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Moving back again
Apr 29, 1999

Dearl Michael,

I am a long term survivor of HIV, 11 years. I am 31 now about to buy a home with my currenly lover of 5 years. The house we are buying is in a town where I lived 10 years ago with my later lover who passed away 1992. I'm developing anxiety about moving back to this town. We have a wonderful offer and I hate to pass this up, but deep down I'm panicing about moving back there. WHen I even pass through this city just north of Washington DC I become quiet and upset. Any suggestions, do you think this is a bad move, do you think I should call my therapist?

Thanks

Response from Mr. Shernoff

What you are experiencing is very understandable as it will put you in very close proximity to a very stressful and traumatic time of your life. Yet, by all of the description you have given me you have very successfully been able to move on after the trauma of having buried your previous partner.

In both my personal experience as a gay widower and professional experience as a therapist who has counseled numerous other widowers, there is never any total resolution to the enormity of the feelings surrounding surviving the death of a beloved partner. The best we can hope for is to make healthy adjustments to life after his death. It definitely sounds like you have done that and continue to do it.

Yet at the same time there has to be many conflicting feelings surrounding buying a new house with a new lover. Not the least of this may be, even if it is not conscious, of your own feelings about still being alive and in good enough health to make this wonderful new beginning, while your previous partner died from the same illness that you are successfully living with.

I think this is an excellent time to call your therapist and begin to look at all of the very complex emotional and psychological issues that are converging for you now. It seems also clear to me that you are strong enough and have enough support in your life to honestly work on these painful issues. Best of luck to you.

Michael Shernoff, MSW



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