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Come As You Are

Name: Valeri
Gender: Female
Age: 38
Location: Dubuque IA
Dr Dick: I just went through a very painful divorce. My husband of 18 years up and decided that he wanted to start over…in a new job, in a new state with a new girlfriend, someone 12 years his junior. I must be completely blind, because I didn’t see any of this coming. Sure we had our problems, what marriage doesn’t? I want to move on too, but I feel so stuck. I feel like this big loser. The few tentative forays into dating have been horrible. Every guy I meet is this lying sack of shit. Sorry, does that sound too bitter? HELP!

Damn girl, that’s fucked…big time! It’s hell when relationships go belly-up, and I don’t care if they are business relationships or relationships of the heart. If there’s an established bond of trust that is broken it’s gonna smart. And when the bond is broken unilaterally, it’s even worse. But what can you expect when you’re dealing with humans.

Surviving a break-up is not unlike surviving a death. In fact, the demise of a relationship is very much a death in every sense of the word. I believe that any relationship worth talking about has a life of its own; you see, it’s greater then the sum of its parts. I gotta tell ya, I see a lot of this in my private practice. A couple drags in their relationship and it’s immediately apparent that it’s on life support. They’ve actively throttled the relationship to within an inch of its life, and they want me to fix it. Most of the time the option to “fix” has long passed. All we can hope to do, at this point, is preside over the death of the thing, providing its passing with as much dignity as possible. But to tell the truth, when a relationship is in such grave condition, and there is very little good will left between the partners, sadly there’s not gonna be a lot of dignity when the thing finally expires. It breaks my heart, but what are ya gonna do?

Many years ago a therapist working with sick and dying people wrote a book called, On Death and Dying. In it the author, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, identified five stages of dying — 1. Denial: The initial stage: “It can’t be happening.” 2. Anger: “Why ME? This is so unfair!” 3. Bargaining: “Just let me live to see my son graduate.” 4. Depression: “I’m so sad, why bother with anything?” 5. Acceptance: “It’s going to be OK.”

I find it helpful to use these same identifiable stages to talk about the end of a relationship, particularly a relationship that ends unilaterally. If you don’t mind I’d like to walk through these stages with you so that you can see how applicable they are to someone in your situation.

Grieving the death of a loved one, or a relationship, involves the whole of us — our physical, emotional and social selves. We have to relearn, or cognitively adjust to, our new self without the loved one or relationship. Moving through the end of things is hard to work. And to survive it; we need be patient with ourselves. You, on the other hand, seem to be having a particular problem with this since you say you feel like a loser. That kind of mindset is not going be particularly helpful. So, if you can please jettison that kind of thinking. Or at least try to have a bit more compassion for yourself. Maybe you could shelf that self-deprecation for a while, until you get your bearings once again.

A person is faced with a fact that is too painful to accept and so she rejects it instead, insisting that it can’t possibly be true despite overwhelming evidence. This is Stage 1 — Denial! “Honey, I’m moving out. I’m getting a new job in a new state. Oh, and I have this new, much younger girlfriend too.” “This can’t be happening! Sure we’ve had our troubles, I’ll grant you that. But so does every relationship.” Denying the reality of the unpleasant fact may actually serve a purpose. It’s a coping mechanism for dealing with something overwhelming and too shocking to take in at once.

We have a gut-wrenching emotional response to the injustice, humiliation, and betrayal. This is Stage 2 — Anger. Depending on the kind of person we are, we may actively express our anger by lashing out verbally or physically. Or we may passively express our anger — turning it inward becoming silent, sulking or passive-aggressive. We may even consider harming our self as a way of punishing the other.

We try to fix what’s wrong. This is Stage 3 — Bargaining. “We can make this work! I’ll change, I promise! I know I can make you happy. Stay for the sake of the kids. What will the neighbors say? This will kill your mother! What does she have that I don’t have? You’ll never be able to show your face in this town again.” Hmmm, does any of this sound familiar, Valeri?

