RELATIONSHIP QUESTIONS

Dear Matt,

My husband and I are in the process of a divorce. He says he needs time to think about whether or not he loves me and wants to be with me. Now, even though the divorce is still proceeding, he has decided that he loves me and wants to be with me.

I am now the one who is questioning whether or not I love him and want to be with him. Can you help? P. In Wayne

It sounds as if you are both second guessing your marriage. Everyone has doubts, especially in a divorce situation. At least your husband was honest about his feelings for you instead of going off and having an affair. After some `time-out,’ he has decided that he wants you and now it’s up to you to decide how you really feel about him. Forgiveness is easy when we think of how imperfect we all are. Is it the thought of his questioning his love for you and going through with the divorce that hurts, or have you really lost how you once felt for him? Spending some time in marriage therapy would help both of you clarify your feelings for each other. If you do decide to stay together, it’s important for you both to talk about how you can strengthen your marriage and your commitment to each other.

Dear Matt:

I am recently divorced and dealing with guilt and how to put that aside and move on? I have a little child and worry constantly about the impact on her years growing up. L. In Chester Springs

The negative effects of divorce on children are often temporary and stem from the fact that parents are distracted by their own problems. In other words, divorcing parents tend to divert their attention from their children around the time of divorce. Negative effects are not inevitable. You can focus on the positive AND prevent problems by continuing to supervise and monitor your child the way all good parents do. Make sure your child has friends and opportunities to be with them in safe ways, that schoolwork is completed with necessary help, and that you and she have time to talk to each other. It’s not wise for you to confide your worries about your marriage or custody issues to your daughter. By setting aside time to be with her on a regular basis you calm her anxieties. If you ask her how things are going for her, and demonstrate your willingness to listen, you can pick up early signs of distress before they turn into ingrained problems.

Dear Matt,

I just broke up with my boyfriend of 3 years and quickly got into another serious relationship. My best friend thinks that I can’t ever be alone. Looking back, she is right, I have always had a boyfriend. Could I be addicted to love? G. In Devon

In the situation of love addicts, often their own growth and development was challenged earlier in life. Similarly, many love addicts report some type of abuse or neglect as children and see themselves as damaged. Their parents are often love addicts to begin with. This explains it basically to many sufferers but I don’t always buy this answer. I like to dig a little deeper and look at all of your life’s experiences to see how they can relate to this behavior. Sometimes the answer is simple and other times it is much more detailed but together I know we will understand what causes it. Stress also encourages compulsive behavior by feeding the addict’s need for withdrawal and fantasy. With the amount of stress everyone is under, I totally understand how it is possible to lead to alternative behavior. When I speak of stress, it can be stress from work, school or even your family. For a purely clinical explanation, levels of phenylethylamine, a chemical in the brain involved in the euphoria that comes with falling in love, rise with feelings of infatuation, boosting your excitement and interest in the person you find attractive.

Authored by: Matthew Gelber

Are you unhappy, stressed or depressed at home? At Work? At School? Do you find yourself yet again in another relationship doomed for failure? Is Intimacy or trust lacking in your relationship? I am an experienced and compassionate therapist who helps individuals, couples and families achieve favorable outcomes in different areas of their lives.

I ask constructive questions, provide supportive non-judgmental feedback and insight, and help you add meaning and vitality to your life. I believe in your personal happiness, which leads to a better life and relationship. 

My background includes, Univ. of New York at Stony Brook, Chestnut Hill College, Eagleville Hospital, Main Line's "Top Doc", published articles and weekly "Your Life" column in Main Line Newspapers. Our common goal: to make your life better."

www.mattgelber.com

610-310-5898

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