A woman loves the man who tends her wounds almost as much as the man who inflicts them on her.
—Richard J. Needham, A Friend in Needham
Another kind of loneliness is the common feeling that nobody understands us as we really are. We go around singing to ourselves, “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen.” There are many kinds of unhappiness, and at the time that we’re experiencing them, each one seems a unique burden invented just for you. If you get desperate enough, then you finally get to a physician, or are taken to one, and some official person provides some kind of intervention. The tranquilizers, which are so often prescribed, are not a long-range solution: they are merely a kind of saltpeter for the mind.
Before you get to that stage, there is an alternative and better intervention in the form of sympathy from someone who loves you. Friends can be supportive; but they are not intimate enough, or committed enough, to provide pervasive comfort.
One important role the lover may provide is that of therapist. He listens, he consoles, he advises. It’s no wonder that just as the lover acts as therapist, the official therapist is not infrequently also a lover, giving what is disparagingly known in the trade as penis therapy. It may be unethical, but it often does work. Independent of its benefits, however, it’s a serious abuse of power for a therapist to enter into any type of intimate relationship with a patient.
The cliché “my wife doesn’t understand me” often used by husbands is just a cliché, but it is just as valid of a cliché when it becomes “my husband doesn’t understand me.” A lover who is understanding and who provides comfort and insight may be the best kind of therapist for minor depressions and anxieties.
For a number of wives, the role of the lover isn’t so much as a sexual partner who is incidentally also comforting but more as a therapist who is incidentally also a lover in the physical sense.
- Friend or Colleague, Therapist or Lover? (behindthelockeddoors.wordpress.com)
- I’m in love with two men (salon.com)
- Being Understood In A Relationship (loveandrelationshipsbrooklyn.wordpress.com)