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by vivrant thang on all about me

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I got this baggage with me
Don’t wanna make you pay for what somebody else has done to me
I don’t know what to do
With all this baggage in me
Everytime I hurt your feelings it’s what someones done to me
I don’t mean to hurt you

A post I did late last year, Other Woman, continues to be one of the most popular. Recently, I got a new comment from a woman named Lisa.

I am 33 years old and i am single, never really wanted to get married, i do have a son who has been living with his father for the past year he is 15. But I am falling in love with a married man, he has never lied to me about being married. He tells me he loves me, and he treats me like he loves me. He has three kids at home, and he tells me that he is not in love with his wife although he does care about her. I know that this is a typical story for a married man, and I try to keep an open tab on reality, even going so far as to see other man and I let him know that i am open to date other man. He does not like it but what can he do about it? But the problem is that when I am out on a date (I mean with fine sucessful brothers from all walks of life) I find that I am thinking about him and I would rather be at home. I am not wanting this drama but how can I prevent it. I am a college educated woman, a teacher, i own my home, drive my own car and pay my own bills. I am attractive and still wear a size 5, but how can i stop this love for a married man.

When I started to respond, as I do with all posts, I had no idea what I was going to say. I certainly have no experience in this area and there are no easy answers to this situation. This is also not a judgemental space so I wanted to be very careful with my response.

Here’s what came pouring out:

Thanks for stopping by and sharing this. I can’t say I have any hard and fast answers for you. It’s not as simple as telling you to just leave him alone. As I know from experience with my family members, it doesn’t work like that. You really have a lot going for you and you deserve to have your OWN man…one that is there for you and has no responsibilities to anyone but you. If you don’t want to get married, that’s fine. You don’t have to. However, don’t you want to have your own man and not someone that pledged his life to someone else?Is this man there when you really need him? Is he there on the holidays? Is he there to hold you at night (all night) after a long day? No, no and no. I wonder if this is the first married man you’ve been involved with? If he was upfront about this in the beginning, what was it that made you go along with it? Is this a pattern for you? If so, you may need to examine that either on your own or maybe with a therapist.

I could go on with this but bottom line, you are not going to leave him alone until you’re forced to. I know my girlfriend did seek therapy and found that she had a host of issues contributing to why she got involved with this man. Last I talked to her, she had left him alone.

So think about that and best of luck. I really can’t be of any more help because it’s not something I personally have experience in.

This is how she responded:

Thanks, You did take it home for me!!!! I do have some issues to address that may have led me to this situation. I was really hurt early in life by the only man I have ever loved (my sons father) ,until I met this married man. I left my ex when I was only 22, Inspite that fact, Maybe this is the contribution, why I am maybe scared of giving my all to someone else. I believe that I will seek help. I never thought about this before!!!!!! WOW
This exchange is the perfect entry for me to talk about something I mentioned in passing a couple of posts back and promised to return to.

Currently, I am “in treatment.” This is my second time seeing a therapist, the first being after I lost the weight because it was advised as part of the process of adjusting to literally being half the woman I used to be. Just because I lost the weight doesn’t mean I lost the issues that got me to that size.

[Aside: No one that is morbidly obese got that way without an issue or ten. That’s a fact.]

But I digress.

Anyhow, with the first therapist, I didn’t have an understanding of what therapy was. I was expecting…I still don’t know what I was expecting. However, I didn’t feel as if it was helping so I decided to quit. That was over a year ago.

My five-year plan encompasses all aspects of my life, including relationships and personal development. This year, one of my goals was to get back into therapy and deal with my shit. I guess I’m fortunate because I know exactly what that shit is. I am a very introspective person. I stand back and look at myself a lot. I also am very aware of how my past issues and things that happened to me during my formative years have directly affected my behavior today.

I think about my relationships with my parents, namely my fathers, and how that has created a lot of the baggage I carry with me into my romantic relationships. I tend to attract men that are damaged in some way. Like attracts like and hurt people hurt people. So it’s no surprise that both of my serious relationships have ended badly, with both parties being hurt. I can’t fix them. I can only fix me. I have to end the cycle.

2008 is the year I decided it’s high time to let the baggage go. It’s only going to get heavier. Besides, I much prefer to carry a cute little clutch. Makes it easier to sashay in my stilettos heels. (I gotta keep it real!)

I’m sharing all of this because Lisa’s comment highlighted the fact that there may be people out there that haven’t considered therapy as an option. There can be such a stigma attached to it. My mother is skeptical. She thinks I just need to go to church. While I agree that I need to work on my spirituality (also a part of my five-year plan), I also see nothing wrong with also talking to an unbiased professional who is trained to help people make connections and work through issues. There’s nothing weak about admitting you can’t do it by yourself. It doesn’t mean you’re crazyderanged. It just means you want to see some changes in your life and you realize you can’t make them alone.

I really hope this speaks to someone. There’s several people I know who would greatly benefit from therapy and I have gently suggested it. However, it’s a very personal decision and not an easy one to make. I can only share my story…and Lisa’s, and hope it helps in some small way.

I found my therapist by referral, which I think is the best way. However, there are a couple of sites to check out to find one near you.

American Psychological Association
American Mental Health Counselors Association

If you’re like me and have some kind of strange need to have all of your doctors be black, check out the Association of Black Psychologists site.

If you’re not going by referral, grill them as you would any other new professional. They are only caring for your mind.

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