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Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5579
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Hi Kate! The last year has been rather stressing. Last christmas

Customer Question

Hi Kate!
The last year has been rather stressing. Last christmas I divorced my husband after 16 years of marriage and my wonderful old father died recently after 3-4 years of weakness and disease. At this point I am not out of balance as such, but I feel that I am rebuilding my life in many ways and that I need to work a lot to make my life work.

A couple of years ago I met a man and we got acquainted. Talking a lot and having a lot of fun. A fine friendship! Lots of sympathy. To be continued.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 3 years ago.

Hello, thank you for requesting my help.

 

It sounds like you have suffered a lot of loss. A divorce and losing your father are both very big losses.

 

Do you want my help with your grief or is there something else you feel you want to work on?

 

Kate

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Losing my reply all the time due to computer issues...

 

The death of my father is not in any way complex: I had a wonderful father in many ways and I love him, mourn him and miss him.

 

My ex husband is a wonderful father but a lousy husband. He is very passive (passive aggressive) and there is not other way forward than divorce. Still I have mixed emotions asking myself why on earth he couldn´t do better etc. etc. Grief, sadness, anger, feeling that I let myself down for not doing better with my life etc.

 

Continuing...

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Ask already mentioned I met a man a couple of years ago. Fine and funny friendship. He is in many ways brilliant, kind and mature. Gradually, just gradually he became a bit flirtatious and I just gradually fell in love with him a bit. He became increasingly flirtatious. At first I turned him down which he could handle, a bit later though we went to a concert together and he was very tense behaving very strangely. I was confused and ended up getting very drunk calling him in the evening saying both some very flirtations things and also telling him that he is an idiot (I am usually very calm in public and almost never drink).

I thought that then we would talk things over but no...

 

Continuing

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

We kept seeing each other for a while, but it has not been possible to sit down together and talk. We were both in loveless relationships. Long story: He and his girlfriend left each other since she wanted kids and he didn´t. After a while she was suddenly pregnant which I believe was not an accident... OOps! He keeps his own flat and supports her and the child. I think that the situation is very complex since she is very passive and leaves everything to him even if she made the choice to have a kid without his consent.

 

So we have two mature, intelligent people suddenly behaving like teenagers. Both in loveless relationships, both suddenly experiencing friendship and mutual sympathy and falling in love. He has told me that he also likes me. To make a long story short:

Lots of emotions but no emotional closure. A bit of chaos, he wanted us to wait a bit and then talk later on, but this was also impossible.

 

Both he and I have been rather affected by the situation.

 

Well, this is only the second time in my life that I fall in love like this. I realize that I am not in a position to enter a relationship right now. I even realize that as an attractive woman I may easily find more suitable candidates for my love when my situation is more stable. But I find it very difficult to let go of this man. I don´t need him in my life as such, but I really like him. I also realize that there are many other issues in my life right now, still I find it difficult to reduce my emotions to nothing even if I feel a bit embarassed and a bit of an idiot to fall in love with a man who is obviously too troubled to manage the situation, at least right now.

 

I find it difficult to reduce this incident to a matter of emotional dysfunction even if both he and I are rather troubled at this point. We may both be vulnerable, still I believe that the mutual sympathy is genuine.

 

I haven´t seen him for 4-5 months but I find it very difficult to find emotional closure. I am very disappointed that he could not at least manage to sit down with me and talk things over and a part of my basic confidence in other people has been damaged a bit. The confidence that even if you cannot manage to get together it is still possible to at least sit down together and talk a bit, and find a solution, mutual understanding.

 

How do I find some kind of closure? Do I wait a bit, stabilize my own situation and then approach him to see if it is possible to talk later on. I feel like a fool - an experienced, mature and bright woman suddenly sobbing like a teenager. I manage my life very well, I am just so sad that he and I could not sit down together, talk things over and "forgive and forget". Understanding what happened, forgiving each other, laughing a bit together etc. I find it so difficult to find the right shelf in which to place all these emotions...

