More couples are likely to split up in January than in any other month. The resulting chaos is great for February magazines at super-market check-stands. “Un-love” stories of the 99% of us who aren’t especially tabloid-worthy can be just as devastating… we are just not as likely to hear about them.

Unless you happen to be the love doctor:

“Eli,” for one, had come home to find all the furniture gone. His wife had moved out while he was at work; she had even taken the switch plates off the wall.

“I guess they were hers… she had purchased them… probably with my money though,” he said, sarcastically. “I was clueless… never knew there was a problem with our relationship.”

That same February, I met a woman named “Claudia,” who described how she had been “blind-sighted” by her boyfriend, George, the week after New Year’s.

“He did a disappearing act right after we had spent this wonderful weekend together. The last thing he said to me? ‘I love you’.”

She hadn’t heard from him since. Not a word.

“I must have done something horrible to turn him off. I want to tell him that I’m sorry …. If that is the case… I don’t think I’ll ever have the chance.”

Two sad examples of fall-out from excruciating, horrific “karate-chop”break-ups . Can anything positive ever come from all this?

I will never advocate for this kind of treatment… but consider:

1. The break-up message, for whatever the reason, has been clear.
2. Recovery may be able to start sooner, in the absence of more drama.
3. The “no-contact rule” that love doctors prescribe, is easier to follow when one party has been abandoned.

When I first met Eli, he was so angry, he thought he would never be able to trust a woman again. Who could blame him?

Claudia was less angry… except when it came to having to face her own challenge of never knowing the real story.

Through our work together, Eli explored what had gone wrong in his marriage and owned up to his own responsibility for its demise. He wanted to avoid this kind of pain forever, but neither did he relish spending the rest of his life, alone

Claudia continued to worry more about her ex-boyfriend than of herself. Had something bad happened to him? Was he sick or did he have another girlfriend? Was he bored? Did he think she was too fat?

Her challenge was to move past this disappointment, which she apparently could do nothing about and to become clearer about her personal goals.


Six weeks later, “Claudia” finally got a call from her now ex, explaining that he had taken a job 3,000 miles away. He apologized for disappearing, said he was “not ready or able to make a commitment to her or to anybody and was too uncomfortable to talk about it.”

“Eli” filed for divorce, decided that taking another bite out of a life would be worth the chance. And that he wasn’t going to allow his wife’s creepy behavior to define his life forever.

PPS: “Claudia” and “Eli” met in the waiting room of my office and sparks flew. As far as I know, they are still flying!

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