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unrequited love
Dec 17, 2002

Dear Michael, I would really appreciate your guidance. I was in a relationship for nearly 5 years. I am female and have been HIV+ for many years. I was told that I wasn't what my partner wanted, ie : not pretty enough, not smart enough, not sophisticated enough. I tried very hard during the relationship but I was so fatigued and he said it would be too much of a stretch for me to be what he wanted. He said some awful things before he left ie : if I met someone now that looked like you, I wouldn't even consider them for a relationship. He also said we were never in a propper committed relationship, it was just in my imagination, I was delusional. Despite feeling a lot of anger towards him, I also grieve the loss. I still miss him. I have 2 questions 1. Does there come a time when couple relationships are no longer relevant to your life, and how do you know you have reached that stage. I believe I have. I feel that I am too unwell and that starting a relationship with someone new would not bring any fulfillment to my life. I feel it is time to concentrate on other things, like my health. I'd like your opinion on this. 2. How do you get over someone who you loved and were devoted to for nearly 5 years, especially when there is such a mixture of emotions. I still long to be with him. I feel sad and depressed, not to mention inadequate. Thank you

Response from Mr. Shernoff

It certainly sounds like the person you were involved with was not the kindest or most empathic human being around. What made you try so hard? I think that this is a good place to begin asking yourself, and probably with the help of a good mental health professional. From what you write, it does sound like the relationship was largely one sided. You sound so battered emotionally from this past relationship, that you may just need time to heal.

Not everyone needs to be or should be in a relationship. It sounds like unfortunately you derive too much of your sense of self from being partnered.

It also sounds as if you need to invest all of your energy in yourself and taking care of yourself. So it sounds like you already have answered your own question of how do you know that you may have come to a point in your life when it is not productive to focus energy on a relationship. This is not any indication of a failure on your part, and may be simple wisdom on your part.

Michael Shernoff, MSW



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