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Being a Widow is Easier Than Being a Divorcee
October 26, 2003 Ask Dr. Love Advice Column
I've been married for 26 years. Within 6 months after getting married at the age of 20, I thought I'd made a mistake, but decided to try to make it work. Then I became a Christian and we had 2 children.
My husband came from an abusive childhood and learned at an early age to shut down emotionally, well, he never learned to take the walls down. He has been somewhat emotionally abusive to me over the years, but I stuck it out because of my faith, and for the kids (now, 21 and 23).
I have learned how to assert myself so if and when he does say hurtful things, I can challenge him and then get past it. And honestly, he does not do it like he did in the past, maybe because my reactions are so different. The first 5 years of our marriage, I hoped he would open up to me, at the 10 year mark I was starting to seriously doubt he could, and at the 15 year mark I realized he never could.
I guess I adopted an attitude of resignation. I went through a serious depression about 5 years ago - due to deaths in the family and a mental health diagnosis for one of our kids and our marriage - and have been on medication for about 3 years now. It is helping me, but I am so out of love with my husband. I think I have been for a very long time, but kept trying to talk myself out of it (or into it).
Our sex life has always been somewhat physically satisfying, except he always wanted more than I did, but because I didn't feel emotionally connected to him I wasn't much in the mood. Privately, now I have the attitude of 'just do it and get it over with, ' but what amazes me is that he doesn't seem to think we have a problem (except that we don't have sex enough).
I have talked to him for the last 20 years about my need for emotional intimacy, and he always counters that if we had more sex we would be more emotionally intimate, though I don't think that 's true. We have tried marriage counseling but he wasn't honest with the counselor so nothing really came of it.
I know I should divorce him, but I agonize over how the kids (! ) would take it, and how I would be viewed as a Christian. Also, we have so much history together.
I have been thinking that if he died, it would make things easier. Isn't that terrible that I feel like that is my only out? (Not that I would make it happen! ) And I would be sad because we have been together for so long, but it would simplify things. Then I would just be a widow, and not a divorcee.
Anyway, I do have fantasies of someday having someone be connected to me, emotionally and physically, and I feel like I would have so much to give this person. Because a part of me has been dead for so long, it would be like a blossoming. I'm not getting any younger!
I am constantly thinking about this and would like to relieve myself of this burden but don't know how. I hope you pick my letter, any advice would be appreciated.
It is so painful to be in a dead marriage. My heart goes out to you. Your problems stems from the fact that you place your own happiness too far down on your list of priorities. You are supposed to come first, which is not what's happening in your life. You aren't taking care of number one, so in my book you aren't following one of the most basic Christian tenets--'honor thyself.'
Can you imagine how your life would be different if you did honor yourself? The first thing that you would say to yourself is, 'If I'm happy, so will my kids be happy.' You may think that your self sacrifice is beneficial to your kids. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
When you live in a masochistic and self depriving way, you are providing a model for your children to follow and teaching them not to take care of themselves. That isn't good parenting. On the contrary, if you take care of yourself and do what's right for you, they will learn to do the same for themselves.
As for what members of your church would think if you were to divorce, once again you are placing other people ahead of yourself. Why does it matter what they think? If they are true Christians they will love and accept you, not judge you. If you are surrounding yourself with people who judge you, you're in the wrong church!
What matters is what you think. Plenty of Christians separate and so can you. If you accept yourself and your choices, so will everyone else. The issue here isn't what others think. It's what you think.
You have an incredibly harsh conscience, one that guides you to make masochistic choices. Waiting for him to die, isn't healthy. Given how aggravated you are, you'll die before he does! The goal for you is to soften this harsh conscience so that you are free to make healthy choices for yourself and to live your life fully.
By the way, when you soften your crippling conscience and you feel ready, willing, and able to leave, your husband will sense this. Then and only then will he be willing to engage in couples therapy in a meaningful way. Until then, you are like the girl who cried wolf. He knows that you aren't going anywhere, so he has no motivation to change a damn thing.