All our efforts to reverse the inevitable course of things leave us emotionally drained and exhausted. This is Stage 4 — Depression. Why bother with anything — family, friends, work, personal appearances, whatever — life as we knew it is over. We can’t seem to project ourselves beyond the ending of things. In the bleakness we often begin to self-medicate. A little too much food, booze, drugs? As if depression is not punishing enough, we often pile it on. I’ve heard some many people say; “hurting myself is the only thing that makes me feel I’m still alive.”

Slowly we begin to regroup. Maybe it’s through sheer willpower, or the interventions of friends and family, or maybe it’s just time itself. But we stop resisting and move toward acquiescence. This is Stage 5 — Acceptance. We stop resisting what we cannot change. Even if the end was un-chosen, undesired and inescapable, we can still willingly choose to accept it.

I hasten to add that these stages are guidelines. They are not presented in the order that they always happen. Nor is one stage predicated on the other. How long a person is in one stage or another is situational. However, I do hope this was helpful. What is certain is you will experience a wide range of feelings and emotions.

Some suggest the therapy of keeping yourself busy as a means of healing and moving on. This may sound elemental, but it’s not as easy as it seems. Most of us tend to wallow in our misery. We are way too indulgent with sitting on the pitty-pot. While you definitely need time to recover from the divorce, this period of heartache will have an end. And ends of things always led to beginnings of other things.

You now have certain freedoms that you may not have had while you were married. Once the initial period of grieving is over, it is important to jump back into life. Become more involved in your social group. Going out might seem unappealing at first, but it’s better than staying home and feeling sorry for yourself. If you’re only dating assholes, I’ll bet you’re fishing in the wrong holes, so to speak. The internet makes it so much easier to connect with quality people of ever stripe. Use this tool wisely. May I suggest that you start by connecting with people with similar interests as you, rather than posting a profile and photos on a dating site.

Of course, it is necessary to have some time with yourself to realize that you can survive and even be happy without your dick of a husband. The secret to successful grieving is that you need to feel the pain in order to get through it. Therefore, using drugs (prescription or recreational) and alcohol to numb yourself only make things worse.

You might consider working with a therapist to help you understand why your relationship ended. With a little luck you’ll learn how to avoid blaming yourself for the demise. No one is without fault, and your husband definitely has more than his share. But blaming him for everything will do you no good. You are neither totally to blame, nor are you the helpless victim. Lingering at either extreme will rob you of your self-esteem.

At first, being single might seem weird or even unappealing. But being single has its perks. Being single allows you to focus on you and take better care of yourself. And what better way to do that then by reconnecting with your sexual-self. Masturbation is gonna be your best friend during this transition period. Lavish time and pleasure on yourself. You’re worth it! Indulge yourself; instead of chocolate, get yourself a supped up vibrator and kick that thing into first gear, maybe even second! By spending more private sexual time with yourself, you’ll reconnect with who you are and what you want. This will make it easier for you to later choose a partner who can and will satisfy your needs.

Good luck

More of Sophia Sky – Podcast #227 – 08/18/10

Hey sex fans,

My friend, the exceptional educator, Sophia Sky, returns today with more of her excellent SEX WISDOM. I love talking to Sophia; she is so accessible and down to earth.  Yet her knowledge and perceptions on a wide range of topics are so insightful you can tell that they are the result of a life thoughtfully lived.

But wait, you didn’t miss Part 1 of our conversation that appeared here last week at this time, did you? Well don’t worry if ya did, because you can find it and all my podcasts in the Podcast Archive, right here on my site. Look for the site’s search function in the sidebar to your right, type in Podcast #225 and Voilà! But don’t forget the #sign when you do your search.

Sophia and I discuss:

  • Processing pain — other applications;
  • Her connection with erotic art —
  • …Modeling;
  • …Performing;
  • The Little Red Studio;
  • The Seattle Erotic Art Festival;
  • Erotic art and porn;
  • Female oriented pornography;
  • Kink, BDSM, mind games and power play;
  • Preorgasmia and masturbation;
  • Her sexual heroes.

