Redux: Should I Stay Or Go?
We're going to be talking about letters that essentially ask that question. Should I stay or should I go and as we as we go through these questions today? We'll there'll be a sort of ever escalating build up to the harder questions. Staying are going as we know. Sometimes it's a fairly light decision other times. It's incredibly complicated. Well you're in the middle of this male storm because you and your big mouth you're kind of like Grand Central Station of ambivalence about whether people should you know stay with the status quo or get out of usually a destructive relationship because of that column. You wrote. That's right and there's a quote from that column was titled. This calm was called the truth. That lives there. I I also touched on this issue with my com tiny beautiful things quote from tiny beautiful. Things is that people have bandied about the Internet and wanting to leave is enough and I think that you know that. Certainly the heart of this column so I received essentially a chorus of letters from people who are in one situation and that is. I love my partner. I respect my partner but I just have this feeling that that there's something else out there for me and that I want to go explore other things now. Some of these letter writers had been dating the person for a few months. Some of these letter writers were married for years. And what I you know my answer was really I- I answered via story about my own struggles. When I was married to my first husband. I was in that exact situation. I loved him. What was so painful about my divorce is I had to break my own heart again. You have to be brave enough to break. Your is something I wrote and something. I learned the hard way because I kept waiting for there to be a sort of outside reason. Leave my husband. Oh he was abusive or he was. He cheated on me or he did this or that or the other thing and honestly. I think that that's ultimately why I t's on my first husband which I really regret because it very much my values but I finally you know I. I was so young that I didn't have the strength. Or the internal sense of of knowing that like it was enough for me to say I need to end this relationship simply because I feel like there's something missing in my life and I need to go seek it and I need to seek it on my own outside of the confines of a committed relationship and so to do that was revolutionary for me life. Changing a great decision and an incredibly painful one so in this column the Truth. That lives there. What I was speaking to is not the idea that the minute you have any doubts or struggles in a relationship. You should leave now sometimes. It's been misinterpreted in that way. And I think that's really unfortunate. I am all for grappling with your feelings and stain in those difficult moments and relationships and seeing what's going to happen on the other side of your fears your doubts so I don't advise people and I'm just going to say it for the record. I said not columbine got overlooked of course is that it is important to know that in every relationship. We're going to have doubts in every relationship. We're going to have struggles but in my experience there was also this burning core of truth and what I said to people is when you have that feeling. The only question left is are you going to do it later or are you going to do it now and almost always when you have that kind of truth. That is driving your decision. The truth lives there. You know the sooner that you can see to it the better off you're going to be and also the better off the people in your life. I wasn't doing my husband my ex-husband any favors by staying married to him. Because when I was in so much turmoil in doubt and the minute I cut myself free of that. We were both liberated essentially from the struggle and allowed to go off and have the lives that we've come to have and so many of the letters that we get have to do with that fundamental feeling. There's some forced. It's telling me I've got to change my life. I've gotta get out of a relationship a workplace whatever it is and yet and we know that even though the constant condition of life is change people are terrified and justifiably and they sort of crave as children do routine and stability. And that's our HOMEO- static mechanisms operates this war inside of all of us and so that's what we're going to get into going to battle battlegear on. Let's do it the first letter all right dear. I've been pulled into an emotional affair with an older married friend. He and I became close over the last two years. What I initially saw. His friendship has grown into intimacy. He has a troubled marriage. That's been on rocky ground for a long time and it has survived his infidelity. My friend and his wife have children and are trying to make their marriage work while. My intentions are not sexual. I care very deeply for my friend and I still crave the closeness and emotional intimacy of our relationship. Is there a way to salvage this friendship in a way? That's healthy and respectful or do I need to politely. Bow Out before I create more trouble in an already. Turbulent life signed totally in over my head What he thinks. It's a very complicated letter so totally in over my head. The first thing. That is really just confusing. It's unclear to me why you are referring to this relationship as an emotional affair rather than a friendship if your intentions are not sexual but there is deep intimacy there. Why wouldn't it be a friendship? Why do you categorize it as a licit and my suspicion is because as parole reminded us in our infidelity episode? There isn't this sexual alchemy necessarily but there's something that feel secret and covert and that occupies a space a kind of emotional intimate space. That really is appropriate for a partner and I say this all the time in the context of relationships. You know you know a friendship is over when you're talking more about somebody than to them and you know That a marriage is really in trouble when your partner isn't the person with whom you have the deepest most intimate conversations. It feels to me like what you're saying is that you are in a relationship with this guy that occupies the space and the emotional energy and attention that should be going towards this guy healing his relationship with his wife which is what he says he wants to do. I think if we apply Cheryl's complex rule of thumb. This letter is an expression unawareness that you are occupying a space right now that you feel really as appropriately belongs to this wife and husband until they can figure out whether the marriage is going to sustain itself and be re healed and then your friendship doesn't have to be something that's an emotional affair. It's what we need in life outside of our central partnership if we find a partner is good friends. There's suspicion that you're casting on yourself and I would think less about his life. Think about your life. I think this letter comes out of an expression that you know that you're in a relationship that's unhealthy for you at the moment. My Hunch. Is that your hunches. You need to step back from this friendship until he figures out whether his marriage is going to be he'll lable or not. Yeah I think that you know the answer totally in over my head. You don't sign a letter totally in your head. You're you're in a relationship that's not right. That doesn't feel right to you. And so you need to bow out. And we all crave closeness emotional intimacy and you can find that in a relationship that feels. That feels good. And so you need to let this one.