If It’s Not Your Problem; Stay Away

August 7, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog

I have just read an essay, in the “Modern Love” section of the New York Times


In a few words; a couple who has been married for over twenty years and according to the wife, who is also the writer of the piece, have pretty much achieved everything they as a couple set themselves out to achieve, are having troubles.  Better, the husband is having troubles and out of nowhere says: “I don’t love you anymore” to the wife.

The wife, at the same time, had come to a decision that she would no longer have her feelings and life affected by how others felt or by any external situation.  She had come to the understanding that happiness and tranquility lives within oneself.

Anyway, this woman without getting into her husband’s turmoil maintained her peace and gave him space to work out whatever was going on within him.  She did no cry or begged him to stay.  She went about her life and her children’s lives reminding her that what he was doing had all to do with him and nobody else.

This process took four months and at the end of it he had worked out his demons and was back as the loving father, husband and lover he had been before.

What caught my attention was that what this woman was describing was exactly what a therapist friend of mine had just gone through.

My friend was dating a man who had recently separated from his wife of fifteen years.  My friend and this man had known each other for a very long time but did not start dating until the man’s separation.

In the beginning it was a great relationship but soon his guilt for leaving his family started to really interfere.  He was no longer as loving and supportive of my friend and she seemed, at least to me, to be doing all the heavy lifting to keep them together. 

A few times I asked her why she would put up with such behavior.   I even said to her that she should consider walking away.  But every time she answered: “I know it is not about me.  It is about him.  When I know he’s looking for a fight so our relationship can become like the one he left, I don’t respond and give him a break. “It was amazing to me that my friend had the wisdom not to take his behavior personally. And she was right, nothing that he did was about her and by not engaging in his behavior she actually helped him deal with his own issues.

I think sometimes our ego gets things wrong and we end up making a situation worse by not understanding that not everything is about us.