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Forum Name: Psychiatric Topics

Question: Infertility, divorce, and relationship grief in Newport News


 facingillusions - Sat Apr 25, 2009 6:53 pm

I have been engulfed in grief for over the past year. I have been through multiple failed infertility procedures which included several failed invitro attempts. Last week was the one-year anniversary of the first of these which caused me to relive the grief as if it were just occurring.
My husband and I separated approximately six months ago and a divorce will be filed in May. Although, I knew long ago that we were on different paths the divorce process is painful as well. I struggle to understand why we did not end our unhealthy relationship sooner. Had I done this, I may have tried to have children earlier, and I may have been successful. I guess I thought that just because I had a husband and we were financially secure that I should be happy.
Yesterday, my niece had a baby girl. I was the first family member (outside of her husband) to both see and hold the baby. I am so happy for her. Yesterday also was the first day I fully realized the extent of my losses.
Since I cannot have children, my one desire is to have a relationship where I can have an emotional, intellectual, and sexual connection. I would like for my mate and I to share values and be equally committed to the relationship. I have never experienced this in the past. I encounter new men frequently, in fact I was asked on dates twice this weekend. They do not meet my mate list. I do not want to settle again. I have met a man who I believe may be my soul mate. It seems as if he is resigned to not cross the bridge to be with me. I believe he thinks I do not know him. Ironically, because of the shared circumstances, (in some ways) I know him more deeply than others. I accept him “as-is”. Unfortunately, I believe my last communication with him simply added to his resolve to push me away. I know that I must let him go if this is what he truly wants.
I will say-it hurts like hell. With all of my other emotional pain and wanting something so simple as to share all that I have to offer with this superior man (who I sometimes believe cannot look in the mirror and see his own value) how do I deal with all of this? Why has life dealt me such an unfair hand?
 Dr. E. Seigle - Sun May 24, 2009 8:42 pm

Hi facingillusions,

It sounds like you have much to grieve; the inability to have children, divorce from someone that didn't appear to meet your needs, and now, the difficulty of finding "soul mate", and the man that may be so apparently backing off. That's a lot of stuff.

It sounds as if you have been very open to feeling the full extent of your sadness regarding these losses, and that now,you are asking the very natural question:" Why has this all happened to me?". This question often reflects a feeling, which can be feeling upset at losses that do not seem fair, being angry at those unfair losses, or simply a sense of confusion, shock, or disbelief. Events such as these shake our faith in a good, fair, or rational world. You have been genuine, honest, and good (I will assume), and life is supposed to reward these virtues. Or, these virtues are supposed to bring their own rewards. When they don't, we can feel a sense of meaninglessness, confusion, disappointment, anger, sadness and other feelings.

I don't have the answer to your situation, since it is a dilemma often experienced by many people who experience losses, trauma, abuse, disasters, deaths, etc. that go beyond the limit of what seems right, or what is humanly possible sometimes. Sometimes, people come to an awareness that life simply sometimes brings unwanted, undeserved, and non-sensible pain and suffering. At other times, they see that they can have joy and happiness. They often feel a sense of acceptance of the ups and downs of life. Some say that we sometimes don't "deserve" the victories and privileges in life, as well as not deserving many of the 'defeats".

A key awareness for people is that they are not guilty of causing many of their losses, though they may bear some responsibilities sometimes. In addition, they feel a sense of letting go of the desire to control what happens in life. They do their best, and they know that beyond doing so, they have little control in much o what goes on, and strive to accept that.

Your situation brings to mind certain issues: first, you have every right to want and to strive for the type of healthy, reciprocal relationship that meets your needs, that you describe. At the same time, these relationships can take time and patience to achieve, especially after people have been divorced. Here are some questions, not answers (since I don't have them!). Have you given the relationship with the man that you describe time and patience? Have you tried to understand what he feels, and has he tried that with you? Have you both simply tried to get to know one another without defining the relationship as "serious" or perhaps even "dating"? Sometimes, some people need to just become friends, before they feel safe enough to call a relationship a serious romance. Finally, have you given yourself enough time following your divorce to find another serious relationship? Have you dated enough? It can take one, a couple or several years to fully "recover" from a divorce and to find a new, lasting serious relationship.

To finish, you sound like a person who is honest, has strong feelings, and knows what she wants. You also sound discerning in your choice of a partner. This is good, but it means of course that it will need time and patience to discover the right person, who also finds you the same way. If this man really doesn't see his value, and this is a deep experience for him, then it's possible that this would have entered into a relationship with him in such a way that would have made for problems in intimacy.

I'm sorry for your losses, and sense that you are going in a healthy direction. Sometimes people benefit from counseling during periods of time like this, in order to process and understand much of which is difficult, confusing and painful in times such as yours. Good luck.

E. Seigle MD
 facingillusions - Tue May 26, 2009 8:07 pm

Dr. Seigle,

I want to thank you for your in-depth, insightful response. It helped to comfort me.
I have not been perfect but have been genuine, honest, and good-probably more through these events than in any other time of my life. It is common for people who are familiar with just some of my losses to attempt to offer comfort by saying that life has great rewards awaiting me in the near future. However, I believe what you have stated is more accurate. Life simply brings unwanted, undeserved, non-sensible pain and suffering. That is, there is no compensation for misfortune.

With respect to “the man”, admittedly I am impatient. The losses of my embryos especially have taught me that life truly is short-sometimes it lasts only a few days. I do want a serious, healthy relationship when the timing is appropriate. I know; you are correct that this involves patience and time. Yes, some days, I can see “the man’s” viewpoint and his genuine concern for me. Unfortunately, though, what I feel is an intense desire to be physically comforted by him. Various things that he said and did contributed to me believing that this is something that we both desired. So more frequently, I am just confused and bewildered and feel like a dupe.

I have been in counseling since October, and I do want to express my appreciation for my therapist as well. My counselor has gone beyond the call of duty on several occasions and has provided nonjudgmental encouragement and support (even when I am unrelentingly obstinate). I appreciate this. My counselor has been someone in whom I have put a great deal of trust and will continue to trust. I know that in the end, this will open the lid to this proverbial pickle jar. Perhaps, discussing this “soul mate” issue in therapy in greater detail will help me process and understand the contradictions with respect to this complicated situation.

Once again, thank you.
 Faye Lang, RN, MSW - Sun Jul 25, 2010 12:27 pm

Hello facingillusions,

I just wanted to respond and compliment you on having the strength to pursue treatment, and let you know how glad we are that you have had success in beginning to address your issues. I hope that you are continuing to do well.

Best wishes,

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