 

Best regards

 

The mature teenager

 

 

Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 3 years ago.

Thanks for the extra information. It helps.

 

I'm not sure that placing this on a shelf is a good idea. This is something that was good happening to you after a lot of loss. Even if your father's death and your divorce were things you were alright with and worked through on your own, it still would affect you. Having a new love, someone who makes you feel like a teenager, would be a welcome feeling. It would give you a feeling of new life, a new beginning. To have it end so abruptly and without time to process it would be a huge blow.

 

This sounds like grief. You are faced again with trying to work through another loss. It can make you feel overwhelmed, angry and sad. Plus, there is unfinished business with you and this man and that can make the grief worse. And there is his other life which complicates things even worse.

 

To get closure, this is something you will need to work through, unfortunately without the man you need to talk with. You can do this by working slowly and being open about how you feel.

 

One good way is to write out how you feel. Write your boyfriend a letter, not to mail, but to keep for yourself. Say everything you feel, don't hold back. Revise as you need to and add to it as you need to.

 

Another is to talk to a therapist. Working this out is not something you need to do alone. Having support is important in dealing with loss. You can talk with your doctor for a referral or if you attend church, your pastor can help. You can also search on line at http://www.therapytribe.com/Therapists/Denmark.

 

Although you are familiar with grief, this is a different kind of loss than before. Understanding what makes it different and learning more about how you feel can help you heal. Here are some resources to help:

 

How to Survive the Loss of a Love by Peter McXXXXX, XXXXX H. Bloomfield and Melba Colgrove

 

Recovering from Losses of Life by H. Norman Wright and Norman H. Wright

 

You can find these books on Amazon.com or your local library may have them for you.

 

Remember, give yourself time. You need to be good to yourself. Try to get out often, be with friends, treat yourself to something special like a getaway with friends. It will take time to feel better. But you will.

 

Kate

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi again, Kate!

 

Thank you for the answer!

 

I believe that you interpret my situation correctly! It is certainly important that I give myself plenty of time to heal. Acceptance of what you feel right now and allowing yourself not to be efficient or balanced all the time are major clues to healing.

 

Speaking of my boyfriend XXX: I struggle to understand why this mature, intelligent, competent man has not even been able to sit down with me and talk things over. I realize that our friendship gradually became romantic adding to the complexity. I also realize that when he is unable to sit down and talk to me it is probably due to the fact that he is very much affected by the situation.

 

Why does this mature and brillant man behave like this? Maybe because he was hit by the same teenage emotions? I believe that he would usually be able to deal with a situation like this but that he is unable to do so at this point since he is under a lot of pressure in his personal life right now.

 

As already stated there has been no emotional closure to all this. For me a friendship would be a fine option! Talking things over briefly, agreeing that what happened was beautiful but unfortunately impossible at this point. Giving each other a little time and then meeting again as friends? He has told me that he was struggling and a bit out of balance. I replied by writing to him (among others) that even if we had a bit of chaos I basically it was a pleasure meeting him and that I was hoping at one point to be able to return to him some of the joy I had experienced meeting him. So no harsh words or anythink like thatSmile

 

 

Do you think that at one point I may call him and ask if he feels that he has more balance in his life so we could meet and just close of things? With my daughter and his son playing in the garden he may be certain that I am not planning to rape him Innocent ... I may ask him if he would honestly like to do so now or maybe in half a year? Be open - tell him that I appreciate our friendship, that I have no expectations or demands whatsoever, but that I am sad and confused not to be able to really understand what happened since we were friends for a long time and really got to know each other very well. But maybe it is not my emotions that he is afraid of but his own? I don´t want more complexity in my life at this point, on the other hand I don´t think that it would be such a big thing to do to call and ask him if I am totally honest and explicit about my intentions and ask him if he feels better and can do this now or maybe in half a year or so? I don´t want to bring anything bad to either him or me - still it would be sooo good to laugh a bit together and yes - forgive and forget!!!

