Can't find the right one!

 

Can't find the right one!

QUESTION:

your avatar   Martina (36 year-old woman)

I am single, never married and had the story of my first relationship end when he suddenly died. Since then I haven't been able to build a permanent relationship. I haven't had confidence in myself and as a result have been picking the wrong men. Now I feel more secure but I still need some advice about what would be important for me to consider in order to meet someone who is willing to establish a permanent relationship and who won't run away instantly. Sometimes I feel so insecure about couple relationships, especially me being in a relationship. I hope that with these words I have made myself understood.

ANSWER:

    Brenda Kofford, LMHC

Dear Martina,

Within the brief writing of your concerns, I imagined you as a woman who experiences life deeply and personally, who has a desire to be in a mature adult relationship, and who has the ability to question if her actions will lead her towards her desires.

Your writing seemed to describe a number of important issues. That is,

  1. You have experienced one of the profound of all sorrows. The death of a loved one and the loss of an emotional relationship.

  2. You have experienced a number of painful relationships since this death.

  3. When you do a personal inventory of yourself, you are blind to your unique and positive qualities.

  4. You are uncertain about how to build and/or maintain a relationship that gifts you with what you need as well as what you want to give.

  5. You seem to believe that if you allow yourself to be emotionally connected with another person the relationship will end, either through the feelings, thoughts, or actions of yourself or the other.

The death of a loved one is the most profound of all sorrows. Making and maintaining relationships are noted to be very important to the psychological health of women, therefore, many women experience some degree of depression after a loss or a separation. Consequently, I wonder if there is something in the "story" of your first relationship that is keeping you in the past and is seeking some form of reconciliation.

There is no one definitive answer as to what can help a woman resolve what holds her in the past so she is more free to be present in her today and to define her tomorrows. Yet, the following have been found useful for many women:

  • To have someone (a family member, a friend, therapist, support group) that will give you the space and time to speak about life, dying, and death.

  • To allow yourself to feel the range of feelings (anger, sadness, guilt, shame, fear, disgust, aversion, and yes, even joy and intrigue) that are associated with the losses in your life and to think through those feelings. Remember there is a difference between feeling feelings in order to think through them and having feelings, mindlessly, direct our lives.

  • To have a place or way to safely feel your feelings; e.g., physical exercise, journal writing, dancing, music, support groups, etc.

  • To be invested in activities; such as, planting, sewing, drawing, studying, etc., that nourishes the creative aspect of yourself.

  • To become involved in an organization (church, social club, non-profit organization) in such a way that you are able to share your personal strengths/interest.

It is my belief that the relationship we have with ourselves is reflected in the relationships we have with others -- be it family members, peers, partners, or a higher power. Therefore, invest in developing a positive and nurturing relationship with yourself. Create a relationship with yourself that is committed to validating your human strengths, accepting your human limitations, defining what it is you need for yourself, and knowing what part of your life you want to share with another person. This movement towards knowing and respecting yourself will help you gain knowledge about what it is that builds and maintains mature relationships.

One final note, moving beyond grief is a journey that can only be undertaken with one small step at a time. Consequently, if you are feeling fragile or if you believe that your actions may result in you hurting yourself or someone else, please arrange to see a health provider as soon as possible.

Recommended readings:

Brenda Kofford

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