Shake off the lies

Joey laughed too hard at Seminar, a play at B Street Theatre.

My boyfriend broke up with me after I had a health crisis that resulted in my doctor saying that I cannot have children. My boyfriend says he loves me, but that he wants children of his own “the natural way.” I can’t eat or sleep. Part of me just wants to die. Before this, he and I were so tight. We planned to get engaged over the holidays. He said he talked to his mother, and she said I was “damaged.” She used to tell me that I was the daughter she never had. Is that how someone talks to a daughter? Please help me. My boyfriend won’t return my calls or texts.

Stop contacting him. By holding on after he has let go, you create an imbalance of power. He’s sitting pretty on a godlike pedestal. You’re groveling at the base, hoping for a crumb of attention. The desperate attempts to reach him add to your suffering. This is reality: He doesn’t have the power to wash the hurt away. No matter what he says, the betrayal persists. Only you have the power to heal yourself.

See your ex-boyfriend as he is—a man with a single vision for his future. It doesn’t matter what he said in the past or what he promised. Hear him now: The relationship is over. The end of any valued relationship feels like a death. You are grieving. The demise of shared dreams about the future, the loss of a man whose life was intertwined with yours, the change in identity from nearly engaged to single and a new awareness of your body—all of these shifts contribute to your sadness, but only because you are living in the past.

When you lie to yourself and say that life is not worth living, you teach yourself not to trust yourself (liars can’t be trusted, right?). Life, with its surprising twists and turns, is definitely worth living, I assure you. But the life you had before the breakup is not worth living, because it is over. Stop trying to resuscitate it. Create a fresh vision of who you are and what you are capable of achieving. Here’s how: Shake off the lie that you are damaged. Strip away the fear that there is one natural way to have children. Release, completely, the lie that this man was the right man for you. Choose to live brilliantly. A passel of new dreams awaits your energy and enthusiasm.

My girlfriend criticizes the way I am raising my son. She says he needs more structure. Maybe that’s true, but it’s become the thing we argue about most. My son is confused. I tell him one thing, and she tells him something else. We have been dating for three months and living together for two, because she lost her job and couldn’t afford where she was living. My household used to be peaceful. Now it’s a battleground. I love my girlfriend, but I don’t know what to do.

That’s easy: Be a parent. Your girlfriend probably has good intentions, but by stealing your authority, she births chaos and confusion. Dial the relationship back. If she cannot stop intervening, she must move out. Ah, but you love her. Well, if she loves you, she will want what is best for you and your child. Your job is not to be her financial savior. Your job is to raise your son well so he becomes a confident, capable, considerate, compassionate and intelligent young man. Exposing him to arguments between your girlfriend and you stunts his emotional growth. So, stop. Enroll yourself in parenting classes. Or better still, if you are low-income, contact the Relationship Skills Center (, and take one of its unique courses.

Meditation of the Week

To paraphrase the novelist Martin Amis, “Fame is the new religion.” Who do you worship? Who do you hope will admire you?