Various important people in my life are currently in therapy, sometimes inadvertently dragging me in. If you've ever met anyone who has newly discovered therapy, there is often that moment when they ask, "Have YOU ever had therapy?" This is usually requested after a discussion, during which the conversation has turned to my behaviour.
I'm not immune from navel-gazing, within reason. Over the years, I've had various forms of therapy and coaching. I went to a Relate counsellor, mostly alone when I was married. I enjoyed having an uninterrupted hour to talk about myself. After six sessions, the therapist informed me that my marriage was beyond repair, so I stopped going.
I often wondered if there was some magical cut-off point for Relate therapists whereby they would know the outcome after session one or two but keep their clients hanging on until they hit their financial target.
I've had various 'coaches' mainly for professional reasons, and I've visited different varieties of hypnotherapists on two or three occasions to cure particular fears or issues that bother me. I've considered these sessions the most successful, as I can see immediate change without digging into my childhood or relationships but rather a specific incident or feeling I want to erase.
Recently, my attitude towards commitment within a relationship has been jokingly called into question. I've been called a 'commitmentphobe', and my kids have pointed out that my track record in forming lasting relationships is shit. I want to set the record straight on this, mainly for myself.
I do not have a history of choosing suitable partners or people whom anyone would say are 'good for me.' My first-ever boyfriend left me for a good friend, after which I cried for a year. Two have passed away from cancer, for example, and, as a result, I tend to be on high alert for anyone with a significant health issue. Another two had a recent and significant family death before meeting me, and they were looking for stability and support. Far too many men I have known are in some transition, and I have functioned as a life raft. And there was the one that was wonderful in lots of ways aside from he was married and emotionally shut down. Then there are the oxytocin fuelled choices that got through to me via good sex and turned out to be a complete car crash otherwise. Many are simply grumpy or reveal themselves to be irritable or dissatisfied with their life in some way, which becomes very unattractive quickly. I am too old to make major compromises for the sake of having a significant other in my life.
So, yes, indeed. I may be reluctant to become attached to anyone who triggers me by resembling any of my previous partners. I can be a good-time girl very quickly, but when it comes to removing my armour and exposing my vulnerability, that will take someone exceptional indeed.
Why should feeling hesitant about committing to a relationship make me a commitmentphobe? Why can't I enjoy the time spent with others for what it is - guilt-free pleasure? Isn't it normal to have reservations about opening up and being vulnerable to another person, mainly if one's relationship track record isn't exactly A*? Furthermore, it's worth noting that as we grow older, many of us thrive when feeling free and independent, and that doesn't necessarily mean we can't form meaningful and healthy relationships. What's wrong with being happily single?
Ultimately, the key is to stay true to who you are and to be honest with who you’re with.
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And just came across this post which is very relevant https://open.substack.com/pub/ava/p/love-is-friendship-on-hard-mode-an?r=7lwr&utm_medium=ios&utm_campaign=post
Great post - completely right about the joys of being single and being open to something more should it tip up.