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Emails to my Therapist

Bold Relationships

I have a box of quotes on my desk: the draw-one-a-day kind of collection. Today’s card: “Courage opens the heart.” I googled the sentence and found the source: Rob Kall, who has apparently given such matters a lot of thought.

Another of his I found particularly interesting is in the form of a question: “How much pleasure can you tolerate before you can’t take it anymore?” The conventional wisdom is that we stick with what feels good, but it’s not always true. The phrase “too rich for my blood” is often used to describe such situations. Maybe it’s fear that comes from having something that we constantly fear losing.

I can remember romances in my single days that inspired that feeling; that it would be easier to be out of it than to feel that it might end any minute. Paradoxical, but that kind of thinking can really be tenacious.

I’m very happily (and intensely) married for 25 years now; it was several years into the marriage before I completely relaxed. Husband Bob kept saying, “Just take me for granted.” He finally convinced me, or I finally believed him. I also feel that if he took off now, I’d already have had a bounteous share of happy marriage.

I think fully enjoying something is the antidote to the fear of it all ending, which, for some of us, takes practice.

(A psychologist friend Bryce Kaye has a chapter online from his book The Marital First Aid Kit on what he calls “hedonic inhibition” in relationships, about the inner stuff that gets in the way of having a whole lot of fun.)

(And thanks, Mamie, who is the source of the quote box, and author of the blog Can I Do It?)

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