When your relationship first ended, you may have been far clearer about why the relationship didn’t work, and why your ex was wrong for you. However, you now find yourself having uncomfortable thoughts about the ex—longing, melancholy, and memories of the good times are seeping back into your psyche. Your once-clear perspective becomes more cloudy: what you are feeling right now doesn’t line up with what actually happened between you and your ex. Yet you miss the relationship; you miss that partner who was so wrong for you. It just doesn’t make sense:
The burgeoning love affair between Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani, two of the coaches on the NBC show “The Voice,” has a lot of people talking. Both are creative, talented musicians, whose life histories, home lives, previous relationships, musical backgrounds, career directions, and forms of artistic expression are vastly different. He’s a country music star who, through the years, has taken a more conservative approach to recording, performing, and now “coaching,” by staying close to his country roots. Conversely, she is the trailblazing lead singer of a funky, edgy, progressive pop band who has pushed limits, broken down barriers, and shattered the glass ceiling for current and future female pop singers everywhere. For these reasons and many more, they are a surprisingly unlikely romantic pair.
In the movie “American Beauty” we are compelled to look closer. As the movie progresses, we learn that what appears on the outside to be a normal, happy, well functioning family is crumbling on the inside. What is so remarkable about this movie is how exquisitely it communicates the complexities that lie beneath the surface of one’s inner world. Shame, pain, confusion, hope, fear are just some of the hidden, visceral feelings we experience and react to. The movie reflects an extreme contrast between outside and inside.
In real life, the distinction between yours and others’ inner and outer worlds can be far more subtle and less extreme. However, reminding yourself that everyone has their own “look closer”, just like you do, can help you feel less alone with what you perceive as your painfully flawed self.
What can you say? What should you do? You care about your friend, but you know trying to be there for your friend is fraught with no-win situations and conflicts. You can see much more clearly than they can what should or shouldn’t be done, but everything you say seems to fall on deaf ears as your friend just continues to become more distant and depressed. Here are four suggestions to help guide you toward being there for your friend in a way that is as effective as possible for them, while allowing you to maintain your boundaries, manage your frustration, and maintain your patience.
Your life has been a string of events that leads you to where you are now – in part determined by doors opened, doors closed, and the history, decisions and happenings that contribute to who and where you are today. When you look back on your life so far, how do you feel? Optimally, there are no regrets. But in reality for many, when you’re having difficulty feeling okay with where you are now, you may look back with regret and grieve lost opportunities, lost relationships, no-win situations, and unfortunate decisions that you perceive as having affected the trajectory of your life – if only you hadn’t married your ex; if only you hadn’t put your career on hold to have children, if only… The list in your head of imagined and impossible negotiations to bring your loved one back or to gain access to that better life you should have had can painfully distort your thinking.
Subscribe for Latest Blog Posts
Blog Post Categories
- Thank you, your wisdom is as always an encouragement.May 16, 2017 - 9:06 am by Connie Miller
- I have passed it along to my wife and several friends, and...March 12, 2017 - 2:06 am by Ed Felstein
- Thanks for asking, Ed - They adhere to the goldwater rule,...March 10, 2017 - 2:23 am by Suzanne Lachmann
- Very informative and extremely well written.March 9, 2017 - 4:44 am by Rick Platt