Chat with Dr. Brenda Shoshanna

tere5: My relationship is a classic Chapter Seven from your book, Brenda. He has the "Repetition Compulsion." He just left our relationship -- where he was loved -- to be with a woman who is like his mother so he can play out that role. I need to know what I can do for him now that he tells me he thinks he made a mistake by leaving. I want him back but am afraid he'll leave again for another woman who he can play out his unresolved issue with his mother. What do I do?
BrendaShoshanna: Yes, you are right -- these repetitive relationships go on compulsively unless the person develops self-awareness. Often times he'll need to get professional help. Tell him you love him, but want him to work out his problems with a professional. Sometimes, love is not enough -- it is wise to know when.
Icharus38: Why, after women have children, do they want to begin treating their husbands like children?
BrendaShoshanna: Some women feel more in control when they "infant-ize" their husbands, relate to them as children and even smother them. They feel the men will not leave them.
Slynnhill: Should there be any time limit to a separation? My man is leaving this weekend. We are both in individual counseling, but have no plans yet for joint. Should I set a target for time together in counseling?
BrendaShoshanna: It's a good idea to set some kind of time limit to a separation, or else many factors could make the whole process seem indefinite and as though it were all right for it to go on forever. Set up time-points, when at least you two can meet and confer about where you are. Otherwise, you can grow quite distant.

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