Sigmund Freud said,
Love and work are the cornerstones of our humanness.
I’ve always been successful in my work life, but my love life has been a challenge. I had my first job when I was eight years old. I recognized that everyone I knew sent out Christmas or holiday cards in December and I figured that I could make some money selling cards to my neighbors. I found a company that sent me a book of sample cards that people could choose from, fill in the personalized greeting they wanted, and pay me for the quantity of cards they wanted. I sent half the money to the card company and got to keep the other half. I made enough money to buy presents for family and friends and have a little left over to start the new year off right.
That led to bigger and better jobs, first as a paperboy and later I learned that I could make money buying and selling coins. At age nine I took the bus from our home in the San Fernando Valley into Hollywood to go to coin shows. When I learned that coin dealers at the shows got a discount buying coins from other dealers, I had business cards printed. “Jed Diamond, Dealer in Rare Coins” and demanded my dealer discount when I attended the next coin show.
I could go on and on about my business ventures including becoming a successful marriage and family therapist and author of seventeen books on various aspects of relationship health including international best-sellers such as Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places: Overcoming Romantic and Sexual Addictions, my first widely read book that spoke to problems I had gone through in my personal life and what I had learned that would help others.
In Looking for Love, I said:
When we find that our romantic relationships are a series of disappointments yet we continue to pursue them, we are looking for love in all the wrong places. When we are overwhelmed by our physical attraction to a new person, when the chemistry feels ‘fantastic,’ and we are sure that this time we have found someone who will make us whole, we are looking for love in all the wrong places. When we are in a committed relationship but find ourselves constantly attracted to others, we are looking for love in all the wrong places. When our desire for more sex, different sex, or hotter sex, keeps us looking on-line for our latest fix, we are looking for love in all the wrong places.
Like many of you, I did my share of looking for love in all the wrong places. I even developed a mathematical representation of it. We often view marriage as a way to make us whole and complete. The formula is ½ to ½ = 1. But I learned that trying to get another person to complete you actually creates a formula for disaster: ½ x ½ = ¼.
When you visit my website you’ll see my introductory video, “Confessions of a Twice-Divorced Marriage Counselor.” I share what I went through with a first marriage and couldn’t survive the stresses of raising children and attempting to stimulate our flagging sex lives by exploring the world of polyamory and open marriage. My second marriage was to a woman who slept with a gun under her pillow…”to protect myself from men,” she told me, should have been a tip off to run the other way. But when you become addicted to the rush of excitement and danger, we become like confused homing pigeons flying headlong in the opposite direction and soon crash.
The 5 Stages of Love and Why Too Many Relationships Crash at Stage 3
Rather than follow my old pattern of going through the grief of an ending, burying myself in my work, eventually getting lonely, and going out looking for love again; I tried something new. I decided to do some serious reflecting on my love life. I found a good therapist, attended a number of retreats on trauma, healing, and how we can find real lasting love, and took the time I needed to sort things out.
Looking back, I realize I had taken the skills that allowed me to be successful at work—Learning from experts, engaging what I learned, getting support, and creating a new way of looking at my life—and applying them to my love life. I’m more than happy to report that “the third time was the charm.” Carlin and I have been together for 42 wonderful years. I wrote about what we learned in my book, The Enlightened Marriage: The 5 Transformative Stages of Relationships and Why the Best is Still to Come.
We all want real, lasting love, whether we are in our 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, or beyond. Yet too many marriages fall apart and most people don’t know why. They mistakenly believe that they have chosen the wrong partner. After going through the grieving process, they start looking again. But after more than forty years as a marriage and family counselor I have found that most people are looking for love in all the wrong places. They don’t understand that Stage 3 is not the end, but the real beginning for achieving real, lasting love:
- Stage 1: Falling In Love
- Stage 2: Becoming a Couple
- Stage 3: Disillusionment
- Stage 4: Creating Real, Lasting Love
- Stage 5: Using the Power of Two to Change the World
Like many people I grew up thinking that love and marriage were easy and straightforward. You had fun dating until you met that special someone and magically fell in love. You became a couple and lived happily ever after. Clearly, real-life wasn’t like that. After a certain amount of time, we become disillusioned with our partner and the way we are in the relationship, eventually become more distant, and eventually things break down.
Yet, it doesn’t have to be that way.
A Retreat for Men Who Have Gone Through a Breakup, But Want to Learn the Secrets of Real Lasting Love
For years, I offered counseling for men who had gone through a breakup and wanted to come through the grieving process with new understandings about what went wrong and what they could do to create a better future. I also counseled women, but I seemed to attract many men. They were mostly over 40 and pretty successful in their work lives but were struggling in their love lives.
I also offered retreats for guys who wanted to give themselves a true gift of love: Learning from one who has been there the secrets of creating an intimate partnership that not only lasts through the years but becomes better and better.
Then Covid came to visit our world and we couldn’t do our retreats. Now, for the first time in a while, I will be offering a retreat for a small group of men. And I will be joined by two experienced colleagues, one male and one female, to give the men an experience they have never had, in a beautiful, and relaxed setting where they can learn the skills they will need to have the relationship they’ve always dreamed of having.
The retreat will take place March 16-19, 2023 and will be for men who:
- Have been through a breakup, which could be recent, or sometime in the past.
- May still be going through the disorientation, pain, and confusion or may be coming through to the other side.
- Are starting to reach out again or may even be in a new relationship.
What you have in common is that you still believe in love, but don’t have a lot of time to waste.
This post was previously published on Menalive.com and republished on Medium.
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