Another aspect that struck me at the party was that Mary was clutching and checking her phone with a dead serious urgency, as if one of her children was taken hostage and she was waiting for the ransom text. What she was really doing was avoiding being at the party in the environment of other seemingly happy families. She was escaping to somewhere else, constantly looking for some validation from her social networks. Maybe she was thinking, “My husband should not have left me, we should have been here all together like the other ‘normal’ families.”
I have been there myself. She feels embarrassed ashamed and lonely. Interestingly enough, the only ‘complete’ family that was present at the party was that of a birthday boy. The rest of the guests were accompanied by only one parent, a mother or a father, whichever was the case. So why was she the one feeling awkward? Because she was not there alone by her choice! Because she was hurt and was blaming her ex for her discomfort. The remedy she was using to alleviate some of this pain was her precious phone – her outside online connections. They could have been anything from a pleasant and fun distraction, to flirting, to even an on line text/chat date, or, if she really wanted to be a bad girl, a sext for all we know! What she craves and what she gets is a stream of constant attention in the form of the messages, texts, winks, compliments and come-ons from various online dating and social sites.
Going through this stage, one can get addicted to such an escape. An easy way to test if you are already addicted in this fashion or not, is to try to see if you would feel at ease turning your phone off for just an hour on a casual weekend. Try this and you will know.
Eventually, she will distance herself from the pain she feels, and will start to let it go. Once she starts to feel at ease with her single status and freedom, she will be on her way to the adventures of her life. After all, that dull married life she described, with one date a year on their anniversary, does not by any means sound exciting. Then she could let herself feel the seduction of a new romance, lust, the excitement and passion of a first kiss. Get carried away, meet new people, explore new interests. The important thing, I think, (Mary of course might disagree with me) is to not aim or recreate the same boring, abusive, or neglectful relationship she just got out of. There is no way back; we can only go forward.
Regardless of how open-minded or adventuresome Mary is, she is looking for that special someone who will give her what she thinks she needs. She is, ultimately, looking to heal her self image, her hurt ego. She is looking for love and companionship (and perhaps also to add another nail to her ex’s coffin). By the way, never go for an affair or a relationship because you just want revenge – you simply will not enjoy it.
What is important? I hope she understands that the new man or her new circle of friends should love her for who she is and should make her happy. She must be able to choose the real person who will make her happy, and not chase the mirage of a new prince charming, who will be on an even bigger and whiter horse. Is she really ready and in the right state of mind to find her perfect match? Would she recognize him once she meets him?
She impressed me as a smart cookie. I hope she will figure it all out in time.