 

I just hate that things have to be so complex when life is so short and precious and certainly none of us has done anything that is unforgivable, I believe.

 

Looking forward to recieveing your reply!

 

Best regards

 

Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 3 years ago.

There would be nothing wrong with you contacting him and saying goodbye. It is not the best idea to get in deeper than that, because you don't want to say anything that would give him a reason not allow your relationship to continue sometime in the future. But saying a simple goodbye and that you enjoyed the time you had together would be ok. Also, you can add that you are open to hearing from him again in the future. Keep it simple and light. That way, you leave the door open.

 

Kate

 

 

 

If you have found my answers helpful, please consider pressing accept so I am reimbursed for my work. Thank you!!

Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5579
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC and 2 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi again!

 

This is what I have done already - ! I know that there is some risk that a meeting would end in a conflict which would make me very sad - no reason for that!

 

I do understand your point very well and would like to discuss this further with you. Just now I am enjoying the company of my daughter so I will accept the answer and probably ask a new question later on in the evening, when she is asleep Smile .

Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 3 years ago.

Sounds good. Thank you for the accept. I look forward to talking with you again!

 

Kate

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

For Kate McCoy:
Hi again Kate!
We were discussing a lot of issues lately.
It is true that I am rather ambivalent in relation to my boyfriend and you seem to get to the point very quickly! I believe that both he and I have been truely affected by our meeting and this is important! He has not been dishonest and I believe that he has been doing the best he could under the circumstances. I think that the same can be said about me.
So yes, it is true that I have experienced some very precious and beautiful emotions and that this IS precious and beautiful even if it has ALSO been a bit complex.

I recently lost my father and as I think I mentioned that this is very simple and clear: I love him, I miss him! When I became a mother at 41 after years of struggling to become pregnant I was so happy, it was SO simple and clear: I just adored the most beautiful baby girl in the world. I believe that emotionally such experiences are rare.

I am sure of one thing in relation to my boyfriend: He is honest since he has also been honest when he has been dealing with things that I may not like to hear. He has indicated that he likes me a lot but he is dealing with difficult issues in relation to his child and the mother: The basic message has been: Not now! I am overwhelmed and troubled. But I honestly like you a lot and would like us to be a couple some time in the future if possible.

If I look back I am happy to see that both he and I have both been irrational and very much affected by the situation, so I cannot say that he is to blame or that I have been a complete fool even if we have both been slightly silly.

Basically I believe that my question to you was: Hmmm, I met this man and suddenly, unexpectedly we both experienced friendship, sympathy, and after a while something more. I realise that in many ways he is not the most obvious candidate for my affections but still this is what happened.

I believe that what I need to do right now is to say a passionate YES to whatever I experience inside of me. This does not mean, however, that I jump into something without thinking of the consequences. You are right in suggesting that it is very likely that an actual meeting with my boyfriend at this point may cause a lot of distress to both parties since both he and I are troubled by other matters at present. So dealing with any deeper issues between him and me would most likely cause more harm than good.

Losing my father has made me feel like being honest to myself as well as to other people and a bit more courageous. Being emotionally courageous may not be the same as running unnecessary risks or behaving irresponsibly but simply to be brave enough to contain whatever you experience. I believe that both my boyfriend and I were scared by our meeting: It is always risky to let somebody else touch your heart deeply and this is what happened to both of us and yes: Ultimately, even if he may suddenly be dead this would still be a beautiful experience.

So what I may do is the following: Keep all this alive inside me and continue to rebuild my life. Bump into him somehow within a year or so when I am more balanced and try to figure out discretely how he is doing and if at that point we can be friends or maybe something more? I find it difficult to say to myself that this was nothing, on the other hand I am afraid what may happen if I proceed right now.

What do you think of this?

Best regards
Tine

 

Optional Information:
Gender: Female
Age: 48

Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 3 years ago.

