Bury the stinking carcass of your old relationship

By Joey Garcia, who encourages you to improve your love life by getting over your fear of death.

I’m dating a married man. OK, it gets worse: He’s my boss. I read your column every week, and I know that you are completely against affairs, but his wife puts him down, calls him names and tries to control everything. I love him and he loves me. He says that I’m the only good thing in his life. He wants to leave his wife but can’t, financially and because of the kids. I know he will marry me when everything gets worked out, but I am anxious. I want to get married, but I don’t want to bug him and be another stressor in his already difficult life.

Oh, honey! When I was growing up, I listened to Luther Ingram belting out his soulful signature song, “If Loving You is Wrong, I Don’t Want to Be Right,” but knew it was just chords and lyrics, not the soundtrack I wanted for my life. Comprende? Those big, dramatic emotions feel like love, but (you’d better sit down for this) they are just big, dramatic emotions. Not love. Let me tell you a wake-up time story: I have a friend who stayed in a long-dead marriage too long. His wife was sometimes verbally abusive and he was often passive-aggressive and very irresponsible with finances. One day he found himself inexplicably attracted to a consultant for his company, many years his senior. They went to coffee, talked for hours and he realized he needed a divorce. He went home and told his wife. He moved out, filed for divorce and began dating the woman he had coffee with. They’re blissfully married now. That’s a modern example of love—for oneself, one’s partner and one’s love interest. He ended his marriage before embarking on a new relationship.

If your boss loved his children, he would not expose them to an abusive marriage. If he loved himself, he would think himself worthy of a relationship of mutual respect and kindness. If he ever loved his wife, he would not view her as all evil and you as all good. So, if you want to get married, end the affair, quit your job and find a man who is honest and available.

How long does it take for an individual to get over a relationship before s/he can get into another relationship and be mentally stable?

Mourning the death of a committed, long-term, dating relationship generally requires one to three months. For a marriage, it’s four months to one year. But these are averages and frankly, I flunked math. The actual period depends on how honest the couple has been with each other and themselves about the end of their intimacy (physical, emotional, spiritual and mental). The higher the rate of deception on either person’s part, the longer the process of healing for both. While mourning, it’s important to spend time alone, especially if doing so makes you uncomfortable. If you can’t enjoy your own company, you will rush to fill it with any warm body or addictive substances and behaviors. Instead, devote time to hanging with friends and to seeing a counselor to smooth the rough edges of your emotions. (Recovery-from-breakup hint: Your friends are not the best therapists, so be an adult and invest money in the real thing.) Also, avoid dating and stay away from hooking up with a stranger or your ex. Don’t troll Internet dating sites and resist joining. Without a proper period of mourning, you will drag the stinking carcass of your old relationship into any new one you attempt to establish, ruining the possibilities of a happily-ever-after for yourself and for the person you are dating.

Meditation of the Week

I was standing at the jukebox in the Raven the other night when the guy next to me yelled, “Hey, Billy, which one should I play?” It seems that for Billy Blackburn’s birthday, the bartender placed <i>Defiant</i>, Billy’s CD, in the jukebox. How do you celebrate the accomplishments of your friends and customers?