Soon I will be adding something very revolutionary to my site--online group therapy. When my groups are up and running, I encourage you to join. Talking about your issue in group will have a profound effect on you. For one thing, you will discover that people will accept you, even if you are a divorcee. Feeling accepted by others will help you to extend the same tolerance to yourself.
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"Love Never Dies is guaranteed to give immense hope to those grieving the perceived loss of a loved one. Dr. Jamie Turndorf, together with her husband, Jean, now in spirit, provide stunning evidence of the continuity of love and life, along with the tools to help anyone connect with those in the unseen world."
Author of Messages of Hope
"Dr. Turndorf's eternal love story powerfully proves that our loved ones in spirit are waiting for us to reconnect with them! Read this amazing book and discover her new dialoguing technique, which enables you to reconnect and turn grief into peace and joy."
-- Mira Kelley,
bestselling author of Beyond Past Lives
“Dr. Turndorf's extraordinary memoir/self-help book provides astonishing proof that we don't die and that we are meant to reconnect and stay connected to loved ones in spirit. Read this book, learn her powerful new method for reconnecting and making peace with the deceased, and you will transform your grief to joy.”
-- Fr. Richard Rohr,
Founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation (CAC), and bestselling author of Falling Upward
“I found the book very helpful in guiding people to learn how to tune into spirit messages, and particularly liked Dr. Turndorf's guidance through meditations. In Parts two and three, Dr. Turndorf covered so many of the ways that spirits convey messages and this book will be a great help for people trying to get in touch with their loved ones.
Part 1 was her story of losing the love of her life. Reading about the pain and agony she experienced and SO MANY people experience will be healing to know that others experience the same emotions after the passing of a loved one. I think the first part could be a book on it's own merit because it is so beneficial to people dealing with the same intensity of grief.
As a scientist myself, I was glad to read that she didn't focus on a religion. As a medium, I have come to know that "god" not of a religion, but is the consciousness of all living things. Like Dr. Turndorf I've learned that all people are equal and all creatures part of all existence (and with "souls.").
I particularly enjoyed reading how she used her talent/mediumship to help people overcome their grief. Readers will get a lot out of this book and know that their loved ones are always connected.”
-- Rob Gutro,
Author, Medium, Scientist
“I could not put this book down!!! It is so gripping from the first few words, and beautifully written. Dr. Turndorf’s courageous story of her reunion with her beloved husband after his death and the heartfelt stories of others serve to validate what many may have privately experienced but discounted as just a by-product of grief and loss and not really “REAL.” The book’s simple and powerful techniques provide essential tools for connecting to loved ones in spirit and will allow scientists to amass new data from lay people, other than mediums. Your book will make a profound contribution to the now significant scientific data already collected in laboratories around the world studying survival of individual consciousness after death, while adding richly to our own sense of love and peace. Thank you for the Gift!”
-- Linda G. Russek, Ph.D,
Former Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Human Energy Systems Laboratory, U of Arizona, Co-author of The Living Energy Universe
“This is the most beautiful true love story that I have ever read. The depth of the author's love for her husband and her terrible grief at his death, and then her triumph as she learned to continue her relationship with him even after his death are all palpable. I lived it with her, and her story has stayed in my mind. For me, though, the reason to read this book is the author's wisdom in teaching her readers how to heal rifts across the death boundary. As one who has done extensive afterlife research, I can attest to the importance of post-death healing of relationships to both our dead loved ones and ourselves! Yet few people know how essential this healing is, and fewer still know how to begin it. As a prominent relationship counselor, Dr. Turndorf tackles this essential area, and she does it well. Hers is a wonderful book.”
-- Roberta Grimes,
author of The Fun of Dying: Find Out What Really Happens Next and The Fun of Staying in Touch
“Exceptionally well written from beginning to end, Love Never Dies: How to Reconnect and Make Peace with the Deceased is as informed and informative as it is inspired and inspiring. Especially recommended to the attention of anyone who is suffering from the loss of a loved one.”
