What's my purpose in life? 39 yr old female, stb divorced, no kids [crisis of faith]
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Old 02-14-2013, 02:42 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default What's my purpose in life? 39 yr old female, stb divorced, no kids [crisis of faith]

[For my story, go here]

I grew up in a religous environment that taught that marriage and family and community are sacred. I was taught that especially for a woman, the ability to get married and have children and raise a family while supporting your husband and family's physical and emotional needs was the ultimate goal of life. Of course you should have a job that you enjoy and work outside the home, but only because that makes you a happier and better wife and mother.

I got married at age 22 to my STBXH who was 23. Of course we discussed having a family and he said that he wanted it too. As the years passed and other issues intervened (you can see my journal for more info), he never felt able to take on the responsibility and make the leap of faith and have kids with me. I pushed and was repelled. If I had pushed harder, we probably would have gotten divorced sooner. But instead I had patience and gave him his space and believed him when he said that we would have kids when the time was right. To be honest, I also was more scared of losing him and being alone, than of not having kids.

So now my marriage is ending after 17 yrs and I have neither spouse or kids. I earned my masters degree, but always put home and family first and my career second. I ended up supporting him in his career while I worked part time and took care of stuff at home. I also did a lot of volunteer work and eldercare for my aging parents and drove our social life and ran the house. I also had personal health issues to deal with.

Now that we are getting divorced, I am going to be alone. I never fulfilled my potential to have and raise children. I am disillusioned by my work & corporate life in general and feel like an aimless cog in a never-ending wheel. I am also grieving the loss of my marriage and the death of my mother and brother all in the same year.

I truly do not know what G-d was thinking in putting me on this earth. I know that I have friends and neighbors and family that care about me and support me. But I feel aimless - as if the dissolution of my marriage has set me completely adrift. The plan that I had for my life didn't pan out and I don't have a Plan B.

I just plain don't know what to do anymore. I feel like I have tried my hardest my entire life to be a "good girl", be kind, do the right thing, be a good wife and the payoff is that I am now alone and unfulfilled. I can't understand how this happened to my life and what I am supposed to do for the next 39 years.

For example, many of my friends who have dealt with death or divorce have said, "well I had to stay strong so I can take care of my kids". But I don't have kids and likely never will. After helping care for her for two years, my mom is dead. My 46 y.o. developmentally disabled brother died suddenly for no apparent reason 2 and a half weeks after my mom died.

I have always cared for others and put their needs first and now everyone is telling me that the challenge for me is to take care of myself.

But I really don't see the point.

------------------
CAVEATS:
------------------

I am not looking to start a religious debate here as to who's G-d is best. I will say that I am Jewish and have an extensive parochial school education and knowledge of the Old Testament. I am seeking the input of others who believe in God/Jesus/Mohammad/Higher Power (or whatever you call the spiritual force that runs the world) as to how you cope with a loss of faith when your entire life turns upside down and you're not sure what the point is anymore.

I also *really* don't want to hear that I should count my blessings and stop complaining because so-and-so has it much worse than I do, e.g. has cancer, was molested, is poor/blind/paralyzed etc. etc. and is coping with it all with a smile. Clearly, I know all this objectively, but it doesn't help me cope with my personal pain.

Thank you for listening,
--dontpanic
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Old 02-14-2013, 06:48 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: What's my purpose in life? 39 yr old female, stb divorced, no kids [crisis of fai

I'm not sure how to help but I want you to know I often contemplate the meaninglessness of life - especially when things go horribly wrong.

What do you enjoy doing?

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Old 02-14-2013, 07:52 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default What's my purpose in life? 39 yr old female, stb divorced, no kids [crisis of f

I can identify with a lot of what you're saying. I was the 'good girl' too. I worked hard at it to please God at the time and my parents. I was very religious and so was stbxh, he was my first kiss and I was his first real LTR. Fast forward 7 years, I lived an emotionally and sexually deprived relationship, thousands of miles away from my family and original set of friends, and he wants out because he's sleeping with his boss. Trust me when I say I don't know why I'm here either. Divorce is bad in my culture, I'll be alone here raising my son. No money, no income, no friends and family. The overwhelming thoughts of it make me want to die or remain married to a PoS man. I'm 31, I don't know what my talents and skills are, I love love love my son but I'm not sure I can be a good mom while so emotionally battered. I think about why I'm here all the time. I feel it's unfair. I never even cheated on a test in my life!
Your aim? Maybe to take care of your elderly parents and brother. What would they have done without you?
As for what to do now, you're still fairly young. Maybe it's time to focus on just you. I love my son, but it's hard to grieve or relax when I have to take care of a baby!
It's hard to do, but when I'm feeling religious I keep praying and telling myself God has a plan. I'm here for a reason, personal growth maybe, and I'll make it out ok. Other times I want to die and be done with this because I feel I failed at everything in my life. I don't know if this helps. Sending you big hugs and positive thoughts. It's hard to deal with inner and outer conflict at the same time.
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Old 02-14-2013, 08:41 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: What's my purpose in life? 39 yr old female, stb divorced, no kids [crisis of fai

