Why my relationship with men is complicated

“Several things worry me,” Pauline explains, especially my complicated relationship with men. By the way, professional life and otherwise, I think I have always done pretty well.

Robert Neuburger: Do you have children?

Paulina: Two girls aged 16 and 14 years. I have been separated from their father for eight years.

Robert Neuburger: What happened?

Paulina: We met as students and then got married. We struggled to have a child when we wanted it, it took us six years. And during these years, he gradually proved to be very jealous and sometimes violent. When we had our first daughter, things were already going very badly. After the second we went apart, I lived for a time with my parents with my two small children, then he came back with good decisions and we resumed life together. But soon enough, his jealousy assumed enormous, paranoid proportions. I found myself in dangerous situations. I ended up confiding in a woman who helped me out of the marital home and filing a complaint. It was thanks to her that I was able to leave him and then separate from him.

Robert Neuburger: So you’ve been single since 2010.

Paulina: None. A year after leaving him, I signed up on a dating site and met two or three men. With the third, I experienced a passion I thought I felt happiness. But he was married and would never divorce. We had a series of breaks and resumes for three years until I ended this relationship. The year after, I wanted to stop this race for men on sites, and it was with friends that I met my current companion. There is a lot of love between us, but it’s hard again because he’s a fragile, bipolar man. Although I feel it is mildly bipolar, he has mood swings so there are ups and downs. In the beginning, when he came to settle at home, it was difficult with my daughters. He wanted to help me raise them, they did not want him, and neither did I … There are very good moments and then explosions. We discuss a lot, we manage to move on, but lately he has had problems in his work that have destabilized him, and he has been verbally aggressive towards me. We parted without cutting ties, we decided to start again at other bases. What makes me insecure while I love this man and love him is that I do not know where to put the boundaries. Is this or that acceptable? Should I stop everything and look for a more stable relationship? Are the men I like always mentally fragile? I have many questions about this …

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Robert Neuburger: At home, did you have a helping role in relation to a brother?

Paulina: No, I have a brother, but everything went well and my mother was very present. I also have a good relationship with all of them, even though my parents are getting older today.

Robert Neuburger: I was thinking about where you came from if you wanted to help men …

Paulina: I do not think I’m trying to save them. The two I spoke to you delighted me very intellectually and sensually. The common point that I can find in them is a great sensitivity. But from sensitivity to fragility, there is only one step. And when I see someone show their fragility, I feel closeness.

Robert Neuburger: And you can not have it all: distance and closeness. Where are you with your partner now?

Paulina: We live a few kilometers apart. We spend evenings together, mostly at his house, because when he comes to my house, he gets tantrums. I’m in love with this man, but I’m also a mother, and my daughters need me …

Robert Neuburger: Today, when a woman is alone with her children after a divorce, many people prefer to remain mothers and have a separate love affair, as practices with mixed families are so complex. At this level, your decision is very understandable.

Paulina: You’re right, and at the same time he does not imagine that we should be divorced. He’s caught up in a paradox because he wants it to go well when he comes home to me when it’s not. Not to mention his mood swings.

Robert Neuburger: How much does he believe in his bipolarity?

Paulina: He was diagnosed as such a few years ago he has treatment.

Robert Neuburger: Even though he has been diagnosed as such and is undergoing treatment, he remains responsible for some of his behavior. It’s a problem if he attributes all his mood swings to bipolarity. I think you could tell him that he too has the right to control himself and not put his bad mood on you, bipolarity or not.

Paulina: I’m glad to hear you say that, because even though I’m not a doctor, I came to the same conclusion …

Robert Neuburger: We need to be extremely clear on this. Tell him that it’s his responsibility and that he does not have to blame his mood on anything other than himself.

Paulina: I had suggested that she do behavioral therapy …

Robert Neuburger: Have you been to therapy yourself?

Paulina: Not really. I have sometimes been to psychologists, but for three or four years I have had the impression that I would need them.

Robert Neuburger: With the background you have had and the difficulties you have experienced, it would be great if you could meet a therapist to chat from time to time. By avoiding falling for someone who gives you advice!

Paulina: Oh good ? Why ?

Robert Neuburger: But because you’re big enough to find your answers. It would be nice to hear you speak. When we let ourselves be talked about, we sometimes say things that surprise us. And the most important thing in therapy is that. The therapist’s role is to jump back on those productions where you surprise yourself. Also, it would be a good idea to have a quiet corner to yourself. You have not had one so often.

Paulina: But I feel a need to be guided!

Robert Neuburger : Well, that’s exactly what you should not do. You are very much able to guide yourself. Good therapy is when you do not know where to go. It is the divine surprise that is generally quite good. »

A month later

Paulina: “This session really clicked in me. At first, the doctor asked questions that seemed harmless to me, and that actually brought me right to the heart of the matter. It was both very surprising and interesting. I really appreciated what he told me about the positioning I should have in relation to my companion. This confirmed what was starting to go up in my mind. Since then, I’ve seen a therapist. I realized I was in certain patterns, probably family, and I no longer want those patterns. There are many things that have evolved in me since this session. »

Robert Neuburger: “Pauline’s journey is the one for many women who are alone with their children after separation or divorce. The question is: is it better to create a relationship with a new partner by letting him into family life or creating a parallel relationship? Especially when it comes to Pauline, with two teenage girls at home … Both situations have their pros and cons. Pauline tried both formulas. I do not want to say that her relationship with men is complicated, I want to say that it is always complicated for a single woman with children to rebuild her life. That she also has personal difficulties and questions is another matter. It is not a pathology, but something that can spark a curiosity about herself, thanks to which she will be able to move on and know herself better. »

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