From the outside, Holly's life seems picture perfect. She's married to a successful doctor, has two healthy children and lives in a beautiful home. "I live a life that many people would think is the American dream," Holly says. But the truth is, much like Nicole, Holly admits she's living a lie.
Shortly after her wedding, Holly says she began to feel disconnected from her husband. The fantasy vacations and extravagant dinners they enjoyed during their long-distance courtship came to an end, and the reality of living together began to set in. Looking back, Holly admits that she only saw her husband for 60 days before their wedding day—even though they dated for a year and a half.
Despite their personality differences and lack of intimacy, Holly always put on a happy face around their friends and family. "When people make the assumptions on my life, they see what appears to be a happy life," she says. "I think when you portray the happiness for so long, you forget that you're living a lie."
Dr. Robin says Holly's story is very common among women. Many women get stuck in relationships that aren't great, but aren't bad enough to end. People try to create the perfect picture or "Kodak moments," but it's what happens before and after the camera clicks that really counts.
Dr. Robin says we need to start asking the right questions before the wedding and rethink our value systems. "We don't ask people questions like, 'Does he make your heart happy? Do you feel safe with him?'" says Dr. Robin. "Part of the challenge is, when you say that life is good, it depends on what your value system is." The emphasis in Holly's case, Dr. Robin says, should be on peace of mind, feeling joyful and being her true self in the marriage—not the size of her house or her husband's success.
According to Dr. Robin, now is not the time for Holly to be thinking about leaving her husband. "It's not about leaving," Dr. Robin tells Holly. "It's about learning the lesson, asking yourself, 'What is this lesson in my life? What am I missing?'—not, 'Do I stay or leave?' You can't even answer that question yet. Whether this marriage is salvagable—who knows? Because you haven't shown up yet."
What is Holly's first step to finding true happiness? Dr. Robin says Holly needs to be her true self. "What I will tell you is that the life that you can have possibly with your husband—you can't have it as an imposter," Dr. Robin says. "So if there is hope, you've got to show up. You've got to figure out who you are. You have to be able to know that you are worthy and get your needs met and figure out what your needs are and who you really are because we can't create intimacy—not just sexual, but emotional connection—if we are not being real."
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