It sounds like you feel this man has been honest and open with you. Honesty is such an important trait in a good relationship. In my experience, if a relationship can have honesty and trust, it will be a good and steady relationship no matter what happens to the couple. If this is what you have with this man, then this is a relationship worth hanging onto even if you cannot have it right now.

 

Your courage to put yourself out there and take on challenges is very inspiring. I think with what you have been through, you have learned that loss can create a strength that makes you able to face difficulties and see them in a new light. It is a bold risk, but a good one, to put yourself out there and try to find the things in life that make you happy. You sound like you have a very clear and well thought out view of this whole situation.

 

Waiting for this man to work through his problems is certainly an option. If you feel very strongly that this relationship is the one, then it will be worth the wait. But you are also smart to work on rebuilding your life. Leave your options open. What you don't want to have reserved yourself for this relationship only to find your friend has moved on. Keep in touch with him casually if you feel it would be ok. His life should allow for brief emails if he is willing. Or keep track at a distance if that works better. If you feel proceeding right now is not a good idea, go with your gut. You know yourself and the situation best of all.

 

Kate

Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5579
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC and 2 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Dear Kate!

 

Thanks for the answer and your confidence in me. I believe that what I was looking for was some kind of acceptance and room for my mixed emotions in relation to my boyfriend. I really do want a relationship with him but this means relationship in the broadest sense possible:

 

I am not in a position to enter a new relationship just now. I really like this PERSON. This does not mean that I need to sleep with him or to have him as my boyfriend. But I hate if somebody that I like and get to know very well disappears from my life after a long friendship. I also hate when it is not possible to be clear and open -

 

For ME the best thing would be to talk to him or write this to him openly and honestly: No demands, no requests, no reproaching but just a wish to keep this person in my life since HE matters. I don´t need him, but I like him - also as a friend.

 

I HATE all the pretending, all the cramps! I know, also because he says so himself, that he is scared of me - scared his own emotions?- he has told me on several occasions that he likes me both as a friend and person and as a woman. But honestly, I do not want him right now - I don´t want anybody right now! Still I like this person and would like the friendship or at least some kind of opening -

 

Since I have no hidden agenda the best thing for me would be to just tell him openly that this is where I am: I like you, I may consider you as my boyfriend when I am a bit more settled after my divorce and the death of my father, but I do not necessarily need you - still we may promise each other a friendship - or maybe agree to meet in a certain place next year to talk or - - - anything but this strange situation in which he is much too scared of me - - - .

 

Laughing a bit: In all, I am a nice and peaceful person, also, in the opinion of other people, a quite strong person! Well, I sometimes think that you may just tie so many knots on yourself and still nobody gets what they want. SInce I do not necessarily want that much he may soon be albe to give me what I want? I think that just maybe this is much closer to what he wants than I think?

 

I will accept your answer and hope for a brief reply and I will probably get back to you when I get back from my holiday that begins tomorrowCool'

 

Best regards

Tine

 

 

 

 

 

Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 3 years ago.

Hi Tine,

 

Being scared of you may be just his way of not knowing how to respond to you. You are very open with your feelings and sometimes others cannot handle that well. They are not used to it and may feel that it threatens their ability to hide their emotions.

 

It's ok to contact him and tell him what you said. The only thing I would suggest changing is mentioning considering him as a boyfriend. You can certainly say it still but just in a different way. Maybe say that you would like to be his friend with the potential to be more later, or something to that effect. It may be a better way to approach him this way if he is feeling afraid of you. I know that is less direct, but sometimes you just have to work around someone who needs to be less direct.

 

I understand your need to be more direct. It is sometimes very frustrating to have to find words that go around a meaning rather than just saying it outright. But sometimes people need less so they can deal better with their feelings.

 

It is wonderful that you feel so positive about your friend that you are willing to have him in your life even just as a friend. That says a lot about who he is and about who you are as a person.

 

Have a great holiday! I hope it is fun and relaxing.

 

Take care,

Kate

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for this nice answer

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Tine

Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 3 years ago.

You're welcome! Have a good time.

 

Kate

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Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC
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