Sophia invites you into her world HERE!  Look for her on Twitter, Facebook, and FetLife too.

I’m taking a brief hiatus from podcasting while I work on the remodel of my websites. The next podcast will appear Monday, September 6th.

See another slideshow of Sophia at work and play.

Click on the thumbnails below.

[nggallery id=83]

BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!

Check out The Lick-A-Dee-Split Connection. That’s Dr Dick’s toll free podcast voicemail HOTLINE. Don’t worry people; no one will personally answer the phone. Your message goes directly to voicemail.

Got a question or a comment? Wanna rant or rave? Or maybe you’d just like to talk dirty for a minute or two. Why not get it off your chest! Give Dr Dick a call at (866) 422-5680.

DON’T BE SHY, LET IT FLY!

Look for all my podcasts on iTunes. You’ll find me in the podcast section, obviously. Just search for Dr Dick Sex Advice. And don’t forget to subscribe. I wouldn’t want you to miss even one episode.

Today’s podcast is bought to you by: : Dr Dick’s Stockroom.

drdicksstockroom.jpg

Sex Wisdom with Sophia Sky – Podcast #225 – 08/11/10


Hey sex fans,

Holy cow! I’ve apparently fallen into a pot jam; gorgeous and talented Seattle women surround me! Monday I posted the first part of my conversation with the artistic knockout, Jesse Belle-Jones.  Today the equally stunning and gifted Sophia Sky joins me for some of her topnotch SEX WISDOM. This podcast series, as you recall, brings us conversations with movers and shakers in the field of human sexuality — researchers, educators, clinicians, pundits and philosophers — all who are making news and reshaping how we look at our sexual selves. And Sophia fits that bill beautifully.

Teaching, bodies, BDSM, art and performing are among Sophia’s passions. And she selflessly offers us her insights and acumen in the most charming and disarming manner. You’re gonna love this my friends!

Sophia and I discuss:

  • Being a pervicacious, strong and playful switch;
  • Becoming Sophia Sky;
  • The history of her anatomy classes;
  • Massage therapy;
  • Anatomy 101 for kinksters;
  • Head Games — Anatomy for Edge Play with the Head and Neck;
  • Genital Anatomy for Pleasure & Fun
  • Using the Senses in BDSM Play;
  • Processing Pain as a Team.

Sophia invites you to visit her in her den of iniquity HERE!

See a slideshow of Sophia at work and play.

Click on the thumbnails below.

[nggallery id=82]

 

BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!

Check out The Lick-A-Dee-Split Connection. That’s Dr Dick’s toll free podcast voicemail HOTLINE. Don’t worry people; no one will personally answer the phone. Your message goes directly to voicemail.

Got a question or a comment? Wanna rant or rave? Or maybe you’d just like to talk dirty for a minute or two. Why not get it off your chest! Give Dr Dick a call at (866) 422-5680.

DON’T BE SHY, LET IT FLY!

 

Look for all my podcasts on iTunes. You’ll find me in the podcast section, obviously. Just search for Dr Dick Sex Advice. And don’t forget to subscribe. I wouldn’t want you to miss even one episode.

dont ask, don’t tell…

Therapy Available

I’m a Clinical Sexologist in private practice here in Seattle. I’ve been a practitioner of psychotherapy, sex therapy and relationship counseling for over 30 years. I am a sex positive and kink aware helping professional.

I am available weekdays, some evenings and weekends so you can comfortably fit your sessions in around your work, family and social life.

If you would like to talk to someone about your sexual thoughts, feelings, lifestyles and/or experiences then arrange for a consultation at our mutual convenience.

