Dear Dr. Brilliant Cliché;
I am hoping you can offer some perspective on this big mess I’m trying to sort out.
I cheated on my first husband, along with just about every boyfriend I ever had. I know I had a dysfunctional upbringing, and when combined with a dysfunctional husband and boyfriends, infidelity seemed almost a natural outcome. Also, I worked in advertising and it seemed like every executive and designer in the place had something on the side; intrigue was almost common sport amongst my crowd, so no one seemed to judge me.
But now that I am in my second marriage and I’m determined to change the pattern and get my life together, I find myself pulled towards another man again. I met this guy at yoga class and he seems so enlightened. My husband is making this very tough. He works a lot and I don’t feel close to him. When I tried to talk about this problem with him, he told me that I should have my own friends for that kind of thing. It’s almost as if he gave the nod for other involvements.
But I feel like this muddled mess, which I’ve eased in the past with other involvements, is something I need to look at another way. I don’t really have a solid direction in my life; I’m dependent on my distant husband for my home. I know women who have gone on forever like this, with their affairs and their staged family barbecues…but I don’t want to be that woman. I’m thinking that maybe this new man could help me go in a new direction. We can actually talk about our feelings.
Yeah, yeah, I’m sure therapy would help. But my insurance won’t cover counseling, only diagnostics and medication. I wish there was another way to get some help in sorting out this big tangled mess that my life has become.
The scenario you are describing is known in literature as the bedroom farce. It is when all of the characters know only a small piece of the big picture and each piece conflicts with the others. The audience watching sees the ridiculousness of the situation and the inevitable crash is obvious. You are voluntarily if not unwittingly writing your own life as a farce.
A bedroom farce is fueled by a strong need for, and a false sense of, control. It involves subterfuge- juggling players and diversions. The heroine (you) is often at center micro-managing everyone and everything in her life. If there are kids involved, this conflicts with going to their games and practices. In order to play out a bedroom farce, life has to be 100% superficial as anything more takes too much time.
The 1st step in AA is a good start for you: you only get control when you entirely give up control. That allows you to step back and focus on things that really matter.
Many people who grow into a lifestyle such as this come from a childhood where things were in utter chaos. To survive they learned to control things… but they never learned the skills of consistency, patience, sharing or negotiation. This could be why you keep landing in superficial relationships-no one deals with any real issues.
As long as the partners you chose reflect your thinking from the past, they will always become the future you most want to avoid.
Relationships are never easy; you can run from one to another but unless you learn to keep it simple, honest, and true, nothing will change. Beware of anyone who is willing to be with you while you are with someone else. You are focusing on one piece of the puzzle but miss the big picture.
You don’t seem to have a large support network. If you rely on one man at a time for your emotional everything, this is a flawed position to come from for an equal and healthy relationship. It isn’t just the man that makes for a better relationship. You need fill your life rather than expect someone to do it for you.
Dr. Brilliant Cliché
Granny says: Sigh. My dear, if I had a nickel for every guy who joined a yoga class and put on an enlightened act in order to pick up needy women, I’d be rich. You are a needy woman who can’t support herself and until you gain some ground, you will be a target for men who don’t want strength, but rather a woman who can’t give them shit because she has no power.
You need to be able to support yourself and you need a network of friends and peers or you will never be able to break out of your pattern. I would suggest making my first priority getting some type of education or job experience you are trained for. Once you have solid ground to stand on, it will change something in you, in a way that nothing else can. Get your mojo working, girl. It is not a man’s world unless you hand it to them, which you have up ’til now. It’s time to take it back.