To Thine Own Self
I'm currently single and in my 40s. I can honestly say I've never been in love. I think if I had I would have married that person.
I have several very loving sisters, married with children, who would lovefor me to settle down. I've accepted that children aren't going to happen for me, but I would like to meet someone.
I recently started a relationship with a guy. He was everything I thought I'd be looking for: kind, loving, generous and successful. He fell in love with me and wanted to marry me. Unfortunately, while I recognized all his qualities, I didn't have "that feeling" about him, so I ended it.
He pursued me and, under pressure from him and my sisters, I went back several times only to finish things again and again. In essence, the relationship lasted longer than it should, had I trusted my own gut.
"What am I looking for?" I ask myself this and get the same question from my sisters. The answer is, I have no idea. On paper he was the perfect catch.
I've suffered from depression all my adult life and taken medication for 15 years. My condition, I believe, is under control. I can be over self-critical, lack confidence and my mood is sometimes low. However, I recognize this is part of depression and work hard to fight against it. I am otherwise generally happy, have a good job and social life.
Two sisters suggest my depression is the reason I'm not in a relationship. They act as if I'm writing guys off unreasonably due to expecting perfection. One sister begged me to seek Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
Could my sisters be right?
I feel in my gut they're wrong. I think I would recognize love. I also believe I'm not expecting a guy to be perfect. I know he will have faults, as I do.
Natasha, do you know your own mind? That's the question. It doesn't matter what anyone else says or does. What we feel is our reality. If you don't feel in love with a man, that is what it is.
Can you explain why one piece of music moves you and another doesn't? Why you like impressionism, but not realistic photography? Those differences can't be settled on a tally sheet.
It seems an odd thought that in your normal state of being you don't love a person, but you should do a form of therapy so you can. Getting you married seems to be on your sisters' to-do list. But just because CBT is the therapy du jour does not make it a good enough reason to go that route.
Doesn't it make more sense to say "I don't love him" than to reprogram yourself into being what someone else wants?
The symptoms you mention fit almost anyone. You sound less depressed and seem to have a better life than many of the people who write us without your diagnosis.
Let us suggest three things. First, go to a new, entirely different health care professional to confirm the reasonableness of your diagnosis and its prognosis. That will allow you to proceed from the basis of factual knowledge. Then stand on your own conclusions.
Second, if you are talking to your sisters about finding a man, stop. You are setting them off and magnifying your own feelings. If they bring up the topic, tell them it is now off-limits.
Finally, reverse the tables. Ask yourself, would I want a man who doesn't love me to marry me?
Your sisters did you a disservice sending you back to a man you weren't in love with. That hurt both of you. The option to marry the wrong man is always on the table, but having no shoes can be better than having shoes
that are too tight.
~ Wayne & Tamara
Column for the week of July 6, 2015
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