Today, as we stood in the station waiting for the train, I asked my husband of almost thirty years, ( a psychiatrist) if there was a common theme that comes up with his patients.
He shook his head and said, no, each one was different.
“Not even the search for the suitable partner?” I asked, thinking that that seems to be a subject that interests many readers of my blogs.
“That does come up, but it is easily answered,” he said.
“Oh!” I said, surprised. “ And what do you say?”
“I give them the best advice that was given to me. Sit down and make a realistic appraisal of yourself , of your worth on the open market, and then go for someone who will be interested in you. Don’t waste your time running after someone who will never want you,” he said in his positive way.
“You mean when you met me, you thought this one will not be too hard to get, so I’ll go for it, and that was it?”
He laughed and said, “ Of course, there must be some initial attraction! For even the briefest of flings, that’s where it starts. It is only if you want the relationship to last that you must ask yourself if what you have to offer will suffice,” he said.
“So you asked yourself if you were good enough for me and decided you were!” Again he laughed and nodded, and what I thought was , quite frankly, that I still found the man handsome as I had from the get go.
He said, “ Like you also had kids and adored them.”
“And that was very attractive to me, “I admitted. I remembered being moved by this man who would lay his hand so lovingly on the dark heads of his two little boys. “But it was an emotional reaction, for me, to see a father who was so loving with his sons-” I said, " not some sort of adding up of your qualities and mine." Having lost my own father when I was so young, this closeness was very attractive to me. “And there were times later on when it annoyed me,” I admitted, remembering being turned out of my bed on a Saturday morning so that the little ones could watch the television in our bedroom.
“I know what you mean, ” he said looking me in the eye, and again we laughed. My daugher and husband and three girls have been staying with us over the summer.
“You seem to have made a much more rational decision that I did,” I said.
“Of course, it may all have been an illusion, this attempt at rationality,” he admitted with a smile.
“A lucky illusion for me,” I said, and then they called the train and we made a dash for exit 19.
Sheila Kohler is the author of many books including the recent Dreaming for Freud.