Time for a New Relationship?
Hi, this is Leonard Carr, in-house psychologist to Infusion Radio. I’m responding to an email from Lee, who calls herself, Divorced and loving it. You know Lee; I often tell people that marriage is as overrated by a single people as divorce is by married people. And you know, very often we think that marriage or divorce is the solution to our problems.
You say, that you are in a verbally abusive relationship, which you have now luckily managed to get out of. The consequences of abuse particularly verbal abuse is that often when you are being verbally abused, you start to have doubts about your own worth – your own identity. In a sense what verbal abuse does, is it starts to redefine in your own mind, who you are, and at best you become doubtful and concerned about your true worth and about who you are.
At worst, you see yourself as a completely different person from the person that you knew yourself to be, before the abuse. And so, it is very important to honor the stage that you are in now. And the stage that you are in now can be called a right of passage.
Let me explain a little what a right of passage is. A right of passage is a process of transformation that begins with a crisis, when the role that you are playing or fulfilling in life becomes no longer viable. For instance, you are in a role of wife and upon divorce, that role becomes no longer a viable role. That identity that went with that role is no longer a viable identity, and so you’re thrown into a stage of confusion, into a betwixt and between state which is called the luminal state of a right of passage. And this betwixt and between state is a threshold. It’s the place where you wait before you enter into a new place and even though this can be a confusing and tumultuous time, it’s an extremely valuable time because what you are experiencing is infinite choices.
You’re experiencing the opportunity to explore new ways of being, to explore new preferences, about who you want to be as a person, what you want out of relationships, what you expect from your life. It’s a time when you have the freedom to explore, to experiment, and to take some time out in order to really discover who you want to be and what you want from your relationship.
What would a healthy relationship really mean for you? Very often, we get caught in a trap of society’s expectation, that we be coupled. We live in a coupled society, that almost only gives people validity if they are coupled. And that puts pressure on a single person. People are constantly trying to introduce you to people or encourage you to go out with people and to get into a new relationship, but you might be selling yourself short, if you do that too quickly. And maybe you need to listen to your anxiety, about getting into your new relationship because that anxiety is really telling you, that you need time to rediscover yourself. You need time to explore your true needs and feelings, your values, your wants, your expectations and goals for your life.
And really, a new relationship is actually like recruiting someone for a job. You need to be clear on what your mission statement is, and what the job description is that you want the other person to fulfill. So that when you get into a new relationship, you get into it with a consciousness of what kind of relationship you want to create, and who would be the right person to create that relationship with. And so that you don’t get involve just on excitement or attraction or because you seem to get on well together, but really to think carefully about, is this person really going to help you to create the relationship that reflects your values, your goals, and will fulfill your needs. And also of course, whether you are prepared to fulfill what the other person’s needs, and requirements, and expectations are.
So Lee, what I would say to you in conclusion is; enjoy this time. Get your confidence back and embrace this opportunity to in a sense re-launch yourself; re-invent your life, in a way that is really going to be enriching and fulfilling and meaningful for you in the future.