I am fifty years old and a man, but I identify with much of what you are saying. What is my purpose? My life has become meaningless.

I am, at the moment, taking things one day at a time. I don't know what else to do. When I am depressed, I do not see any future and that is all I am thinking about. When I am not depressed, I tend to think more about what I am doing today and wonder without dwelling, how that will affect my future.

Sometimes I think there really is no plan. Life is what we make it and we do the best we can. I know, not very hopeful. You have lived your life waiting patiently for others to come around to your way of thinking. Why not try actively going out and finding what you want?

It is so easy to say this to you. It is so difficult to do, when what I have wanted all my life seems to have been ripped from my hands by someone who was not honest with themselves and wasted my time/life trying to get me to be what they wanted. It is a shame. That person took advantage of my nature and thought I would just become the person they wanted without ever really discussing what she wanted.

I don't know what I want now because of this type of treatment and I have no chance of getting what I worked and prayed to achieve. I can only attempt to come close to my dreams now or leave them behind for new. It becomes a matter of perspective and I have to, once again, reset my goals. At my age that is difficult knowing I was on the cusp of what I wanted and needed and it was torn from my grasp.

Our deceiving spouses may never pay the price for what they have done to us. We live with the scars. Life is tough. It is not the dream we all thought. It is a tough road and we don't have an suv or a map. No gps will help.

Justice doesn't live in this existence, only perspective. We only have forgiveness. We must find a way to dig deep inside and know we did the best we could. We must forgive ourselves for trusting another imperfect human being. They probably thought as we did. They probably thought we would change.

The communication was not there for my marriage. I thought we communicated. Who knows where the truth began and the lies ended. Truth is subjective. Find your truth. Live your life from now on.
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Old 02-14-2013, 12:05 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: What's my purpose in life? 39 yr old female, stb divorced, no kids [crisis of fai

Quote:
Originally Posted by dontpanic View Post
[For my story, go here]

I have always cared for others and put their needs first and now everyone is telling me that the challenge for me is to take care of myself.

But I really don't see the point.


--dontpanic
See, the above quote is the problem. I'm like you. Always cared for others. By doing so, I lost my own identity. But I'm working slowly and trying to take care of myself. It's very tough to change the nature, especially co-dependency nature but you've to try hard !!!

This is my 2cents.
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Old 02-14-2013, 06:26 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: What's my purpose in life? 39 yr old female, stb divorced, no kids [crisis of fai

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Originally Posted by Enchanted View Post
I'm not sure how to help but I want you to know I often contemplate the meaninglessness of life - especially when things go horribly wrong.
Enchanted, I am sorry that you have also felt this pain. It is so hard, but here on TAM at least we can help and support one another.

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Originally Posted by Enchanted View Post
What do you enjoy doing?
If you asked what I am "good at" or "talented at" I could tell you how I always enjoyed drawing and took art classes in college. I love to sew and design clothes, although I never had the patience to pin patterns and cut them out perfectly and sew perfect seams. I worked in computers and everyone comes to me for tech advice and troubleshooting. I am an excellent data analyst. I was a great student at school and got mostly A's.

But you asked what I enjoy which is a different question. I enjoy feeling needed. I enjoy helping others. I enjoy spending time with children. I enjoy teaching people new things and training people on skills that they never thought they could learn. I enjoy providing good customer service. I enjoy having conversations with friends when you really feel like they "get it". I enjoy curling up with a good mystery novel and a cup of tea. I enjoy playing scrabble with a senior citizen who knows all the scrabble words. I enjoy working hard and seeing the results. I enjoy giving directions to someone standing on a street corner with a confused look on their face and be able to help them and ease their life a little bit.

