Losing and Finding Love – Dealing With Transference

When I was only thirteen years of age I kissed a girl and fell in love with her. I remember that we soon started to be boyfriend and girlfriend and she gave me a silver bracelet with her name engraved on it. Then I did what most boys do at that age. I got bored and decided I wanted to see what else was in the world. I made up some silly excuse and ended our brief relationship. A few years later and we became best friends, lovers and at the age of twenty-one I married her. For the next fifteen-years she became one of the most important people in my life. Then one day we decided that we needed to part. We loved each other and yet we were destined to live the rest of our lives along different paths. It was a very sad, sad time.

When we split up finding another woman was the last thing on my mind. The thought of being with someone else just didn’t feel right. But despite not wanting to find another woman I did have pangs of worry. Would I be alone all of my life? At thirty-seven years of age who would want me? So I just locked myself in my bedroom and worked my socks off. I wrote a ton and played a ton of poker. When opportunities came along to travel the world and work at poker I took them. I did anything and everything to take my mind off my broken heart. It was something I didn’t want to accept. To accept it would mean I would have to grieve and mourn and I didn’t know how to do that.

Then out of nowhere I fell in love with the most wonderful woman. It wasn’t planned or premeditated, in fact I had never even thought about being with another woman. I am writing this for all of the people in the world who move from one relationship to another. I want to share my brief insights into how I felt and what I learned.

I fell in love far too quickly. This may seem strange because you do not choose when you fall in love, but it is the truth. I didn’t realise it at the time, but my masochistic approach to dealing with my divorce meant I had not given myself time to mourn the loss of love. It seems that when women and men split up, the woman vows to never let another man hurt her again whilst the man just runs out and finds another woman. This happens on the sub-conscious level hence my admittance that I wasn’t searching for anyone else to fill the hole left in my heart.

One of the effects of choosing to be in a relationship soon after leaving another one is something called transference. Basically, I sometime struggle to differentiate between the two relationships. Sometimes I find myself arguing with my current girlfriend, Liza, about nothing. This happens because of a memory from my previous relationship. This could be the way she looks, a smirk, a frown, the tone of her voice, or anything else that my memory connects with my previous relationship. This is incredibly difficult for Liza to deal with and this is why she is so special. Lesser woman than Liza would have run a mile a long time ago.

Then my mind also decides to play another little trick on me. My mind will remember that I met a girl, my heart fluttered, we fell in love, we lived happily ever after, then we split and my heart was broken. Then I meet another woman, my heart flutters, we fall in love and my mind says WHOA THERE! JUST HOLD ON A MINUTE! I AM TAKING OVER THIS ONE HEART MY OLD MUCKER.

The mind will try to protect me by consistently reminding me of how love ends up with my heart being broken. It does this by creating anxiety, jealousy and insecurity. The mind get’s all nostalgic and continually reminds me how I was once in this position and it didn’t end up very well. This creates some awful behaviour on my part and this is yet another reason why Liza is so amazing. I believe that I behave in a way that reduces the likelihood that she will leave me. The way I manage this is backwards in its logic but I am displaying these traits so I believe it is true.

I sub-consciously treat Liza in such a way that I believe will make her feel reliant on me. If she is reliant on me then there is less likelihood that she will leave and therefore my heart remains unbroken. The subtle way that I manage this is through constant criticism and a lack of support. She is a very independent free spirit and I think I am trying to change that. I think I also displayed similar traits in my previous relationship but they are more intense in this one due to the loss of love created in my first.

I have managed to understand the errors of my ways due to a number of methods. Liza managed to persuade me to hire a counselor to help me manage the emotional part of going through a divorce. It was the counselor who first recognised the issues of transference. I am very reflective and always analysing my behaviour to try and rectify issues and improve constantly. I do this through reading, self analysis and writing. But lastly, I have had the support of a truly gifted, loving and understanding woman. She believes in me as I believe in her. It is this belief in our future that has enabled us to stay together when she certainly could have run. She listens to me and helps me get to the root cause of my issues. I am so grateful for her love and support. I love you Liza.

Have you moved from one relationship to another? Do you have problems making the transition? Does any of this seem familiar to you?

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  1. Man, Lee, you are sure doing a lot of self-evaluation and I think that’s great. I hope that you also are able to accept your positive traits. I know when I give too much consideration to my weaknesses and flaws, I can get overwhelmed and very depressed. You are doing great things just by being willing to face the past.

