Dr. Frankie, I Have Feelings For Someone Else
Photo: Cheryl Mazak
Dear Dr. Frankie,
I've been what I thought was happily married to my partner for 9 years. Recently, I've realized that I'm having feelings for someone else. I'm feeling anxious and confused, but it's also exciting to be woken up and stimulated like this. I'm not sure what to do. Can you offer any advice?
Stop, look and listen! It’s unfair to compare the energy and excitement you may feel from the attention of a new girl to the routine comfort of a nine year relationship. Even the best relationship can feel monotonous at times. If you think your feelings might be driven by something other than just complacency in your current relationship, ask yourself are you are being distracted by someone else because your relationship isn’t fulfilling?
Before you do anything, STOP. By this I mean don’t take another step towards seeking gratification by crossing the line with this woman for whom you’re having feelings. Don’t hastily do something that could A) irreversibly damage the trust between you and your partner, and/or B) result in the destruction of your marriage. LOOK within yourself and consider what might be missing in your relationship. LISTEN to what your mind and body are communicating to you, and communicate with your partner about what is missing in your relationship. Consider seeing a couple’s therapist to help you improve your communication and identify blind spots that may be present in your relationship.
Dear Dr. Frankie,
I have been married to my partner for 15 years. We have two kids together. For the last couple of years we have been drifting apart and have finally decided to separate. I'm anxious to start dating, but after all these years I'm lacking in the confidence to put myself out there. Can you make some suggestions that could help me?
Focus first on redefining yourself as a single woman. Give yourself the opportunity to experience the freedom of being unattached. Take time for yourself and indulge in activities you may not have been open to as a married woman with children. Reconnect with friends and look for ways to make new ones. Seek out activities that are preferably social and physical, such as a dance class (i.e. Two Step, Salsa), or a hiking group, or join a local Crossfit. Engaging in physical activity is great because exercise will boost your self esteem, transform you physically and mentally, all while giving you the opportunity to make new friends (and perhaps more!). Also treat yourself to a make-over, have a friend help you purchase a new wardrobe, or get a new hair style. All of these things are enjoyable ways to spend time and improve your self esteem.
Dear Dr. Frankie,
After a long relationship with my partner, she decided to leave and moved out. I have been single for two years now. I was badly hurt by her leaving and have been closed down to the idea of dating anyone else. My friends are starting to push me to get out there, but I'm afraid of getting hurt again. Is there anything I can do to get my confidence back?
Two years is a good amount of time to grieve the loss of your former relationship. I agree with your friends that it’s time to get out there and at least casually date. Life is about taking risks. A quote that often helps me when I feel anxious is Anais Nin’s “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” Try to internalize this, particularly when you are about to step out of your comfort zone. Calculated (not reckless) risk taking is an essential part of living. It is the only way you will challenge yourself and grow in a healthy way. That’s what living life fully is all about. Your comfort zone will always be available, that’s why it’s comforting, but stepping out at this point seems like the next best step.
Dear Dr. Frankie, I have been in a long-distance relationship with my girlfriend for three years. We haven’t seen each other for six months, and now she’s decided she wants time apart. She says she loves me and that she’s doing this for both of us. I think of her constantly and miss her terribly. I want to be respectful of her decision but am having a hard time reconciling this reality. Is there more going on here than meets the eye?
I would have to answer yes. It sounds like your girlfriend isn’t very committed to your relationship since you haven’t seen one another for six months but she wants even more space. The message she is communicating is a painful one, but something that you need to hear. It’s time to have a conversation with her that you have accepted she is no longer in love with you and you both need to move on. Nothing is worse than being left in the dust. Hopefully you have a strong support system in place that you can rely on in your darker days. Healing can be a slow and often painful process. You may find yourself taking two steps forward then one step back; but have patience and compassion for yourself. This is a natural reaction and some things cannot be rushed.
Reconnect with friends and engage in new social activities to help you move on. You may surprise yourself with how much you enjoy the freedom you now have to date women who are physically and emotionally present, that can offer you true companionship. So cancel your Skype account and seize the opportunity to live life to its fullest and most meaningful potential.
Single? Looking for your soul mate? Dr. Frankie invites you to share her Love Seat. Send your questions to lesbian matchmaker Dr. Frankie Bashan at firstname.lastname@example.org and check back on here at curvemag.com on May 23, 2011 for her answers.