WHAT I OFFER / THERAPY, COUNSELING, CONSULTING or COACHING SESSIONS
I provide therapy in a variety ways —

  • on the telephone
  • online
  • in person

All sessions are 60 minutes in duration. Telephone and online appointments are paid for in advance via Paypal.

Here’s a bit more about the way I work.

I don’t believe therapy should become a lifestyle. Thus, my therapeutic intervention is short term, goal directed and personally liberating. I generally contract with my client(s) for four, six or eight visits (clients of course can terminate at any time). This way we build in an automatic termination date, keeping all of us focused on the goal and honest about the progress we’re making. And, more importantly, the end is always in sight. Rarely do I see client(s) for more than eight session in a row. If my client(s) doesn’t have what he/she/they need to work independently on the problems he/she/they face by that time, then I didn’t do my job properly.

I also firmly believe in at-home-work and journaling. These things keep my client(s) integrated and involved throughout his/her/their with me. Our time together will be concentrated, so there will little time to waste…either yours or mine.

My fee is $125. per session. I do, however, offer a sliding fee schedule for those who have need of that.

You’re welcome to contact me for an appointment if you’d like to move forward with this. You can reach me at: dr_dick@drdicksexadvice.com

TELEPHONE
Some people find it easier to talk about intimate aspects of their life over the phone rather than in person. Access therapy from the comfort and privacy of your own home, car or office. Telephone therapy helps get round geographical, transport and mobility issues.

ONLINE
I can also provide my services via the most commonly used chat and message platforms such as Skype, Yahoo Messenger, etc.

SCHEDULE THERAPY
To book your therapy session(s) email me your preferred date and time dr_dick@drdicksexadvice.com. We will then arrange your preferred payment method. Sessions can be made in block bookings or singly whatever suits your budget and commitments. Early booking is advisable.

CANCELLATIONS
A 24 hours notice is required from the client to cancel or change a booked appointment time. Clients will not be entitled to a refund or an alternative appointment if a cancellation is made with less than 24 hours notice.

PUNCTUALITY
All sessions will start and end at the agreed time. Late calls or visits will result in a shorter consultation. All consultations are by appointment only.

SERVICES
Clinical services cover a full range of sexual heath concerns including:

— Guilt associated with religious upbringing or training.
— Sexual trauma and/or sexual abuse
— Conflicts or sexual dissatisfaction between partners.
— Ejaculation and/or erection concerns.
— Orgasm concerns.
— Sexual orientation/lifestyle preference.
— Sexual inhibitions.
— Socio-sexual skills.
— Sexual misinformation.
— Love and sexuality.
— Jealousy and possessiveness.
— Poor body image.
— Unsatisfactory sexual outlet.
— Safe-sex concerns.
— Sexuality and illness or disability.
— Sexuality and grieving.

My practice combines the best of a short-term cognitive behavioral therapy model with a compassionate, person-orientated counseling technique. My purpose is to help clients come to terms with their sexual problems and conflicts as these relate to their own life values, expectations and goals.

My services are open to individuals, couples, families and groups, of any sexual persuasion, who have sexual concerns. I am available for lectures, workshops, and in-service training.

BACKGROUND
Since the completion of my doctoral studies in 1981 I have been involved in a wide range of sexological activities including counseling, teaching, lecturing, writing, publishing, video production, in-service training and facilitating groups and workshops.

I’ve been writing this online sex advice column for well over fifteen years now.
I am the founder and former Executive Director of the nonprofit organization, PARADIGM; Enhancing Life Near Death — an outreach and resource for terminally ill, chronically ill, elder and dying people.

My therapeutic training includes The Institute for Advanced Study in Human Sexuality San Francisco, The University of California, San Francisco Human Sexuality Unit, and The Pacific Center for Human Growth, Berkeley.
Besides my sexological training I carry a Masters degree in Theology from the Jesuit School of Theology, Berkeley.

I am Board certified by The American College of Sexologists, The American Board of Sexology and The American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists.

Richard Wagner, M.Div., Ph.D., ACS