Now onto what I don't enjoy - or at least am not motivated to do. I don't relish cooking, so cooking only for myself its rlly hard. I am not motivated to go to the gym even though I am obese and know that exercise will improve my depression. I really do not enjoy being alone. I can speed walk 3 miles if I meet with a friend, but can't even get myself out of bed if I have to walk alone.

Does this help answer your question?
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Old 02-14-2013, 06:39 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: What's my purpose in life? 39 yr old female, stb divorced, no kids [crisis of f

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I can identify with a lot of what you're saying. I was the 'good girl' too. I worked hard at it to please God at the time and my parents. I was very religious and so was stbxh, he was my first kiss and I was his first real LTR.
I totally relate to this. Me and hub were both virgins when we got married.
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Originally Posted by ChknNoodleSoup View Post
Fast forward 7 years, I lived an emotionally and sexually deprived relationship, thousands of miles away from my family and original set of friends, and he wants out because he's sleeping with his boss. Trust me when I say I don't know why I'm here either. Divorce is bad in my culture, I'll be alone here raising my son. No money, no income, no friends and family. The overwhelming thoughts of it make me want to die or remain married to a PoS man.
I haven't read your story, but I'm sure you know that you need to leave to save yourself, your kid, and your sanity. I know it is not so easy to do.
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Originally Posted by ChknNoodleSoup View Post
I'm 31, I don't know what my talents and skills are, I love love love my son but I'm not sure I can be a good mom while so emotionally battered. I think about why I'm here all the time. I feel it's unfair. I never even cheated on a test in my life!
You make me simultaneously want to come over to your house and help you leave, while also interviewing you about your skills and stregths so that you can choose a career and restart your life with your son.
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Your aim? Maybe to take care of your elderly parents and brother. What would they have done without you? As for what to do now, you're still fairly young. Maybe it's time to focus on just you.
Wish I knew how.
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I love my son, but it's hard to grieve or relax when I have to take care of a baby!
But you know you can't quit because otherwise the PoS you married will win. If you stay put your son will be raised in an unhealthy environment. Your son needs you so it gives you a reason to live. I'm jealous.
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It's hard to do, but when I'm feeling religious I keep praying and telling myself God has a plan. I'm here for a reason, personal growth maybe, and I'll make it out ok. Other times I want to die and be done with this because I feel I failed at everything in my life. I don't know if this helps. Sending you big hugs and positive thoughts. It's hard to deal with inner and outer conflict at the same time.
Thanks ChknNoodle. I really appreciate your moral support. There's nothing like getting divorced as you approach 40 and midlife crisis hits.

I am sending you (((hugs))) and stregth to move on to a better place. Thank you again for sharing.
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Old 02-14-2013, 06:56 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I am fifty years old and a man, but I identify with much of what you are saying. What is my purpose? My life has become meaningless.

I am, at the moment, taking things one day at a time. I don't know what else to do. When I am depressed, I do not see any future and that is all I am thinking about.
Yep, that's me

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Originally Posted by 2ntnuf View Post
When I am not depressed, I tend to think more about what I am doing today and wonder without dwelling, how that will affect my future.

Sometimes I think there really is no plan. Life is what we make it and we do the best we can. I know, not very hopeful. You have lived your life waiting patiently for others to come around to your way of thinking. Why not try actively going out and finding what you want?
Do you have instructions on how I can find what I want? I am so clueless after so many years of concentrating on what STBXH wanted that I lost myself.

Should I move to a new place? Look for a new career? Abandon my faith? Embrace my faith? Live vicariously though others? Become self-absorbed in my search for fulfillment? How do you take care of yourself and nurture yourself and learn what you enjoy without becoming a self-centered jerk?

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Originally Posted by 2ntnuf View Post
It is so easy to say this to you. It is so difficult to do, when what I have wanted all my life seems to have been ripped from my hands by someone who was not honest with themselves and wasted my time/life trying to get me to be what they wanted. It is a shame. That person took advantage of my nature and thought I would just become the person they wanted without ever really discussing what she wanted.

I don't know what I want now because of this type of treatment and I have no chance of getting what I worked and prayed to achieve. I can only attempt to come close to my dreams now or leave them behind for new. It becomes a matter of perspective and I have to, once again, reset my goals. At my age that is difficult knowing I was on the cusp of what I wanted and needed and it was torn from my grasp.

