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Fred's Blog

The Perils Of Love

Has love ever made you sad? How about depressed or mad?

Relationships of all kinds come with the possibility of creating great happiness. But, when things donít go well, they also come with the possibility of creating tremendous hurts and sorrow. How many people do you know who can tell you stories of relationships that went wrong? How many sad experiences have you had yourself?

The truth is that those who have a deep capacity to care also have a deep capacity to hurt. You donít get one without the possibility of the other. If we are fortunate, our relationships will bring us a great deal more pleasure than pain.† But, the risk of failure and hurt is always present when we let ourselves get intimately close to another human being.

I have friends who still talk about the wrongs they suffered from a romantic relationship, or a marriage, that existed years and years ago. I have people I know who, rather than risking emotional pain, will avoid any possibility of closeness or intimacy. They have insulated themselves from hurt feelings. They have become apathetic and/or withdrawn in this area.

Almost everyone who has seen their loving relationships come asunder has had difficulties and discomfort; some just more than others. Iíve seen and heard bitterness beyond belief. Some people are so negatively affected that they take it out on anyone they might come close to again. Yet, some work it out. They learn how to move on. They adapt, reconfirm their self worth, and look forward positively to a better future. Then there are others still, definitely a small number, who canít move on at all. They are in denial. They are stuck. They just canít or wonít accept the fact that the relationship is over. They have lost all sense of reality.

About six weeks ago I received a call from a doctor friend of mine who wanted me to work with him on a new project. He was starting a home hospice business and thought that Iíd be a perfect candidate to help him market his new service. We had initially met about five years ago under very trying circumstances. I had, unfortunately, come down with peritonitis during an emergency appendectomy. My friend was brought in as the expert in infectious diseases to try and stop my very serious infection. For two weeks I labored in the hospital under high fever. Finally, with his guidance, the most powerful drugs available, and my indomitable will, I came out of it. Two weeks later he told me that if I hadnít been in such good shape, he didnít think that I would have made it. Howís that for a reality check to let you know what is truly important in life? As you might imagine, I felt incredibly indebted to this man, the one person who was probably, more than anyone else, responsible for saving my life. We became fast friends. And, even though I had an internist for more than 35 years in Century City, I started coming to this doctor for small issues which could be dealt with quickly. In time he hired me to do business consulting work for his practice. Occasionally, we would get together socially, either just the two of us or with his wife, with or without their baby daughters, one and three years of age. This Russian born man was incredibly caring and bright. He had dual degrees in internal medicine and infectious disease.

About four years ago he informed me that his wife, 29, originally from Belarus, had decided that she wanted to become a dentist. It wasnít good enough that her husband was working 12-13 hours a day, or that he was making $300-400,000 annually, or that her children desperately needed her attention. She was determined to get her own professional degree, and she had no intentions of waiting for her children to reach school age. As fate would have it, she could only get into a dental school in south Florida. So, she moved to Ft. Lauderdale with her children and brought her parents in from Belarus to care for them. My friend was relegated to visiting his family every other weekend, and footing the bill for all five of them. When I expressed my displeasure at this act he said, ďWhat can I do. I love her very much and want to support her in any way that I can.Ē I thought she should have waited. I thought that she would be depriving her children of valuable personal interaction with her at a critical time in their lives. I thought that her husband deserved better. Here he was working heavy duty hours, and she was deserting him for her own selfish wishes. And, of course, she was depriving him of his children except for a weekend visit every other week. It was inconceivable to me. Maybe I had never experienced suchĒlove.Ē Maybe I just couldnít understand how one person could make such sacrifices in the name of love for another person. For one year after she left he lived in my home. Later he bought a condo closer to his practice and hospital, and still later he bought a very expensive, large home for his family to eventually move into together when his wife graduated dental school.

Fast forward four years. When he called me recently to ask if I would help him with his new business, he explained that his wife had been back from Florida for two weeks; she had graduated from dental school. I congratulated him and sent my best wishes to her for her accomplishment. He said that they had all moved into the house. I was very happy for him. I even said that I couldnít imagine anyone that I knew who might be able to go through what he had. He said that he would have to put off our discussion for a week, because he had some difficult issues that needed to be worked out with his wife. I said that I couldnít imagine what might be creating a problem now since they had all gone through the hard part these past four years. He just smiled benignly and said that he would call me the following week. At the beginning of the next week I was driving through his parking lot on the way to my bank. He walked right in front of my path without seeing me. When I yelled out to him that it looked like he was determined to kill himself, he laughed and inquired about my health. We spoke for a few moments about other issues. But, when I mentioned how things were going at home, he simply said that he still had some problems with his wife, but would definitely call me at the beginning of the following week. This was approximately 4:00 PM on a Tuesday afternoon. The next morning at approximately 10:30 AM he put two bullets in his wifeís head before turning the gun on himself!!

Later reports would reveal that he had received a call at his office that morning and had darted out quickly, telling his staff that there was a family emergency at home. When six hours had passed and he had not returned, someone from the office went to the home to see if they could find out what had happened to him. In the driveway, in a pool of blood, were both bodies, with a gun near his side.†

Subsequently, it was learned that when she had returned from Florida, she had asked him for a divorce. Perhaps this was the last straw for him. A psychologist friend of mine ventured a guess that he was suffering from diminished capacity.† He had never accepted her actions the past four years, and was steadily building up more and more resentment toward her that he finally couldnít control. When she asked for a divorce, he snapped.

Most of us respond to emotional issues over relationships within a set range, above and below what we all might consider to be social norms. But, a very small group will act, unfortunately, well outside the norm. Like my friend, they will lose all sense of proportion, all sense of right and wrong, all sense of reason. They will be capable of creating a tragedy of mammoth proportions.

Love has the capacity to raise us to incomparable heights. But, it also has the capacity to destroy us. I guess it's probably a good thing that almost all of us reasonably fall somewhere in the middle of the two.

|  Posted on: 2011-07-25 01:30:11  |  0 Comments  

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