    • Lee Davy says:

      Hi Linnea,

      I am aware of my positive traits as well as continually trying to improve. Thanks for the heads-up though.


  2. Sue Parks says:

    Thoughtfull piece of writing Lee. I split up with my first husband in March 1998, In October 1998 I met and starting dating Rich, the man that is my husband now. 7 months is hardly no time to recover, find yourself ad move on, hence the terrible way I behaved toward Rich in the first few years of our relationship. Because my first husband had constantly let me down, if Rich rang me 5 mins late I would not answer the phone, I ended our relationship many times, in fear of being hurt again, and I made Rich prove himeself to me over and over. Even now 14 years on, I have dreams where is is Unfaithful, but my mind is clever and in fact when the dream shows me Rich’s face it is that of my ex husband. Its is very hard not to transfer your history into your present, I suppose the key is not to let it dictate your future, and thats something we need to keep working on..

  3. dealing with transference…
    i´m really gratefull to know you. And to read about your expiriences, Lee!
    And I want to try to write down about the game, my mind is playing with me, the lessons I got from my heart and what I found/ find out in that process. Its great to got aware even more of the process while writing about this…
    I was moving from one relationship to another fromthe age of 13 to 33. When I realised that, I got tired about my self and wished to recover my relathionship to myself. I felt so needy! And I startet to work out my needs.
    It took me 3 years, before I felt ready to get in contact with a man again, and it was the game of “I can only open my heart for you, if I´m shure you really are interested (me, because I was still inshure about myself, my needs yet…) and (he)I´m not shure about my relationship to you, as long you dont open your heart for me…
    I coulndt find out to deal with it and found bag to the realtionship with myself again. I got more and more aware of what I need – and that there is no one else then myself, who can serve this needs!
    When Istartet to be interested in relationship again – of course I was wishing for a man who did this process with himself as well… And thats so hard to find.
    The new game of my mind was, to look for months at the one I could imagine as a partner – to be shure, that there is a chance it will work the way I wanted to.
    So, when I felt “secure” I createt the connection… within making him feel, that “he is the creator”. It didnt work! After some weeks I found other tasks, I didnt realised before and my mind got irritatet about. I had to stop this relatiohship and work on my mind again.
    Some weeks ago I met somebody I was deeply interested in, but when we got in touch with each other, my mind stoped me in time, because I felt, that my heart was not able to open – it was to afraid to be hurt.

    After some strong days of anger to myself, I understood the lesson behind that!
    The only way to work that out is to keep my heart open – for the love to myself. If there is that deep peacefull love inside me, my heart can deal with the fear to get hurt, because I´m able to heal myself! And nobody else is able to do that! That felt as a big chance!
    I decided to try a new way.
    Create contacts with a open heart and see, what happens… I startet the next day! That was 2 weeks ago.
    What happend… I´m falling in love! Step by step, every day a little bit more. In love into myself and into a man I didnt no before and dont no yet. And in love to this process – because I´m honest to my self moment by moment – and when I feel fear – I´m taking care of it and heal it with my own amazing love!

    I love myself! 🙂

    • Lee Davy says:

      Hi Terzia,

      As soon as a I met you I could sense that you were a very deep and sensitive woman. Firstly, I think your choice to write all of your thoughts down like this was an excellent one. There is a scene in the wonderful movie Salmon Fishing in the Yemen where a group of saboteurs let water flood a river by opening wells in a dam. I find that I am that dam and when I write my wells open up and emotions flow freely through the holes that my writing opens up. The more you practice this the more freely emotion flows and your understanding of those emotions grows too.

      “The only way to work that out is to keep my heart open – for the love to myself. If there is that deep peaceful love inside me, my heart can deal with the fear to get hurt, because I´m able to heal myself!”

      “What happened… I´m falling in love! Step by step, every day a little bit more. In love into myself and into a man I didn’t no before and don’t no yet. And in love to this process – because I´m honest to my self moment by moment – and when I feel fear – I´m taking care of it and heal it with my own amazing love!”

      That is an amazing revelation and I learned a great deal from reading it so thanks for sharing. I am also really proud of you for writing this in English as I assume this is not your first written language.

      You are a beautiful woman Terzia. Thanks for sharing this with us and I look forward to seeing you soon.


  4. Thanks for sharing your insights.

  5. Hi Lee,

    You are finding yourself and facing what we find out about ourselves can be uncomfortable, but it is a great reward once we get through it.
    I wish you the best.

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