As I said in my last e-mail our lives didn't work out quite as we expected.
I started out very much like most of the women I've worked with over the years — possibly a lot like you did. I tried very hard to be a good wife and put aside everything about me that Jonathan didn't like much. I read every magazine I could get my hands on about how I was supposed to be, feel and act.
When he insisted we see a therapist (after all he was in therapy school at the University of Chicago) I was amazed to learn that it was okay for me to like Opera even though he preferred jazz.
Then two events rocked our world. The first was that our first baby was stillborn at term. We were both devastated. A year later, when I was finally pregnant again, he told me he was in love with another woman!
I didn’t even realize how far apart we had grown and I was completely stunned! To my credit, I refused to give up and exit quietly. Even now I don't remember exactly what happened, but something worked..
Somehow I think I got the idea that since Jonathan had fallen in love with his cotherapist that our marriage would be safe if I became his cotherapist. The idea seemed preposterous at the time since I was a teacher who was about to become a stay-at-home mom. I put it on the back burner and forgot about it.
We survived that challenge by finally breaking through all the barriers of who we each thought we were supposed to be — and how we thought we were each supposed to act. We finally learned to be real with each other. We still need to remember to be tolerant of each other.
The next major turning point came when our son was two years old and Jonathan was in an advanced therapist-training program in California. That was a relatively benign change.
It started when I introduced myself as Jonathan's wife to a woman I met outside the training office. My now friend, Carol Solomon, said to me, "I'm a person in my own right." I was shocked. Even though it happened in 1968 I still remember it vividly.
Shortly thereafter the wives of the trainees decided to get a babysitter and attend the conference of The International Transactional Analysis Association. That was the transformational event that changed everything.
To be continued…
PS I would love your comments and questions about these letters. Please go to the Comments link at the top of this post and write something. I am still a bit shaky about sharing this information so tell me whether or not you think I am on the right track.