I remember reading the classic work of Victor Frankl, MD, the psychiatrist who, after spending six years as a prisoner in the Nazi concentration camps, wrote Man’s Search for Meaning. In it, Dr. Frankl comments that many of the prisoners fell into a state of despair upon realizing that may never be free again. Their sense of helplessness and hopelessness was so overwhelming that they began smoking the cigarettes that were used as a medium of exchange to obtain small amounts of additional rations from their captives. They had simply given up. Others, like Frankl, maintained their sense of identity, their sense of hope and possibility, and were able to find meaning for themselves even under horrendous circumstances.
Archive for the ‘Women’ Category
Have you ever noticed how small things your partner does can aggravate the hell out of you? These quirks, habits, or idiosyncrasies become like tiny cinders in your eye that drive you crazy. Then one day, out of the blue, your partner comes home from a routine doctor’s visit and announces, “I have cancer”.
In a previous post, Is Chemistry Necessary, I pointed out that chemistry in a relationship, similar to other drugs, offers a quick high followed by a let down as the chemistry dissipates. I concluded that while chemistry may be an important ingredient, it is not sufficient for a lasting, intimate relationship. In this post I will suggest that chemistry, when combined with mutual compatibility can lead to the passion that continues to burn in a long-term relationship.
You probably have heard, or read in pop psychology books and articles, that people are either right brain or left brain thinkers, referring to those who are more creative and intuitive than their left brain counterparts who are more logical and disciplined in their thinking.
One moment you are walking down the street sporting a T-shirt that says “Life is Good”, enjoying the sunny, Southern California weather, and the next you receive a phone call that from your doctor saying, “the biopsy we took was positive; you have cancer.” And in a second, your world changes, never to be the same again.
Once you receive a diagnosis, especially one that begins with “we found growth that looks like cancer”, your blood pressure spikes and panic sets in. The diagnosis itself is enough to set in motion a panoply of catastrophic thoughts along with the attendant feelings that go with those thoughts. However, it isn’t the thought of surgery or the treatment program, whether radiation, chemotherapy, or both, that generates the most anxiety and fear, but the waiting. The interminable waiting for test results, pathology reports, surgical dates, more reports, treatment dates, waiting for treatment, and on and on. The waiting is the worst!
If you are a working, single mom with one child or more and find it difficult to juggle a career with childcare responsibilities, home responsibilities, a social life, and finding time to date and develop a relationship, you are not alone. Single working moms have their hands full. Scheduling alone is a major chore: coordinating visitation schedules with an ex-spouse, scheduling and attending soccer or football or baseball games, scheduling play dates, and attending school functions. Then, of course, there are the various emergency calls from school, illnesses, arranging for baby-sitters, doing the laundry and shopping for groceries. It all sounds daunting. On top of all that comes the issue of dating! As one woman stated in exasperation, “I guess I’ll have to wait until my son is in college before I can date again!”
“I went on a blind date last night with a very nice guy, but there just wasn’t any chemistry.” I wish I had a dollar for every time I have heard this from men and women, friends, family, and patients. What do people mean by chemistry and is it necessary for a fulfilling relationship? Is it necessary, but not sufficient? Can one have a meaningful, lasting relationship without chemistry? Does chemistry get in the way of a long term relationship? What happens when chemistry fades? These are perplexing questions that have no definite answer. And there are at least two schools of thought. One school says that chemistry is essential, while the other says friendship is the foundation.
I thought relaxing was supposed to be easy. But it ain’t necessarily so. Throughout my life I have advocated the importance of taking it easy, slowing down, and smelling the roses along the way. I believed that I was indeed practicing what I preached. However, as I have cut back in my clinical practice and even considered retiring, I have found that with the increased leisure time available to me my internal sense of unrest has increased rather than decreased. I found myself feeling fidgety when there was nothing that I was supposed to do. I was filling all of my available time with stuff to do. I felt compelled to keep busy.