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From Man to Man

When Sara (not her real name) came to see me, she was deeply concerned with her desire for attention from men other than her husband. As we looked at her childhood, we uncovered a wound that had never healed. Sara had no idea that this childhood pain drove her to seek love from man after man. When she was a young girl, Sara's father moved out of the house and divorced her mother.

The desertion of her father had a ripple effect on the family. Sara's mother began going from man to man to fix her own pain. This reaction is not uncommon. In order to prove they are still desirable, many individuals will seek the attention and affection of another person.

Sara "lost" her father when he moved out. She also "lost" her mother, who was now busy seeking a relief to her pain. Experiencing a form of abandonment from both parents was a double whammy for Sara. It's no wonder she began to feel very insecure.

During this time, Sara was developing her identity as a woman. Whenever she visited with her father, his attention was focused on her looks. The only way he knew to show her love was to give her things. So, it shouldn't surprise anyone that Sara got attention from men through her looks. Her body became the means of getting love.

From her teenage years on, Sara had to have a man in her life. She was so insecure; she didn't want to be on her own, even for a second. As a relationship was ending, Sara would make sure to start another one. Overlapping relationships caused Sara to begin leading a double life. As is often the case, this pattern doesn't necessarily go away once a person gets married.

Sara believed finding the right man would end her almost compulsive need for a man. That special man would provide for her material needs and save her from living a life of duplicity. But not long after she was married, Sara felt she was not getting enough attention and thought she was missing out on something. The temptation was too much for her and she sought the attention from past boyfriends. She was lying and covering-up—-her double life continued.

This type of lifestyle creates such confusion over what are legitimate feelings of love. Often times than not, when a person has developed a habit of getting attention and love in the wrong way, they will begin to be repulsed by their spouses (the right relationship to experience love). This happened to Sara.

At this point, Sara is beginning to come to grips with the fact that her lifestyle is a lie. It will be difficult for her to change her thinking about seeking love. She will have to stop seeking attention from men other than her husband. It will take a long time of consistently saying "no" to the desire to meet her needs in the wrong way or to living a life of duplicity.

Sara is in this process of change. It's hard for her to believe it now, but Sara's feelings will change toward her husband. She can and will feel complete and loved in her marriage relationship.

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