Q I am in a romantic relationship with someone I met a few months ago who I thought was perfect for me. Now we are realizing that there are too many differences. The thought of the possible break-up is hurting very deeply. I am feeling very anxious and am scared I won’t find the right partner, ever. I am not sure how to do deal with this.

A Falling in love and then it not working out is a gut-wrenching process. When we fall in love we give ourselves completely to the other person, who resembles our beloved. We feel so fully loved and accepted that it’s wonderful. Then the reality of being two different people with different personalities, goals, histories, and preferences arises. This is where all the work of relationship begins. It’s the hardest part of falling in love.
We have to remember that relationship isn’t just about love and feeling good. It’s actually more about growing emotionally and spiritually. It’s about facing traits we don’t like in ourselves, and standing behind qualities we do like. All these experiences are scary and provoke anxiety, sadness, hopelessness and anger. Now is a good time to acknowledge your feelings and start to get to really know your emotional and behavioral patterns.
During a break-up all our issues rise to the surface and it’s very uncomfortable. Try not to hurt yourself or your partner with it. Instead take time to reflect and understand. Everything you gain form this experience will help you in your next relationship. All that you don’t work out will show up again.

Q I am getting a divorce after almost 20 years of marriage. We have three dependent children. For various reasons I am very angry with my husband and his family. I think they are the cause of my misery. I have now realized that I am taking out my anger on my children and may actually be damaging them. Yet, I am too scared to do anything.

A Divorce will bring up all the unresolved issues in your marriage and your childhood. This is a time for a major house cleaning. Being hurt in a marriage is never just one person’s or family’s fault. Remember it takes two to tango! You are not the only one hurt and affected by it.
Take responsibility for your part and stop blaming everyone else. Your children are already suffering from the family break up. Your acting out on them will cause them deeper damage, which will perpetuate the dysfunction you and your husband have in your marriage and divorce. Is this the legacy you want to create?
This is the time to get lots of support, counseling, and learn as much about yourself as you can. Imagine what it is like to be your children. Would you like to be in their shoes? Have they done anything to cause your divorce and suffering? They are not your husband, even if you think that they are similar to him or he has control of them or they like him more than you. Separate them from your fight.

Alzak Amlani, Ph.D., is a counseling psychologist in the Bay Area. 650-325-8393. www.wholenesstherapy.com
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