It Is Possible To Change Your Relationship Patterns
Dear Neil: Recently I lost my job of nine years, my beautiful home, my cat, my possessions, and my boyfriend of four years dumped me.
They say time heals all wounds, but I wonder about some of the scars that are on my heart. When I was a little girl, my father left and never came back. As a result, I began selecting men like my father, who would abandon me. In fact, I have given up on finding a man who will not abandon me.
After tragedy, people have two paths they can take: learn and grow, and turn the experience into an opportunity, or self-destruct. Basically, after a loss, you need time to grieve and sort things through. And then you must, as difficult as it may be, take action to turn the situation around.
Confidential in Denver
Dear Confidential: Thank you for your heartfelt letter. May I inquire, however, why you are resigned to forever repeat your past with the men you are now choosing to be involved with?
It is possible to make peace with your past, to overcome your fears of abandonment and change your relationship patterns with men. You could choose a man who is emotionally available, and who is able to commit to a relationship with you.
Otherwise, you’re turning your history into an expectation, and your past then really does become a self-fulfilling prophesy for your future. Find yourself a good psychotherapist who can guide you to confront your past and to choose healthier men.
Dear Neil: My fiancee and I have been together for about three years. About a year ago we bought a home together. The dilemma is that I can’t seem to get him to take an active share in the house and yard work. We both have full time jobs. I am also raising three kids, and am carrying a part-time job to help make ends meet.
My kids help me with the housework as much as they can, but I am exhausted trying to keep up with it all, and frustrated that I can’t get him to do his fair share.
My oldest son, who is seventeen, pretty much has taken over the role of “man of the house.” I have tried reasoning, compromising and refusing to do the work, but nothing has succeeded, and now it’s gotten to the point where I find myself being very angry and resentful. He is a good man, and we seem to have a good
relationship, but he is lazy.
This is causing me to reconsider the issue of marriage. How can I get him to wake up and understand that this problem is doing damage to the relationship?
His part-time mother and servant
Dear Part-Time Servant: Your impending marriage is in grave jeopardy, unless you are willing to lay it on the line and confront the dilemma that the relationship you want may not be the same relationship he wants.
Let him know that you have very strong feelings about this subject, which are causing you to reconsider your future plans with him. Then clearly describe what it is you are wanting and asking for.
Have it out with him on this subject now, before marriage. You will have less influence and power after marriage.