Help! my girlfriend is a Psychotherapist!
by Jerome Andrews
Thank you for your time Dr.
I have fallen in love with a woman that turns out to be a Psychotherapist in real life. The connection is more than strong as we are from the same place and have had almost exactly the same life experiences. Both professionally, spiritually and in our personal relations. We met through a friend and it was Love at first breath it seemed. Over this year, we did fall in Love and things have moved fairly quickly. We began to both speak in terms of "Finally finding the one we could let into our hearts and trust," the first person that had given us the long sought after "Feeling of home." During this time, with several visits and many hours spent talking on the phone, she started to tell me that there had been many men that had fallen in love with her, but she not in return. She told of her father teasing her relentlessly and telling her he wanted a boy instead of her. How she'd only revived their relationship a few short years ago, and how she had ask him why he had treated her that way. He told her it was because "She could take it." She told him that her whole life had been ruined and that she had hated him for most of her adult life. And although married several times, it had made it near impossible to have good relationships and positive outcomes with men.
In addition, she was a middle daughter and spoke of pain from that, but as I listened, I could hear between her stories of being cheated on by husbands, date rape(s) and of being under appreciated for most of her life, with her mother included in her detractors, that there was a lifetime worth of pain being carried. Initially I believed and saw that those burdens were being carried with grace and a brilliant awareness that amazed me - but alas, I am here because of the affects of those damages. And certainly not to throw stones from the glass house in which I reside.
Before I tell you how this all affected me, let me first say: She is, by far, one of the most loving angels I've ever met. She cares for everyone and gives love to all she touches. (Mostly 12 to 16 year old girls in the CPS system) She is a driven person that bikes 50 miles a week, if she can, jogs almost every day and by her own admission, always has too many projects going. She admits that it overwhelms her and that she is in an almost constant state of anxiety. Not to over simplify, because I do Love her very much, but at this point, I am trying to figure out if I want to chase her as she runs from her problems or does she want me to chase her - but here's the event!
The time spent with her has been the most emotionally rewarding time in my life. It was the most loving time I have ever experienced with anyone. We laughed and talked about anything and everything but also about moving in together and starting this great new life. During this last visit she sobbed deeply and told me that she was finally giving her complete heart to me, and that it was with total trust in our future that she did so. I came home to pack for the move back in three weeks, but when I got home, and opened my email, I was astonished to find a letter from her, telling me that she didn't think we were the right match at all and that our backgrounds were too dissimilar to mesh for the long run. I was devastated but soon found out that my phone had also been blocked from calling her. Keep in mind - no hint or clue at all! and certainly nothing I'd done to give cause for blocking my attempt to communicate with her. This is a girl that kissed me for ten minutes before I boarded the plane and couldn't wait for my return. Everything was perfect - or - right up until it wasn't anyhow!! Needless to say, I'm blown away!
My first question is ego driven it seems, but: 1. Does the theory that the "Best" love and best match for her have more potential to hurt her the most, and therefore she is running, hold any water? - Or 2. Does the combination of her own neurosis prevent her from taking a chance on Love ever again. Or 3. Was it a test or a defensive mechanism, or is she simply waiting for someone strong enough to push through all of her walls, see her true heart, and Love her for who and how she is?
Jerome, to answer your questions - All of the Above. She's obviously terrified of being hurt again. And letting her guard down with you, as she has, brought her to a new level of fear. If all your relationships suck to begin with - then when they don't work out - it's not so devastating. But when you give your whole heart to someone, if they end up cheating on your, abusing you or leaving you - it can be agonizing.
Should you chase her? Maybe. Only you can know. Just don't stalk her, please! But if you really love her, you owe it to yourself and to her to not give up on her so easily. Prove to her that you are serious, but respect her boundaries. If she breaks through her fear and can commit - it will be well worth your persistence. But you can't control what she does. Ultimately it is her choice, and you will have to respect her wishes -- but maybe you should at least give her another chance.
For your own sake though - if she keeps on with the back and forth thing -- you might save yourself a lot of grief by knowing when to let her go.
Best wishes, And good luck!
Ben Schwarcz, MFT
Santa Rosa Psychotherapist