Our deceiving spouses may never pay the price for what they have done to us. We live with the scars. Life is tough. It is not the dream we all thought. It is a tough road and we don't have an suv or a map. No gps will help.
2ntnuf, I feel exactly the way that you feel and it makes me feel so angry and so helpless. When I say things like this, people tell me "look at how much you did accomplish" or "look at the positive impact that you have had on the world" and I feel like the good that I have done is so small compared to what my goals and dreams were. Aaaarrrgh! Am I in a bad dream. It wasn't supposed to turn out this way!!!

I know that you have goals that you were so close to, but didn't achieve. I am trying to accept that I may never have biological children of my own. That maybe G-d never meant for me to. So what is my legacy? The years I pounded on a computer keyboard in a beige cubicle?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2ntnuf View Post
Justice doesn't live in this existence, only perspective. We only have forgiveness. We must find a way to dig deep inside and know we did the best we could. We must forgive ourselves for trusting another imperfect human being. They probably thought as we did. They probably thought we would change.
I want to find perspective and forgiveness and peace sooo much. When will it come? I have been praying and striving for so long. I just want to get to acceptance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2ntnuf View Post
The communication was not there for my marriage. I thought we communicated. Who knows where the truth began and the lies ended. Truth is subjective. Find your truth. Live your life from now on.
I know that you are older than I am, but your life is not over yet. If G-d was done with either of us, we would've been hit by a bus, so there must be something more we are supposed to achieve.

Thank you for reminding me to look for my truth. I want you to look for your truth and if possible also look for the joy that there is in the world.

I don't think G-d really enjoys the suffering of his children. It just feels like sometimes you get knocked down one time too many.

2ntnuf, thank you for sharing and good luck to you on your journey.
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Old 02-14-2013, 06:58 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by John2012 View Post
See, the above quote is the problem. I'm like you. Always cared for others. By doing so, I lost my own identity. But I'm working slowly and trying to take care of myself. It's very tough to change the nature, especially co-dependency nature but you've to try hard !!!

This is my 2cents.
John2012 thank you. I am such a textbook co-dependent. If its not too personal, can you share what you mean when you say "trying to take care of myself". What are you actually doing? I don't know where to start....
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Old 02-14-2013, 07:58 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Yep, that's me


Do you have instructions on how I can find what I want? I am so clueless after so many years of concentrating on what STBXH wanted that I lost myself.

You made a good start making that list. Maybe you can narrow it down by combining what you are good at, what you already know and giving care or teaching? Sounds like you would like to teach kids who are handicapped? I can't pick for you, though. Not sure what I am doing next. I know I get closer as the depression clears.


Should I move to a new place? Look for a new career? Abandon my faith? Embrace my faith? Live vicariously though others? Become self-absorbed in my search for fulfillment? How do you take care of yourself and nurture yourself and learn what you enjoy without becoming a self-centered jerk?


2ntnuf, I feel exactly the way that you feel and it makes me feel so angry and so helpless. When I say things like this, people tell me "look at how much you did accomplish" or "look at the positive impact that you have had on the world" and I feel like the good that I have done is so small compared to what my goals and dreams were. Aaaarrrgh! Am I in a bad dream. It wasn't supposed to turn out this way!!!

I hear a lot of that too. I don't think folks understand how deeply depressed we are at times. They mean well annd they can't decide for us.


I know that you have goals that you were so close to, but didn't achieve. I am trying to accept that I may never have biological children of my own. That maybe G-d never meant for me to. So what is my legacy? The years I pounded on a computer keyboard in a beige cubicle?

I know this will mean much less and you will stand a greater chance of finding that legacy, if you get started doing something. This is advice for me as much as you.



I want to find perspective and forgiveness and peace sooo much. When will it come? I have been praying and striving for so long. I just want to get to acceptance.

You will accept yourself once you forgive yourself. You must let all of the crap go. I was raised RCath. and we had confession. I hated it, pretty much. Do you have a way to sort of talk to someone who represents G-d? I think we have to "confess" or let go of all of the bad stuff inside to be able to forgive. I haven't been to confession, but I have talked many times and been angry and told him so. I think it is cleansing.



I know that you are older than I am, but your life is not over yet. If G-d was done with either of us, we would've been hit by a bus, so there must be something more we are supposed to achieve.

There is more. We will find it.


Thank you for reminding me to look for my truth. I want you to look for your truth and if possible also look for the joy that there is in the world.

I try every day.


I don't think G-d really enjoys the suffering of his children. It just feels like sometimes you get knocked down one time too many.

I don't think He stops it either. I don't know right now what he does. I am trying to believe in the good.


