From Dr. Jane's Notebook
Losing Is Not Always Necessary
There's a part of the poem, No Loser, No Weeper in which Maya Angelou begins
with the line, "I hate to lose something" and ends with, "...I mean I
really hate to lose something". In the poem, Dr. Angelou wrote of losing her doll,
her wristwatch, and then, of losing love. In my work, I see people who have found love,
lost love, abused love, and confused love. Here are a few thoughts on the matter.
- Sometimes parents and children lose their love for each other. Love between
parents and children carries very high expectations. Parents and children alike are guilty
of wanting to redesign each other's personalities and increase each others' strengths.
Therein lies the loss. Instead, we must be willing to truly love each other as we are...
imperfect beings who have some wonderful qualities that should be highlighted.
- Sometimes husbands and wives lose their love for each other. While dating, people
tend to spend a lot of energy on being attractive to each other. The feeling of being in
love is the incredible high that everybody seems to want. However, for some reason, after
the wedding, some people stop making the effort to be attractive life companions to each
other. Usually love relationships require a great deal of daily nurturance. So when love
gets taken for granted, the people in the relationship become lonely. It takes continuous
effort to keep a relationship synchronized, alive, fun and exciting.
- Emotional distancers prevent closeness in relationships. Things that are
distancers come in all forms: they can be hiding places, activities, or substances. For
example, the smoker who is confined to a certain part of the house may choose to spend a
lot of time there alone. Some people like to hide inside their computers. Being an
alcoholic is like having a love affair with the bottle. When this occurs, the intoxicated
person is never really available to get to know others. Frequently, secret drug or food
addictions cause people to withdraw from intimate relationships. It is easy for spouses to
live parallel and separate lives when their work schedules conflict or they spend most of
their time at home in different rooms. In the words of my best friend and husband,
"If you're not together, you're not together".
- Emotional losses occur when things become more important than people. Part of any
relationship is a mutual process of sharing. Unfortunately, too many people are
nonassertive "at the time" but carry away an unspoken grudge. Without the skills
to communicate and solve problems, misunderstandings often lead to the demise of
relationships between siblings, friends, and whole families. Sadly, lifelong relationships
often end over money, opinions, or possessions.
- Being successful at marriage and family requires new skills. Today's couples must
learn communication skills, develop problem-solving routines, and learn how to work toward
compatible lifestyles. When problems occur, we usually want to handle them in the same way
that our parents handled their problems, but we also recognize that life and some of its
rules have changed. We are not born with computer skills but most of us recognize the need
to develop them. Similarly, relationship skill training is becoming more and more
necessary in order to combat the more than 50% divorce rate.
Marriage and family relationships are terrible things to lose. Not far in the future, I
anticipate there will be gift certificates for premarital and marriage counseling
sessions, and prescheduled counseling sessions twice yearly to prevent relationship
problems. As with dental care, only you can prevent relationship decay.
ęCopyright, 1997, 1999, Jane R. Rosen-Grandon. All rights reserved.
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Last Updated February 27, 1999 by Gary M. Grandon,