Ask Joey: Convenient diversions
I met a 40-year-old man online, and he asked me out for dinner. He lives out of town, but drove up to take me out. We had an amazing date. He kept saying how happy and lucky he was to have met me. When he was leaving, he kissed me goodnight and hugged me like I was the love of his life. Then he told me that he was able to meet because he was headed to Tahoe. He planned to stay in a cabin with a group of mostly younger women. He had not met any of them yet but answered an ad on Craigslist that said they needed one more person to share a ski cabin. Two weeks have passed with no word from him. I really thought this guy and I had potential.
Don’t use one date to dive into the murky waters of misery. Yes, you and this guy had potential. It was fulfilled by the date. Be grateful! He sounds like a man after this own heart. Dinner with you was a convenient diversion on the way to his destination. His objective, a few nights in a cabin with complete strangers, tells you a lot about his character. He may have snapped up the room share because it fit his finances. He could be a ski junkie. Or he imagined playing the leading man in a ski-babe fantasy. Does it matter? Not at all! Your life intersected with his for a few hours. The experience allowed you to scout out a few more qualities to develop further in yourself and to seek in a man worthy of a long-term commitment. Let it be that simple.
My wife has had two miscarriages, but she wants to keep trying to have a baby. Both of those losses were devastating for us. She was depressed for so long, I thought I would never get her back. I have tried to tell her that I don’t want to keep trying, but she doesn’t hear me at all. I love her, but I spend a lot of time thinking about leaving. I don’t know what to do.
Sweetheart, you are depressed and understandably so. You have suffered the devastating loss of children you planned for and welcomed into your life. You are also burdened by the ruptured intimacy in your marriage. Your wife’s desire for children has temporarily deafened her to your needs. This is not a situation that can be resolved without a neutral third party to help you sort through the pain. Working with a competent marriage therapist, you and your wife can rediscover the capacity to pursue a path together. Without support, you will likely continue to see each other as obstacles instead of partners. That behavior leads couples to divorce. Your inclination is to leave hints in that direction, but don’t abandon your marriage. Invest yourself in surrendering to the messy task of loving someone who, at the moment, is difficult to love. Yes, I mean you. And, yes, I mean your wife, too.
You often write about the importance of close friendships with people of the opposite sex. When I try to establish that kind of relationship, it always fails. What am I doing wrong?
Nothing, it’s just a learning curve for some of us. So practice these principles: 1. See each other sans gender. You are human beings first and female or male second. 2. You must treat each other as equals. 3. Interact beyond stereotypes. Each of you can initiate plans, for example, or pay. 4. Abstain from sexual activity together. Sex interrupts the rhythm of friendship, sprinkling expectations, jealousies and emotions that have no place in a platonic friendship.