Shirah Vollmer MD

The Musings of Dr. Vollmer

Bank of Good Feeling

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on January 25, 2012

   Wendy and Jo, both age fifty, have been good friends for twenty years. They met when they worked together, but they both separated from that employer nineteen years ago. Still, they remained good friends. They were both married when they met. Now, Jo is remarried. Wendy is single and dating on and off. Wendy and Jo are not getting along, according to Wendy, my patient, who reports with dismay about how Jo disappoints her. Jo seems not to be interested in Wendy’s dating life. “It sounds like you have such a deep bank of good feeling that it is hard for you to reconcile what is in the bank, versus the feelings that are currently in your wallet.” I say, trying to talk about how relationships are complicated because past, present and future feelings are always at play. “That’s right,” Wendy says. ” I don’t know how much that bank should count for things, since Wendy is so not there for me now, but she used to be, when we were both single.” “It is a terrible dilemma,” I reply, understanding that it is hard to give up a relationship that used to be satisfying, even if it has felt empty for many years. “I think the bank is running dry,” Wendy says, working with my metaphor. “That is too bad,” I reply, helping her grieve a relationship that is no longer there for her.

2 Responses to “Bank of Good Feeling”

  1. Shelly said

    What is friendship about? Friendship is a little bit like love. If you ask someone how they know that they are in love or not, they’d answer, “I know how he or she makes me feel.״ The same holds true in friendships. If it hurts more to be friends with someone or if one seems to be working too hard in holding the friendship together, then perhaps it’s time to ease back a little until mutual interests drive the friends together again. Unfortunately the same can’t be said with family members– those we’re stuck with!

    • Funny! Yes, friendship is definitely a form of love. Of course, the equation is hard to calculate. That is, if the friendship runs through rough waters, but it had a good past, it is always challenging how to figure out how to balance out past, present and future feelings. Thanks, as always.

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