How Did We Get Here? And How Do We Get There? Dialog Series (#2)

This post is a continuation of an earlier post, “How Did We Get Here? (#1).  The following dialog is a picture of what it might look to take “relationship stuckness” to the next level, regardless of what the outcome will be.  Both of these dialogs are “composites”, based on my counseling work with married folks for the last 17 years.  The setting, below, is a counseling office.  The two people from the dialog in the earlier post, “How Did We Get Here?” have agreed to meet for counseling: one hoping for their relationship to continue; the other hoping to make this place and time a context for closure so that the relationship will be dissolved.  Incidentally, this is an excerpt from the first counseling session, possibly the last.  The “formalities” of beginning a counseling session have already been accomplished …

(T) / Therapist:
Sam, what do you want to happen?
Sam / Husband:
I want to keep our marriage.  I want Jules to give me a chance to change, so I can prove to be a better husband who loves her well.
(T):
Then, look at Jules and tell her that.
Sam:
Jules, I want us to keep our marriage.  Give me a chance to change, so I can prove to be a better husband.  I want to love you well.
(T):
Jules, what do you want to happen?
Jules:
I want to do closure, here.  Our marriage is over.  We need to move on.  The sooner, the better.
(T):
Then, look at Jules and tell him that.
Jules:
I want to do closure, here.  Our marriage is over.  We need to move on.  The sooner, the better.
(Silence)
Sam:
(Addressing therapist) Now, what?
(T):
I don’t know, Sam.  What now?
Sam:
(Talking to Jules) Jules, I can make things better.  I can’t fix it; what has happened has hurt you.  I am sorry.  But I want to know what I need to do to save our marriage.  And, I will do it.
Jules:
I’ve never heard you say that you cannot fix “it” (words couched in sarcasm and anger).  And tell me, Sam, what has happened that has hurt me?  
Sam:
I have put work in front of you many, many, times.  And when I am home, I have often checked out, going to my books, or my laptop, or spending time with my friends, instead of spending time with you.
Jules:
It is too late for you to save our marriage.  I’m done.
(T):
We are almost out of time.  Jules, for the sake of your own hope, for your own marriage … because this is your marriage, as well, for the sake of saving something that could be one of the best things that has ever happened to you, I need you to come back again, in one week, and meet with me and this man sitting next to you … not to do closure, but to sit in your pain with this selfish man who loves you, a man quite insensitive at times.  I’ve sat with folks before, with similar wounds.  Please do not be unwise, and throw away something that could become better than it ever was before.  So, you’ll be back next week, and we will continue.  Sam? Any problem with that?  Good.  Jules?  Any problem with that?  Good.  See you next week.
 

 Part of my writing style is, for both fiction and non-fiction, to leave things hanging a bit in limbo.  My motive is not to be cruel but to accentuate  reality.  Reality is … that life has jagged edges.  Things are not always smooth.  And in this scenario above, I attempted to accentuate that healing does not always happen quickly.  In the words of a psychotherapists I admired for her wisdom, “This might take a while.”  We live in a fast-paced society, saturated with short-term gratification.  But when relational wounds emerge, chances are they have developed over time.  With that being said, the healing process can take a bit longer than a few weeks.  It’s important to acknowledge that the future of Sam and Jules is unknown.  Perhaps one of the more important truths, here, is that Sam is making an effort to save the marriage; and to some degree Jules is also making an effort to save the marriage.  But we don’t know what is going to happen.  In fact, it is a good way to end this two-part series “How Did We Get Here?”.

http://www.lifewithlevi.com/mmm-couples-counseling/

 

 

 

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How Did We Get Here? (Dialog Series)

How did we get here?

“We”?

depression, man sitting on floor thinking with copy space - stock photo
http://www.shutterstock.com/s/depression/search.html

(Pause) … Well, you are here, aren’t you?

No, no.  No-no-no-no-no-no.  You are where you are at, and I am where I am at.  And believe me:  I wouldn’t want to be where you are at.

How’s the view up there?  Up above guys like me who don’t have it together like you?

(Pause) What are you were asking me?  And, I’m kind of in a hurry, okay?  So, tell me what you need, and I will try to help.

I was asking  you … how we … “I” … arrived here, at this place.

“This place”?

Our relationship?  Fading.  I have become isolated.  My addictions, like work; like books; like fast food.  And, life – – – I do not enjoy life as much.  That’s a picture of what I am talking about.

Okay.  (Pause)  I have to get going, need to be somewhere.  Take care of yourself.

You asked me about “this place” I am in, I told you, and I thought we were going to talk about it.  But, you … are just leaving, now.

(Pause) I am sorry about your confusion.  I can’t help you.  I don’t do well with others’ shame.  I don’t do well with addictions.  Your isolation is something you have chosen; your relationships evaporating  didn’t suddenly happen.  It’s been in the works for a while.   And your enjoyment of life?  Not happening?  I don’t want to have anything to do … with that.  (Pause) On top of all that, you wouldn’t even hear what I have to say.

Why would I not want to hear what you have to say?

http://www.shutterstock.com/s/depression/search.html?page=1&inline=197995073

Because you are right where you want to be.  And if you are right were you want to be, why talk about how you arrived at this place?  If you wanted to change all that, you would.  But, there is no change.  

That’s harsh.

(Pause with some hesitation) Uhhhh, maybe.  

You’ve got me all wrong.

‘Doesn’t matter.  This is your party, not mine. 

END

*

The dialog, above, is like a metaphor, representing some of the relational pain / disappointment that happens … on some level … in the human soul.  Our hearts, our minds … bring about different dynamics of expectations (realistic and / or unrealistic), an arcane blend of intimacy (healthy and / or unhealthy, whether it be physical or emotional or both).  The relationship and dialog happening up above is somewhat of a composite derived from my years working as a psychotherapist with married folks.  Lastly, the nuances / verbal clues accentuate the factors / themes we deal with in our society, and our relationships:

  • “I don’t have the time to have this conversation …”
  • “Don’t blame me for you problems …”
  • “I don’t have any compassion for you, now …”

True, this is a rather cold exchange happening between two people.  My hope is that one can see their thankfulness for being able to transcend such unhappiness, such insensitivity.  We all need help, at different times, and in different ways.  Here is a truth that is disruptive to many, and this truth applies to the “composite” dialog at the beginning of this post:

Something good can come out of this.