November 2011 Entries
It all began innocently enough, as these things often do. Cal, a 47-year-old engineer, reserved but friendly, had been contacted by an old friend through a social networking website. He had ventured into online chatting cautiously and awkwardly. No problem so far. Then he struck up a conversation with an old female friend from high school, asking what had she been doing with her life? How many kids? Happily married?
I watched Jennifer grow pale as her husband of three years, Kevin stonewalled her. He sat rigid and silent as she asked him sensitive questions about their marriage. Jennifer was 37 years old, vivacious and lively. Both she and Kevin had been married before. She hoped this marriage would go better, but so far she had been bitterly disappointed. “I want to believe that he won’t cheat on me like my ex-husband did, but I don’t know if I can trust him.”
“It’s impossible for me to listen to her,” Justin said as he jumped up. “Can I talk to you?” he said heatedly, gesturing to me and storming out of the room. His wife, Danielle and my co-therapist, Debby, looked at one another dumbfounded. “Certainly,” I said. Looking to Debby, I suggested that they talk over what had just happened. Justin was angry. He had escalated quickly, but fortunately had the presence of mind to call a time out.
“I’m not angry,” Jed said emphatically to his wife Jill as we all sat in my office. They had flown across the country a few days earlier to work with me on their marriage. “I love my work, and…,” looking firmly at Jill, he continued “you want to believe it’s my work that makes me upset, but it’s not!” “What is it then Jed?” the middle-aged woman said, sadness emanating from her eyes.