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Below is an Interactive Board sampler. A fuller listing is found in the "Stories" menu above.

4/14 Interactive Board: Codependent Partners

3/23 Interactive Board: He's Changing... I'm Not...

3/1 Interactive Board: D/s Lifestyle

1/14 Interactive Board: My Purrrfect Husband

12/12 Interactive Board: What if He Could Have Changed?

10/23 Interactive Board: Quandary Revisited

8/24 Interactive Board: Quandary! What's Going On?

7/20: Dr. Irene on cognitive behavior therapy and mindfulness

6/12 Interactive Board: Unintentional Abuse

11/7 Interactive Board: Is This Abusive?

12/29 Interactive Board: There Goes the Wife...

11/4 Interactive Board: A New Me!

10/8 Interactive Board: Seeming Impossibility

9/8 Interactive Board: My Ex MisTreats Our Son

5/1 Interactive Board: I feel Dead - Towards Him

4/26 Interactive Board: Why is This So Hard?

4/19 Interactive Board: I Lost My Love...

4/7 Interactive Board: Too Guilty!

6: Getting Better

Part 6: Getting Better All The Time...

Look how far J progressed between January and April:

Date:    1/4/1999
To:    Dr Irene

Dear Irene,

I still see you because I think you are a benefit to me. I cut back on the visits because I am better adjusted now. Do you think it's time for me to fly solo and try this alone? (Dr Irene: Absolutely not! But why bother coming if you are not willing to try a different way? Glad I got your attention!) Maybe I am too reliant on you. (Perfectly normal at this stage of the game.)

I wrote this for the website:

Yolanda is not the only reason I do not trust. I have been through a painful divorce too. Then I look at other relationships. Too many exist for reasons other than love and the desire to make a life together. Some people stay together for children, to keep a house, or just because it is too much effort to end it. I realize a few couples out there really are happy, my parents included.

I do have a control problem. I want control in all aspects of my life. The relationship with Yolanda was a lesson and I did learn. I learned to avoid relationships at all cost. That I can control. I will not waste any time dating, courting, and joining only to go through the inevitable break up again. I have better things to do.  I have doubts about my ability to have a decent relationship. Maybe I don't trust my judgment because I am not ready to take another chance. (Yep. It takes time to recoup.)

I will never have another relationship if I do not allow a person into my life. For now that is the best thing. Perhaps this is just a phase. In many ways I hope that it is not because I really don't want another disappointment. I have never, ever enjoyed a relationship to the extent that you think is possible.

I am loveable. I like myself more now than ever before. I am worthy of respect and my actions command such. Much of this is new since the ending with Yolanda. (You bet!)

It took a while, but J's anger lifted. As the anger diminished, he was able to be less defensive and more honest with himself. He was better able to identify and therefore deal with his terror, his desire for a partner, his denial, as well recognize his personal assets.

The "secret" to a good love relationship is the relationship one has with oneself. J is doing better in this regard than ever before, yet he still has some work to do. Before he can fully appreciate what a thoroughly wonderful human being he is (and he is), he needs to accept his shortcomings. He is human, and by definition, far from perfect. The following email illustrates his growth as well as an area of un-OKness he needs to accept.

Monday, April 05, 1999 

Subject: Hi

Dear Irene,
I got a lot out of today's session. I know that I seemed to be out of focus, but I was listening. I know where I am and where I may be headed. I know that I am scared, but I think that MAY pass. Incredibly, I spoke with Sue, this Babe a friend knows, and made a date for Sat night! We are going to see a movie. It's a start. I don't even know what she looks like, but I am looking forward to seeing her and talking to her in person. I think this is the beginning of the end of my fear.  I hope. I think that I will want a relationship  eventually. Now I need to sit still and learn more about myself.   I need to make myself happy.
I do know that I will NEVER live down what happened with Yolanda. I think that nobody will let  me live it down. That makes me feel very, very bad. 

Dear J,

Good stuff!

You are right on target with everything except the stuff in red. There is nothing to "live down."  There is no shame; nothing to feel badly about in reality. You did nothing wrong. Life is a learning process and she taught you: that trust has to be earned; that some people are simply not trustworthy; that actions speak louder than words; that you need to face reality -- especially when you don't like the truth and would prefer to believe a fantasy that allows you to feel better.

Check out the shame stuff. What underlying thinking is creating your "very, very bad" feeling?  Convince me that what you did that was so terrible.

Best regards,

Irene                                            Click for Jay's Fall 1999 Update