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Man and woman hugging on the other side of a rain-dropped window

In our weekly Psychological & Spiritual Therapy column, therapist Jack Surguy is offering professional advice to The Mindful Word readers for all those questions and problems you have wanted to discuss with someone qualified and caring.

If you would like Jack to assist you in any areas of your life and relationships, fill out this form. He will respond to your questions through this column, normally published every Tuesday.

QUESTION

At my last appointment with my doctor, a beautiful woman from South America, we hugged as usual. However, this time I felt like lights of energy were going off all over my body where we were touching. She really hugged me like she meant it.

We’ve always felt very comfortable with each other during my appointments. I loved looking into her eyes and I think she liked looking into mine. That last hug excited me so much that I kissed her on the neck, passionately. I then felt guilty and backed away because I didn’t want her to get into trouble or even lose her job.

I know I’m totally in love with her and I can’t seem to turn my feelings off. Unfortunately, I learned later that the day I kissed her was her last day of work because her fellowship was over and she was moving on with her career.

I’m now stuck in limbo as I want her so much, but she’s gone and I can’t have her. What can I do? I can’t get her off my mind.

Robert, 66, U.S.

ANSWER

Hello Robert,

Thank you so much for visiting The Mindful Word, and thank you for taking the time to submit your question. I chose your question for a couple of different reasons. First, it’s a difficult situation in which you find yourself. Second, the social environment today makes it an even more difficult question to try and answer.

Here’s how I understand the situation: You’re a 66-year-old male who has grown very fond of a certain woman who was previously working in your doctor’s office. You found looking into her eyes a very pleasant experience and you believe she shared that experience with you.

From your question, I assume that you and this particular person perhaps shared a hug when you visited the office. On one particular visit, you found yourself overwhelmed with intense physical and emotional sensations during the hug, which you obviously interpreted and associated with close, intimate relationships, resulting in you passionately kissing this person’s neck.

A good judgment call

I’d first like to acknowledge that your sudden realization that you weren’t in the appropriate social situation or place for expressions of affection of that manner was a good and appropriate judgment call. I strongly agree that deciding to show that level of affection in a public place with someone will more than likely lead to unwanted, negative and possibly even harmful consequences.

If you someday find yourself perhaps attracted to another person, I’d highly suggest using the “old-fashioned” method of asking the person to lunch or dinner and getting to know them through conversation.

In that way, you can determine, without having to guess or assume, if the other person shares the same level of interest as you. By doing this, you’ll avoid placing someone you care about, and perhaps yourself, in a situation that greatly increases the possibility of very serious consequences.

From here on out, I’d strongly suggest saving such expressions of affection for more private environments, while making sure that your interactions with others out in public remain polite and courteous.

A story from my own life

Before answering your question, I’d like to share a short story from my own life. I myself remember when I was first struck by the beauty and charm of a lovely young lady. I found myself captivated by this person and looked forward to seeing her as much as I could. She was able to bring an excitement and sense of anticipation to kindergarten that I hadn’t previously experienced.

So, at the age of six, I found myself “head over heels” with a young girl named Trisha. Not only did we spend every day together, but I knew that soon after I arrived home from school, the phone would ring and a small girl’s voice would say, “Is Jackie there?”

To this day, thinking back on those days, and yes, thinking about a very pretty girl named Trisha, brings a smile to my face and warms my heart. Trisha and I, unfortunately, didn’t make it to first grade as a couple. However, we remained close friends all through school and even talk from time to time, to this day, about her children’s experiences and successes, as well as my children’s experiences and successes.

If such an innocent crush can result in a lifelong friendship, how much more important is the love in which we invest ourselves later on in life?

Loving from a distance

I wish I could say that I’ve never experienced heartbreak and having to love someone from a distance. Unfortunately, many people find themselves in the position in which you currently find yourself.

These are, indeed, very difficult times. However, they also allow us to find out if what we’re experiencing is really love or something else.

I had a very important relationship end a few years back. I wasn’t ready for it to end and tried to salvage it, but in the end, the relationship fell apart.

I felt like there were two paths I could take at that time:

  • I could become bitter with this person, filling myself with anger and animosity towards them, which some people actually advised me to do; or
  • I could decide that if I truly did love them, I’d want what’s best for them, and if that meant I wasn’t a part of their life, then I’d need to accept that while still offering them my concern and support.

I chose the second path, and it was indeed a difficult one.

True love

I encourage you to take this second path as well. In those times when she’s on your mind and you long for her to be in your life, remind yourself that life took her in a different direction and that if you truly care for her, you won’t want to possess her but want what’s best for her.

Wish her well in your mind, often, and remind yourself to be happy for her as she discovers what she needs to in this life. This, in my opinion, truly is love.

image: Hug by Hernán Piñera via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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