By Eileen L. Berman, Ed.D.
I see quite a few people in my practice, all with different situational difficulties. However, I saw someone recently whose problem seemed to be quite relevant to today’s society.
Jane was recently divorced but was gainfully employed. She wasn’t passionate about her work but felt it was an OK job for now. As a result of the divorce, however, her emotional house was in a state of disrepair (see my book, Dealing Effectively With Job Loss), which was giving her as much difficulty as leaving the actual house which she had shared with her husband. During this critical time, she was living in a rental unit in a shabby section of town which further added to her despair.
During one of our sessions, the purchase of a house came up. Jane was miserable living in a rental unit, missed her house, and felt if she could once again move into her own place she would find peace and comfort. She found something she liked but was hesitant about purchasing it. The fact that she questioned this move and wanted to discuss it was positive signs about her progress. I thought of others in her shoes … working in a shaky job market, undergoing recent trauma, alone and scared and looking for some sense of security … who might have jumped in without thinking it through.
Looking for something permanent or secure and seemingly safe is common when things get rocky. Looking to buy a home at this time is like looking for a new partner immediately upon separating from the old one! The same feelings of loneliness and desire to connect with something or someone are in play. If you succumb to these feelings, you risk tying yourself to something or someone when you are least able to think rationally. In both instances, your emotions are leading you, not your intellect, and you are bound to make a mistake which could be quite costly, both financially and emotionally.
Wanting to find security in a new relationship or a new home is quite understandable. While it may appear rational on the surface (after all, who wants to be feeling lonely and miserable?) it’s an extremely bad idea. In both instances, you are not giving yourself a chance to heal and plan your life under more rational circumstances. You are bound to make a mistake because you’re doing both for the wrong reasons.
Dr. Eileen Berman is a licensed psychologist/consultant in East Greenwich, R.I. She is the author of 2 books: Dealing Effectively With Job Loss and Building Productivity; and has a website, rebuildyourcareer.com. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.