sexuality out of the equation. Sex does nothing but causes unrealistic attachment to people who are likely only there with you for the sex and for the potential for dependency. If someone is willing to get to know you—before intimacy—you probably have found a more secure individual.
Suzi kept coming for coaching for another couple months, while we sorted through her options. One thing is for certain: she needed to keep Joe out of her life and especially out of her child’s life. When, and if, she found someone who was compatible, compassionate, and loving, she needed to take her time with the relationship, and certainly, wait at least six months before she introduced her child to this perspective relationship. I helped her realize that she had two children to take care of—the one inside of her broken heart that never had secure love. And she had a very real three-year-old child who didn’t need to develop unhealthy attachments at an age when he had no choices at all. Both children needed her to be steadfast in her decision to be an adult in her next relationship, forgoing touch and intimacy until it was safe to enter in.
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