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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5334
Experience:  Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology in private practice
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Feeling confused, lonely and generally untrusting of people.

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Feeling confused, lonely and generally untrusting of people. Experienced loss of my uncle, mother and aunt within a month last summer. Encountered retirement earlier (this year) than planned. Also long-time mistress decided to terminate our seven year relationship at about the same time.
My issues are exacerbated by fact that I don't have any true buddies/friends. Would be greatful for insight you can lend.

Hi! I believe I can be of help with this issue.

First, let me say I can imagine how frustrating and devastating this situation must be for you. You are clearly in an extended period of grieving. And you need to accept this and work within this reality and truth. Please accept my condolences on your loss of your mother, your uncle, and aunt. And the loss of your 7 year relationship is a loss needing grieving as well. Wow, that's really a lot all at once. I'm very sorry that you're going through this difficult time.

Grief is not an experience that follows a set schedule. There is no way to predict how long you will be feeling it intensely. If you feel it is preventing you from moving on in your life, then indeed, it may be useful to you to seek professional counseling. Working with a psychotherapist to deal with the losses and the feelings of grief may help you feel more at ease and whole and complete. But that's for you to decide.

And along with grief:

Take the time to think about yourself, life, the future. What you want your life to be like. What values you want to live your life by now that you've reached this new time in your life of retirement. How you want to approach people, women, yourself. What's meaningful to you?

Because time IS going to move in the future direction even though you are retired and truly on your own now that your relatives have passed on and your mistress has left. She is no longer going Ms. Right for you so let's focus on finding Ms. Right. But at the same time let's use the same discussion to help in building a wider social base of friends. So let's focus on the goals, strategies, and plans you need to work on as you move on in finding Ms. Right and use it also for friends.

Now for your life. Why do I say your life? Because you have to treat finding Ms. Right as part of living YOUR life. You are not looking simply for sexual gratification. You are looking for a human being who will want to share her life with you and who will value who you are and will be attracted to you.

That's why we're going to focus on goals, strategies, and plans. I want you to take a sheet of paper or on the computer if you prefer and on that paper write your Healthy Relationship Goals. Examples: make 3 close friends in the next 3 months; or go on dates with interesting women at least 2-4 times in the next 3 months, etc. Because the more social you are, the more you build your ability to express yourself socially instead of just career wise, the more you will feel comfortable expressing yourself to Ms. Right on a date.

Next, I need you to take another sheet or underneath the goals in the same sheet write Strategies for my Healthy Relationship Goals. For each of the Goals, I want you to write strategies. For example, if your goal is to go out 4 times in 3 months, strategies might be: I want to identify the type of interests women you'd be interested in would have. Then I want to ask yourself where would they go to fulfill those interests. For example, if an interesting woman needs to be someone who is into fitness, then he would be a member of a fitness club. If she needs to like art, then she would be a member of the Art Museum and go to gallery openings. If she needs to be spiritually oriented, then she might need to be attending church or a meditation class.

Then, you need to write on a separate piece of paper or underneath each Goal and Strategy: Plans for how to succeed with your strategies. So to continue the example above, you might write: my plan is to go to the 6 most popular fitness studios and check them out to see what their membership looks like and what kind of activities are there. Or for art, I plan to join the Art Museum and to go to an art opening at a gallery at least twice per month and maybe 3 times. Or if you are interested in religion, checking out 3 congregations for active ones that have social events.

These are examples of strategies and plans. I'm trying to focus you on your life interests. What do you want to do to further your having a meaningful life? Remember, Ms. Right needs to fit into what's meaningful to you, so look for him in activities that bring out what's meaningful in your life.

So as I said, these same goals, strategies, and plans are important for building a base of friends in your life. What are the things that matter to you?

So just thinking about these goals, strategies, and plans is important for you at this time.

Okay, I wish you the very best!

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