2ntnuf, thank you for sharing and good luck to you on your journey.
Maybe you should look into this: "Codependent No More", by Melodie Beatty

Also, there is a book called: "Boundaries", by John Townsend

I hope I spelled all of that right. You will find them if you want.

Edit: Another book I found which looks interesting, SA posted this: http://www.amazon.com/Feel-Fear-Do-Anyway/dp/0345487427
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Old 02-14-2013, 08:32 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: What's my purpose in life? 39 yr old female, stb divorced, no kids [crisis of fai

I feel alot like you. Married 12 years, now separated while H bangs his posOW. No children, I am unable to have kids due to a medical condition tho I did try fertility treatment until I couldn't take it anymore. I never had a proper career, which seems pathetic at my age (48), so am currently unemployed thinking who the hell is ever going to hire me. It sucks. and I am so depressed I would never get out of bed if it wasn't for my dogs. I don't know what I believe anymore. I lean more the Buddhist way of things. I'm sorry you're struggling but I do believe your destiny and mine MUST be bigger than this. as 2nutnuf said, we haven't been hit by a bus yet. You (and I) have to find meaning in ourselves and the lives we make. Although it may not feel like it, and I understand if you think this is a load of crap, you have an opportunity to remake your life and become the person you always wanted to be. Keep posting. wish I could offer some magical solution. just keep getting up and doing what makes you happy.
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Old 02-14-2013, 09:32 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default What's my purpose in life? 39 yr old female, stb divorced, no kids [crisis of f

I'm sorry you're in this situation. I sympathize a lot with what you've said.

Your purpose in life is to enjoy what you have in front of you; that's what I think. God gave you both gifts and obstacles and it's kind of like being given a set of crafts objects but also a set of constraints and then having a pile of time to make whatever you can out of it. You've done a marvelous job of being the good girl assisting everyone around you and now it's your chance to make something fun and lovely, too.

I know you probably feel broken hearted and lost, but you can still have those things you want. You can adopt or freeze some eggs or hire a surrogate or do IVF and have a child of your own. You could find another partner based on compatibility of ideals rather than romantic love. You could travel or take up an art or do done kind of service or missionary work. I think you should try and imagine what one thing is that might make you feel good about yourself and start there.

39 is young enough to have the things you've been traditionally told you ought to have, if you want them. It's also young enough to start over, if you prefer. I'm 35 and feeling a lot of the same things; I gave my husband my best and most reproductively potent years and now Im heartbroken and alone, in a lot if ways. Sometimes it just sucks. No return on the investment kinda feeling, betrayed by what you believed in kinda feeling. But, don't give up. You'll find your purpose if you seek it.

Can you join a faith group or something like that? Are you seeing a counselor? Hang in there.
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Old 02-14-2013, 09:45 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Maybe you should look into this: "Codependent No More", by Melodie Beatty
I know I should read it. Its still on my dresser in my bedroom. I have read parts. I have also considered going to a CODA meeting

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Also, there is a book called: "Boundaries", by John Townsend

I hope I spelled all of that right. You will find them if you want.
I haven't heard of Boundaries, so thanks for the recommendation

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Edit: Another book I found which looks interesting, SA posted this: Feel the Fear . . . and Do It Anyway: Susan Jeffers: 9780345487421: Amazon.com: Books
I heard of this one years ago but haven't read it. I will see if they have it at my library. Thanks again for your help
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Old 02-14-2013, 09:46 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: What's my purpose in life? 39 yr old female, stb divorced, no kids [crisis of fai

Quote: You could find another partner based on compatibility of ideals rather than romantic love.

Moxy,

I don't understand this. Can you explain it, please? Why find another partner based only on ideals?
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Old 02-14-2013, 10:02 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote: You could find another partner based on compatibility of ideals rather than romantic love.

Moxy,

I don't understand this. Can you explain it, please? Why find another partner based only on ideals?
Because romance is such an overwhelming and daunting concept after being the good girl and doing it all right and still having it fall apart. Being with a person who has the same ideals and values would probably lead to romantic love, too. Sometimes, the idea of finding another big love just feels like too big a risk after something like this, so this way, it could catch you unaware and have the added bonus of not clouding judgement about shared values. It's like the small bit of hope that might well lead to something better than you could have imagined, something you won't be closed off and resistant to because heartbreak is hanging heavy overhead....
__________________
"He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it." -Martin Luther King, Jr.

"“We first crush people to the earth, & then claim the right of trampling on them forever, because they are prostrate." -Lydia Maria Child.
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