I tackle a catastrophe from across the pond. Meet a dilemma dealt with by Mariella Frostrup (obviously a strangely-chosen pseudonym) in The Guardian.
I recently met another woman who I found very attractive, despite being aware that she is straight, and married. I came out to her and she told me she was very curious about women, and found me equally attractive. We entered into an incredibly passionate and intense relationship that lasted only two months. She told her husband about the physical aspect, and he was happy for her to explore this. Then she told me she was falling in love with me, despite her 10 years of marriage, and as a result could not see me again, as she wanted to make her marriage work. I am comfortable with my sexuality, but I wonder if I wasn't just an experiment to her? I can't stop hurting. To complicate matters, I still live with my ex – in separate rooms, and no sex for the past two years. I find it very difficult to forget her. Not that I want to. What should I do?
1) ..."despite being aware that she is straight, and married." I have no helpful comment to make. This sentence catastrophizes without knowing it.
2) ..."she told me she was very curious about women." Same comment as number 1.
3) I've included this cry for help not really because I'd like to respond to it in a catastrophizing fashion, but because it in and of itself is a catastrophe. If you find yourself believing the person next to you on the bus might be intelligent, read this letter. If you find yourself inclined to give humanity the benefit of the doubt, read this letter.
3a) The letter-writer became involved with an attractive, "curious", straight, married woman. Perfect.
3b) The writer wonders if she "wasn't just an experiment". The fact she wonders at all indicates that she is somebody's experiment. Failed experiment. (Please note: that was meaner than I initially intended it to be.)
3c) She lives with a former girlfriend and has for the past two years. We're not talking about a lease problem at this point. We're talking about someone you'd hate to be stuck next to at a party.
4) I am feeling a great deal of shame at this point, because I have hitherto neglected to address an important aspect of catastrophizing. Or rather, a certain type of catastrophizer. Perhaps I will call this type a catastrofabricator, although that is excruciatingly cumbersome. At any rate, the catastrofab (adorable short-form!) is unsatisfied by the miseries and disasters life doles out as a matter of course and makes a concerted effort to make ridiculous decisions in order to invite more confusion and anxiety into her life. The writer found a married, straight woman to dally with and has managed to continue living with an ex-girlfriend. The writer is clearly not convinced that life will provide enough tricky complications on its own.
Send the Catastrophizer your requests for advice and/or rationalizations using the form conveniently provided HERE. I will publish my responses on the THE CATASTROPHIZER page.
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