3 min readLifestyle 30 August 2020
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HELP! My Boyfriend Deleted Me on Social Media!
Dear Armchair Psychologist,
I have a dilemma.
I met a woman.
It was 5 years ago maybe, after sliding into her DMs. We were attracted to each other, but nothing serious ever really happened. She's kind of my Jenny from Forrest Gump, a wildflower who shows up every once in a while and we'd be like peas and carrots, and then she would fly far, far away.
It was the end of summer two years ago and a girlfriend dumped me. Jenny happened to be in DC for two months before her move to Barcelona. We got very close and I told her I was coming to Spain to see her.
She left…and…radio silence. When Jenny got to Barcelona she got sick and found out she was pregnant. It was my child. She was going to carry it to term but lost the baby.
Spain has socialized healthcare, but it isn't free to lose a baby in a country struggling economically. Jenny's father is not in her life. She didn't want to break her mother's heart and didn't tell her. I wrote a check for the healthcare services for Jenny. Writing that check was the saddest moment of my life. I'm very diligent about checking my finances, but I will never look to see if this check was ever cashed.
I'm pro-choice, but frankly I don't know when life starts. And I was not ready to have a child. But it makes me so sad that there could have been a little girl sitting in my lap as I write this.
Jenny is now back in DC and I still have feelings for her, but I am in a happy relationship with a woman who is newly immigrated to the US, which complicates things for various reasons. I'm not sure if my feelings for Jenny are just out of guilt that she went through the pregnancy in a foreign country. I need advice on what to do, I've never had feelings for two women at once. What do you think?
I am so sorry that you feel conflicted about the past. It is normal to struggle with unresolved relationships and certainly ones in which a pregnancy was involved. You say you're in a happy relationship with another woman but you still have feelings for Jenny. From your description, Jenny sounds like someone who has not been a stable presence in your life. You say she shows up once in a while and the last time she left you, she went "radio silent."
It wouldn't be wise to compromise your happy relationship to explore what you already know, which is that Jenny most likely won't maintain a healthy and stable relationship with you as she's bouncing from country to country.
It is fair to explore your feelings about the miscarriage, however, and to discuss it with a qualified professional. It might even be a good idea to send Jenny an email or meet in person somewhere that feels safe and get the answers you need about the miscarriage.
Losing an unborn child can entail an enormous grieving process, but it's a unique sort of grieving because one is grieving what could have been versus a life that was already lived.
Psychologists still struggle with how to properly assist and help individuals cope with this sort of physical and emotional loss. Janet Jaffe, PhD, a clinical psychologist and co-founder of the Center for Reproductive Psychology in San Diego, defines that the grieving is partly rooted in a "reproductive story" that needs to be addressed. "You have a reproductive story, conscious or unconscious, and when something goes wrong with this set of expectations and ideas and dreams, you can feel like you've lost more than a fetus or a baby. You've lost part of yourself."
I hope you're able to find the answers and get the relief you need. In the meantime, steer clear of Jenny and Run Forrest Run!
- The Armchair Psychologist
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3 min read
"More grapes, please," my daughter asked, as she continued to color her Peppa Pig drawing at the kitchen table.
"What do you say?" I asked her, as I was about to hand her the bowl.
I shook my head.
I stood there.
"I want green grapes instead of red grapes?"
I shook my head again. I handed her the bowl of green grapes. "Thank you. Please don't forget to say thank you."
"Thank you, Momma!"
Here's the question at hand: Do we have to retrain our leaders to say thank you like I am training my children?
Many of us are busy training our young children on manners on the other side of the Zoom camera during this pandemic. Reminding them to say please, excuse me, I tried it and it's not my favorite, I am sorry, and thank you. And yet somehow simple manners continue to be undervalued and underappreciated in our workplaces. Because who has time to say thank you?
"Call me. This needs to be completed in the next hour."
"They didn't like the deck. Needs to be redone."
"When are you planning on sending the proposal?"
"Did you see the questions he asked? Where are the responses?"
"Needs to be done by Monday."
Let me take a look. I didn't see a please. No please. Let me re-read it again. Nope, no thank you either. Sure, I'll get to that right away. Oh yes, you're welcome.
Organizations are under enormous pressure in this pandemic. Therefore, leaders are under enormous pressure. Business models collapsing, budget cuts, layoffs, or scrapping plans… Companies are trying to pivot as quickly as possible—afraid of extinction. With employees and leaders everywhere teaching and parenting at home, taking care of elderly parents, or maybe even living alone with little social interaction, more and more of us are dealing with all forms of grief, including losing loved ones to COVID-19.
So we could argue we just don't have time to say thank you; we don't have time to express gratitude. There's too much happening in the world to be grateful for anything. We are all living day to day, the pendulum for us swinging between surviving and thriving. But if we don't have the time to be grateful now, to show gratitude and thanks as we live through one of the most cataclysmic events in recent human history, when will we ever be thankful?
If you don't think you have to say thank you; if you don't think they deserve a thank you (it's their job, it's what they get paid to do); or if you think, "Why should I say thank you, no one ever thanks me for anything?" It's time to remember that while we might be living through one of the worst recessions of our lifetimes, the market will turn again. Jobs will open up, and those who don't feel recognized or valued will be the first to go. Those who don't feel appreciated and respected will make the easy decision to work for leaders who show gratitude.
But if we don't have the time to be grateful now, to show gratitude and thanks as we live through one of the most cataclysmic events in recent human history, when will we ever be thankful?
Here's the question at hand: Do we have to retrain our leaders to say thank you like I am training my children? Remind them with flashcards? Bribe them with a cookie? Tell them how I proud I am of them when they say those two magical words?
Showing gratitude isn't that difficult. You can send a thoughtful email or a text, send a handwritten card, send something small as a gesture of thank you, or just tell them. Call them and tell them how thankful you are for them and for their contributions. Just say thank you.
A coworker recently mailed me a thank you card, saying how much she appreciated me. It was one of the nicest things anyone from work has sent me during this pandemic. It was another reminder for me of how much we underestimate the power of a thank you card.
Apparently, quarantine gratitude journals are all the rage right now. So it's great if you have a beautiful, leather-bound gratitude journal. You can write down all of the people and the things that you are thankful for in your life. Apparently, it helps you sleep better, helps you stay grounded, and makes you in general happier. Just don't forget to take a moment to stop writing in that journal, and to show thanks and gratitude to those you are working with every single day.