Ask the LifeQuake Doctor – Mar/Apr 2014
March is such an interesting month in that for most of the country it is a transition month between winter and spring. As we move into spring, you might want to ask yourself what has been dormant and wanting to emerge as a new part of yourself. All change requires a bit of chaos where things have to deconstruct before they reconstruct into a new form. How are you dealing with the chaos in your life?
Dear Dr. Toni:
I was discharged from my previous therapist because I concealed certain information from her. I read your column sometimes while waiting in her office. I don’t’ know what to do, so I am writing you. I am a forty-three-year-old married woman with two children. My husband and I have been married for twenty years, but I have been unhappy and unfulfilled on our marriage for at least five of those years.
He works long hours, makes very good money, and when he is not working he is obsessed with parenting our children. Last summer I became close to a man in our community who is also married with children. We have been having an affair for four months. I sent him to see my therapist and both of us concealed that he was having an affair with me. He says he cannot leave his children but he loves me very much.
My husband is begging me to give him another chance. Our kids know we are having problems and my teenage daughter is begging me not to leave their father and break up our family.
What should I do? Thanks for any feedback you can give me.
–Desperate and Confused
You have been married most of your adult life. The prospect of being on your own and breaking up your family is a huge thing to consider, especially when there are children. If you add the potential break up of another family, this could be seismic. Many lives are being affected by the choices you are making now.
Ask yourself honestly, would you be leaving your husband if the other man was not in the picture? Are you comparing the rush and excitement of an affair with the everyday routine that comes with marriage? You say that you were in therapy and your lover was seeing the same therapist. Have you and your husband attempted to resolve the issues of intimacy with a marriage counselor?
The true test of whether you are leaving for the right reasons will be if you choose to go out on your own regardless of your lover’s choices. If you can do that, here are two alternatives I would suggest:
- See a new therapist and focus on personal fulfillment. If your children are growing up, perhaps it is time to discover a new vocation and purpose for your life. Do some soul searching. Delve into your part of why the marriage failed as well.
- Once you are on your own for awhile, if you continue to see the married man, refrain from being exclusive with him. Open yourself up to dating others. It will help with the love addiction you have with him.
Lastly, move into transparency. Lying to your therapist and your husband about this affair will promote a habit of continuing to lie. Of all things, tell the truth to yourself, get quiet every morning, and ask your higher wisdom to show you how to move forward in your evolution. You will trust yourself and the course that your life is taking much more if you do.
Dear Dr. Toni:
I moved to a new community with my husband and son five years ago. It has been difficult to adjust to the new community. I was an executive recruiter, but I am not working now and have too much time on my hands. I have been drinking every afternoon before my husband comes home. This is a new behavior for me.
To make matters worse, when I did reach out to a group of women at this small exclusive gym I belong to, I was ostracized. The women who go to this gym are upper middle class, mostly blonde, and extremely well toned. I come from the east coast. I am probably thirty pounds overweight. I feel judged by them and excluded. What should I do to make more friends? I love to dance and like those classes at the gym.
Clearly, your life lacks a purpose and you are filling this emptiness with alcohol. Quit the gym you are at and do some research. If you are only going to the dance classes, go check out dance classes in your community and see which ones resonate. I would also research other gyms to find one that feels the most comfortable to you.
Lastly, I would suggest also looking into some career counseling on what might be emerging as a new passion or vocation of destiny. For someone who does not have a history of alcoholism, an onset of alcohol dependence may be due to feeling a lack of engagement with fulfilling work. It is difficult to adjust to a new location and sometimes a job or becoming an entrepreneur may help with assimilating into your new community.