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Waiting vs. moving on; the problem behind the problem

By Andrea Bonior
Andrea Bonior
Andrea Bonior (that's BONN-yer!) is a licensed clinical psychologist, professor, and writer. She completed her M.A. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology focusing on individual and group psychotherapy for young adults and specializing in the treatment of anxiety disorders and depression.

Q: My boyfriend and I got into an argument two weeks ago. I reached out to him a few days later and he promised to meet with me the following day after work. I haven’t heard back from him since. I’m really upset and trying to understand why he would stop communicating with me. Should I send him an email expressing how I feel or should I give him some more time?

A: How about instead you go out for karaoke with your friends, volunteer at an animal shelter, take a French class, or just engross yourself in some vintage Devo videos, and – here’s the important thing – move on. I understand you’re not resigned to the idea of a breakup yet. But someone who pulls a weeks-long silent treatment isn’t worthy of a continued relationship. And, to be brutally honest here, he’s probably not interested in one, either.

Ask yourself why you feel that you deserve this, how it could possibly be better than being on your own, and what you should think of someone whose main coping strategy is an aggressive and cruel disappearing act. Don’t give him more time – give it to yourself, to rebuild your life and do better.

Q: My husband expects our son to make him a grandfather. He feels our son owes it to him because of the money we put into his education, and he has a lot of anger/depression about it. I don’t agree. Our son has self-esteem issues and I believe this is due to his father putting him down when he was a child. I feel it’s partially his fault that our son cannot have a good relationship now. My husband has no interests outside of his work and family, and will not do therapy. I would just like to get out of the middle and am considering therapy just to learn how to do it.

A: I get that you want the perfect words to tell your husband to make him see that no one is obligated to reproduce for anyone else, despite monetary support. But the fact that he can’t see this on his own isn’t the problem – it’s the symptom, just like his lack of friends and interests are.

He’s hurting, and depressed, and probably has been for a long time. Trying to reason someone out of depression symptoms won’t work. So absolutely, go to therapy: You deserve help learning how to navigate a marriage with someone who desperately needs treatment but refuses it.

Andrea Bonior is a psychologist and author of “The Friendship Fix.”
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