Marital and Relationship Breakdown: When the Love Ends
E was a 35-year old man in a high-pressure role in the service centre of an upscale auto dealership. Z, his spouse of 12 years, began to withdraw more and more from the relationship. E experienced Z’s emotional withdrawal from the relationship with ever-increasing foreboding and even panic. Z spent more and more time at work, and it eventually came out that she was having an affair with a co-worker. Finally Z ended the relationship with E by simply telling him that she didn’t care anymore, and that she needed someone who was more vibrant, intelligent and interesting. This came as a crushing blow to E, who had tried to devote himself to his marriage and family, and who had identified himself above all as a family man.
After this rejection, questions of “Who am I?” “What do I have to offer anyone?” and “What do I have to offer myself?” came to the fore for E. E was in an acutely depressed state, wondering if there was anything of value in his life, or in him. Over time, in therapy, he explored the depths of the depression, experiencing sadness, anger, and ultimately his feelings of humiliation and betrayal. In his dreams over time, symbols of new life and rebirth began to emerge, and E gradually found the confidence to reconnect with old friends, make new friends, and enter into dating and, ultimately, a new relationship.