-- Margaret Lane,
“Midwest Book Review”
“Love Never Dies is an astonishing and refreshing story of survival of consciousness. She clearly shows the many ways spirit can communicate through us and with animals and even objects. I could hardly put the book down, and I have read many of these types of books. This is a great read for those who have lost a loved one and are looking for answers to the ways spirit makes contact with us, and also how we can contact spirit to make peace. I highly recommend this book.”
-- Dave Campbell,
Certified Windbridge Research Medium (WCRM)
“When I held this 248 page spiritual giant in my hands, even before I started turning the pages I knew I had found a special guide that would help me through one of the hardest journeys I have taken. To love so deeply and completely and then to have the person removed from my physical life is hard enough, but then to find a way to stay connected with them is even more frustrating. So it was totally Heaven sent when I was asked to review this gentle messenger that helped me to stay connected, to recognize the connection and to even validate the connection. I also loved the way the author shared on such a deep and personal level it helped me to not feel alone and gave me courage to bypass my mind. I would recommend this sweet giant to anyone who feels the loss of a loved one. Thanks so much Jamie for the awesome blueprint. “
-- Riki Frahmann,
Chief Reviewer for the ezine Mystic Living Today
"As a colleague of both Jamie and Jean, I have been blessed with firsthand witness to their devotion and mutual love, in life and now through death. In her eloquently written new book, Dr. Turndorf has made their everlasting love accessible to all. Just as the uniqueness of their emotional connection radiated to me, it will radiate to you, the reader, in this groundbreaking work that will guide you to reestablish your relationships with loved ones in spirit... and even make peace, if needed."
-- Dr. Robert S. Pepper,
author Emotional Incest in Group Psychotherapy
"In her book, Love Never Dies: How to Reconnect and Make Peace with the Deceased, Turndorf teaches a method for dialoguing with the departed which holds tremendous healing potential for everyone who has lost a loved one. Turndorf is passionate in her certainty that we can actually communicate with those we’ve lost. Since reading Love Never Dies (which describes the dialogue process in great detail) I’ve used Turndorf’s technique and it has opened life-changing doors for me. It’s a powerful process, and I encourage everyone who feels ready to try it."
-- Ken Page,
L.C.S.W. from "A Life-Changing Exercise for Anyone Who Has Lost a Loved One" published in Psychology Today
"I just finished reading Dr. Turndorf's most recent book, LOVE NEVER DIES, and I highly recommend it for everyone who wants to connect with a loved one who has passed on to the Spirit Realm. This book tells the heartfelt story of the author’s tragic loss of her husband and his subsequent messages to her from beyond the veil, and it outlines the steps we should take to communicate with the spirits of the people we loved on Earth."
-- Garnet Schulhauser,
author of Dancing on a Stamp and Dancing Forever with Spirit
"If anger and fighting are ruining your dream of a happy marriage, Dr. Turndorf’s conflict resolution program is for you."
-- John Gray,
Author of NY Times #1 bestseller Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus
"This well-researched book offers a thorough, step-by-step program that provides tools for couples to heal even the most troubled relationships."
-- Dr. John Mack,
Pulitzer Prize winning author and Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School
“This book provides a down-to-earth, easy to apply, proven method for creating relationship harmony. This book should be mandatory reading for every couple that wants to head-off or resolve the inevitable relationship conflicts and build lasting love. Buy this book and put it to use!”
-- John Bradshaw,
Author of NY Times #1 bestseller Homecoming
"Dr. Turndorf is an amazing individual who has wonderful advice to offer men and women of all ages and in all types of relationships. Ignore her counsel at your peril!"
-- Bill Hammond III,
Winner of the Best Historical Fiction Award, 2012
"You are awesome Dr. Jamie. You really are. The best part about you is the way you translate complex psychological stuff into easy to understand and actionable insights."
-- Kajay Williams,
Producer Relationship Advice Cafe
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-- Michael Dresser,
Syndicated Radio Host
"Good stuff. Great insight. I love your approach. Who doesn't need more healing. I love your idea of using your partner as a healing agent. That's such a great way to see your partner. You give great labels and patterns to look for. I love your method. You make it sound so easy. You have a great website with lots of great information and resources. These are the tools we all need."
-- Dr. Matt Townsend,
Host, The Matt Townsend Show