While on vacation with a girlfriend, I suddenly realized I was still in a relationship with my dead husband.
You would think I would have realized this, since I am a psychiatrist and had been in psychotherapy for two years prior to his death in July 2012. Yet I denied it, even when I found myself ordering his favorite pancake breakfast and scheduling a sunset walk on the beach that he would have loved. It took the gentle prompting of my friend to help me come to terms with reality.
When you are in a relationship with someone for a significant period of time, usually years, you incorporate many of the person's aspects into yourself. You may walk like that person or talk like him or her. People even say that you grow to look like each other. You go from being an individual to being a couple or a family member or a close friend. In a healthy, intimate relationship, you let down barriers and make that person part of you, and your loved one does the same.
When you lose your loved one, you must break apart and individuate again. That process can be extremely difficult if the bonding has been strong and enduring.
Read the eight ways to tell if you are still in a relationship with your deceased loved one at Huffington Post Healthy Living.
Thanks as usual to Gina Misiroglu of Red Room for putting me in touch with the Huffington Post people. It’s just one of the great ways she's bringing traffic to Red Room and getting attention for Red Room's authors.