Q: I am writing about a friend. Her mate (soul) has decided after twenty years of being together, that he no longer wants to have a relationship with her. He decided to leave the state the night before their wedding. He's been gone a week. How can I help her? She needs some advice, and I am single and busy and would like to help. -- Kathy, 46
Dr. Susan: Twenty years of so-called soulmatehood are more than a lot of people manage to carve out in these days of disposable relationships. But of course your friend thought she was about to get something more, which was permanent commitment. Sometimes people agree to marry just at the point when they sense a relationship is losing its original intensity. It's a shame her fellow turned out to be a coward who never told her the truth, that he wasn't "sure." Not that he ever would have been sure enough to marry, if 20 years weren't enough for him to make up his mind. But if you want to help her now, she doesn't need advice. What she does need is your emotional support and validation. It needn't take a huge amount of your time, but think of her situation like this: she's suffered a grievous loss, much like a death. In fact, it is a death: the death of her expectations and the death of a relationship that had come to mean a great deal to her. Therefore, what you can best offer is a shoulder (or a telephone ear) to cry on. Perhaps the two of you could occasionally go someplace together, just to remind her that there's still fun to be had in life.
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Advice for Her
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.