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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 5107
Experience:  Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology helping with relationships
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My dad was diagnosed with cancer back in March. Thankfully

Resolved Question:

My dad was diagnosed with cancer back in March. Thankfully he is now in remission. Obvisouly during this time we have not been able to do things and bond the way we always have during our father/son bondings. Coming up in November is a hunting trip that he will be attending and would be wonderful bonding time with him. The only hold back is for me to decide on rather or not to go; is my wife's H.S. reunion is that same weekend. I asked her what she wanted me to do, and she said I can not give you an answer. I know if I went with my Dad, she'd be mad and visa versa. Hence I am stuck between a rock and a hard place.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 9 months ago.

Dr. Mark :

Hi! I'll be glad to help you with this issue.

Dr. Mark :

This does feel like a no win situation and I can see that it feels awful. I agree.

Dr. Mark :

What is your dad's relationship with your mom, or his wife if she's not your mom?

Customer:

My dad's relationship with my mom is his wife they've been married for 35 years.

Dr. Mark :

And would he want to hurt her, for example, in order not to hurt you?

Dr. Mark :

If his wife needed him by her side in a stressful reunion situation (they really are), would he go with you instead?

Dr. Mark :

I'm just trying to understand more about him.

Customer:

I could'nt see him upsetting her to make me happy, but I could see him doing something to make us both happy.

Dr. Mark :

If he were in this situation you're in, how would he do something to make both you and his wife happy? What would he do, do you think?

Customer:

I can't think of an example.

Dr. Mark :

I understand, but I like your principle a lot

Dr. Mark :

I'm leaning with you going with your wife. This is because she's your #1 person, love, and responsibility. That's what marriage is about. But,

Dr. Mark :

what about using your principle and explaining to your dad how broken up you are about missing the hunting trip and seeing if you can afford a trip somewhere for a weekend with him a different time?

Dr. Mark :

Hi, do you need more time to reply?

Customer:

That's a good thought, I just now how he is feeling, and this would mean the world to him, as this is the first time he is actually able to get out and do something.

Dr. Mark :

Yes, that's true. But it means everything to your wife as well, you've told me. The only difference is that she didn't have a scare. She is not looking at this scare

Dr. Mark :

as being something that makes showing your love to your father more urgent.

Dr. Mark :

But you know, the more I argue her side, the more you'll argue your dad's side. Should we switch sides? You'll argue why you should go to the reunion and I'll argue for the hunting trip?

Customer:

You know I guess what's makin this soo difficult is, she'll emphasize her disappointment before i go somewhere or do something; but this time she can't give me an answer or an opinion.

Dr. Mark :

She's not unique in that: women feel very much in need of their husband affirming that they are special to him. No matter how long they're married.

Dr. Mark :

But shall we switch sides now?

Customer:

Ok, yea.

Dr. Mark :

Okay. You know your dad is going to feel like your love is only skin deep.

Customer:

Love for him or my wife?

Dr. Mark :

For him.

Dr. Mark :

Right?

Customer:

No I think its more than skin deep and I think he knows that.

Dr. Mark :

But he will not be able to forgive you, it'll hurt him so much if you don't go.

Customer:

I would'nt go that far.

Dr. Mark :

But he wouldn't be able to forgive you if you would tell him you couldn't come because your wife is very nervous about her reunion and wants you there with her and so you

Dr. Mark :

would like to take him on a special father/son weekend a different time. Right?

Customer:

I told him about the reunion and he said, "I'd rather you be on the hunting trip, but it's up to you."

Dr. Mark :

Right. We can't make the situation different: someone is going to be disappointed. Who do you feel you have a bigger responsibility to, then?

Customer:

My wife.

Dr. Mark :

So, I need you then to not feel overwhelmed by disappointing your dad. Yes, it hurts,

Dr. Mark :

It would hurt me about the same as you, I think, because I can empathize with what you're going through

Dr. Mark :

But you have to accept that you're adults and you have responsibilities to your priorities. That you're now a man with a wife.

Dr. Mark :

And that's why I liked your principle so much: you know you're going to disappoint him, but make the disappointment smaller. What do you think?

Customer:

What happens if I tell you that I said i could go and then we found out about the reunion. Which is the order the events occurred.

Dr. Mark :

I would ask you what it does to the answer to the question I asked above: We can't make the situation different: someone is going to be disappointed. Who do you feel you have a bigger responsibility to, then?

Customer:

Telling him I could go already kind of makes me feel like him. What do you think?

Dr. Mark :

First, I have to tell you one more time how hard this is; I wish you didn't have to be in this position.

Dr. Mark :

What will your wife say, and have you not told her this information?

Customer:

Well she knows everything.

Dr. Mark :

So, this hasn't changed her mind. Are you leaning toward asking her if you could make it up to her by taking her on a special trip? And going with your father?

Customer:

Yeah, but it would'nt be the same, because it wasn't her reunion.

Customer:

With all of her friends.

Dr. Mark :

Right, but we're coming to the crunch moment: with each turn of our discussion, you've gotten to the same point: neither one wants to give you up. So you have to decide.

Dr. Mark :

So, when you look at it this way, who would you rather not disappoint and who will you propose the alternative trip to?

Dr. Mark :

Yes, I know this is the toughest question there is.

Dr. Mark :

But here you are. What do you think?

Customer:

This is something I might have to sleep over.

Dr. Mark :

Okay, I can imagine that could be good. But I want you to remember: you can't blame yourself is the first rule. You're sad you can't be in 2 places, but you can't be. Second, you love each of them. And there's no measuring your love.

Dr. Mark :

Third, that you want to have the closeness with each of them and so you're going to do the second best thing for both of them:

Dr. Mark :

one is going to get your presence there and the other later. But they both know that you want to be in both places.

Dr. Mark :

So sleep on it and know that I'm on your side either way.


Okay, I wish you the very best!


 


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Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 5107
Experience: Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology helping with relationships
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