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    Project relationship
    Don't try to solve your relationship, start off immediately with couples therapy

    Start-up: Start off every relationship going to couples therapy. Not right at the beginning, of course, but after a few weeks or something. Yes, it sounds pathetic that two people under fifty who screw like rabbits all day long will go to a psychologist to talk about problems that barely exist.

     

    But, when you think about it again, it much more pathetic to let things drag on for twenty years, and only when her boobs are dragging on the ground, to go figure out what's wrong, retroactively.

     

    No new project, even with the most experienced managers, can be sold without appropriate consultation with more than one outside expert, so would not coupledom?  Because we're so good at it? With all due respect, we're not kids anymore. We've already learned that even the greatest love can be ruined with a few neuroses mixed in with joint living.

     

    Her unceasing fear of betrayal may be enough to make him think of himself as a betrayer. One hint of her possible frigidity may be enough to make her frigid.

     

    Granted, I don't have experience in successful relationships, but, according to my experience in those that failed, the failure isn't merely the result of lack of love or incompatibility.

     

    Explaining that you're not the problem

    Many people, especially men (sorry for the overgeneralization) don't know how to reclaim their fears. They rarely even acknowledge them. For example, many men arrive at the hospital fearing a heart attack and, when they are told, after necessary tests, that they merely suffered a panic attack, they refuse to believe the doctor.

     

    Try convincing a man that he's throwing up from fear of abandonment and not from that hummus he ate at lunch. Try convincing him that there can be physical reactions to emotional stress and, once you've convinced him of that, try getting him to understand that it's not related to you, but rather something that's been there all along.

     

    Try convincing him that he's living in a fantasy that's not remotely related to reality, that in reality everything is fine. Try telling him that it's not reasonable to be scared that everything with crash and burn, at a time when you're blossoming.

     

    Try explaining that, not only are you not the problem, but you're only there as some marginalized, ungratified representative of women. And if anyone is pulling away, it's him from you, because, at a time when you become for him a mere wall against which to bounce his mental ball, you're left alone, a small, lonely trigger longing for a hug.

     

    So what if it's true?

    True, you can tell him these things, and you'll probably be right. No problem. With a little intelligence and sensitivity, you can analyze anyone. But it won't help at all. If there's anything that undermines a man's confidence, it's the knowledge that he has hidden layers that, if acknowledged, will force him to change his self-image.

     

    If he won't come to these conclusions on his own, and get the right treatment as his world is crumbling around him, you'll quickly find yourself in a situation where he's your patient instead of your man.

     

    Instead of being his woman, you will become the untrained therapist that ruined his life. His crisis will only grow and, eventually, you'll go your separate ways.

     

    Contrary to what you might think, he's not interested in hearing how smart you are and how knowledgeable of such behavior. This time, don't be the downer who revealed the ending.

     

    It's tempting, especially during scary times, but it's not wise. The end may be simple, but it's also simply the end. Shut your mouth for once. What do you care? Start-up.

     

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    Photo: Erez Erlichman
    Karin Arad
    Photo: Erez Erlichman
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