Posted by: Marie | July 7, 2013

(841) What’s love got to do with it?

Post #841
[Private journal entry written on Monday, May 7, 2012]

One student who has been with me for quite some time is an eight-year-old girl named Maci. We meet at her home for the lessons. This is the little girl who, a year ago, called my attention to the best-selling book written by a college boyfriend of mine.

At her lesson last week, as I was getting ready to leave, she said to me, “I love you!” That caught me off-guard . . . her family is very demonstrative with their affection and I know they tell each other regularly that they love each other. I wondered if maybe she said that out of habit, without thinking . . .

My professional training tells me I should never tell a student I love him or her – that that would be crossing some line. So, I hesitated and tried to figure out the best response . . . finally I kind of mumbled, “I love you, too.” I mean, it seemed rude to not respond in kind . . . but it left me feeling a bit uneasy.

At her lesson this evening, she said it again as she was hugging me. I didn’t respond verbally, but I smiled at her and gave her shoulder an extra squeeze.


Photo by Martin Chen

She repeated herself, “I love you.” I was getting really uncomfortable . . . I didn’t know how to respond. As I was trying to extract myself from her hugs and to slip out the door, she kept hanging onto me. And, she told me a couple more times that she loves me. I realized she was not going to give up until I told her I loved her. So, I finally did. That seemed to satisfy her and she let me go. I guess she really needed to hear that from me.

It is obvious that this is going to be an ongoing issue, at least for a while. I’m going to have to figure out how to deal with it. I don’t want to give her the message that it’s inappropriate for people to tell people they care about that they love them. I have been her teacher for a couple of years and I am personally and emotionally invested in her . . . it wouldn’t be a stretch for me to say that I care for and love her in the way I have come to love most of my students over time.

I guess the smart thing would be to talk to her parents and see how they would like for me to handle it.


All weekend and into today, I have been reflecting on the time I spent with James and Cindy on Friday evening. I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

At the end of the evening, I was feeling very connected with and supported by them . . . I was feeling safe and I was feeling like I really am part of their family. That’s a warm fuzzy feeling that I really like feeling.

I think it is healthy for me to feel that way and to enjoy feeling that way.

However, what has happened in the days since is that those warm fuzzy feelings have morphed into strong romantic feelings for James – with a little bit of sexual feelings mixed in.

This is not good.

I’m not in a very good place with my own sexuality and I really don’t want to have sex with anyone, so the sexual feelings I’m having for him don’t concern me much . . . they aren’t very potent because of my own psychological issues . . . it’s not because he isn’t attractive . . . because, oh my goodness, he is very attractive . . . he is a very sexy man. But, I don’t really want to have sex with anyone right now, not even him.

But, I really do want to be held and cared for and loved by someone like him . . . I really want to be romantically involved with someone like him . . . and today, I’m finding that I really want to be romantically involved with him specifically.

This really is not good.

My moral programming is so strong that I cannot allow myself to fantasize about being involved with him as long as he is married. So, I have been secretly fantasizing that he and Cindy break up. But, I really don’t want that to happen . . . they have such a good marriage and I wouldn’t want any of them – their daughter included – to go through the trauma of a divorce. I really like all of them . . . I really care about them . . . I don’t want any of them to suffer . . . I only want the best for them.

How can I allow myself to have such thoughts? I shouldn’t be thinking these thoughts!

I woke up in the middle of the night – not last night, but the night before – and I allowed myself to imagine being held by James . . . and that moral judgment part of my brain kicked in and told me I couldn’t imagine being held by a married man . . . then, a movie I had seen on Lifetime several years back popped into my mind . . .

In the movie, a wife/mother finds out that she has cancer and that she is going to die. She asks her best friend, who happens to be single (and beautiful, of course), if she would step in to be a mother for her daughter and a close friend (pseudo-wife) for her husband. The two women put together a box of memories that the friend would share with the daughter when she grew older so the daughter could “know” her mother.

Of course, the friend and the husband fall in love even before the wife/mother dies . . . and the wife/mother, before she dies, gives her blessing to the love that is developing between the husband and the friend . . . the focus on the movie was on the selfless love that these three adults shared . . . so beautiful . . .

So, in my half-asleep state, I decided that a scenario like that would be an acceptable fantasy . . . because it wouldn’t be anyone’s fault, everyone involved would be saintly . . . and I fell back asleep after working my way through the fantasy to the point that James and I end up in each other’s arms a few weeks after Cindy dies from cancer . . . of course, I’m saintly because I was the perfectly supportive friend through it all . . . I become a wife for James and a mother for Sara . . .

Then, when I woke up yesterday morning, I was hit with the horridness of that fantasy . . . it didn’t seem so horrid in the middle of the night, but in the light of day, I couldn’t escape how horrid it really is. How can I fantasize about people I care about dying . . . and suffering the loss of a loved one . . . just so I can fantasize about being loved . . . ?? How can I justify putting that energy out into the universe?

And yet, that warm fuzzy feeling that came with the fantasy is so strong, so seductive . . . the intensity I felt during the night is with me still, more than a day later . . . it feels so good . . .

It feels so good that I can almost convince myself it is a premonition . . . that this story is going to unfold in real life . . . that I know this in advance so I can start preparing for it . . .

Yes, that is what I would love to believe . . .

And yet, I know so well that self-serving “premonitions” are usually not premonitions . . . they are usually made-up wishful thinking. But, what if this one really is a premonition . . . it is so strong . . . it came to me uninvited in the middle of the night . . . well, maybe not so uninvited . . .

I guess time will tell . . . real premonitions stay with me over time even when I don’t feed them energy . . . I’ll see how I feel about this one in a month or so . . . but I’ll have to stop giving it energy if I’m going to get an accurate psychic read on it . . .

I know I shouldn’t be entertaining these thoughts. But, I do have real feelings for James. In fact, my feelings go beyond infatuation . . . I really do know him quite well and I really do care for him on a deeper level . . . I do love him in a non-romantic way . . . I guess it’s not shocking that my feelings would slide over into the romantic arena sometimes . . . it’s such a fine line.

Do I really love him and his family if I’m wishing for painful events to befall them?

I don’t think that’s love . . .

Quotes 751


  1. This is really interesting, Marie–and it says so much about you as a person that this is a deep ethical issue for you. It is hard to know, sometimes, where to draw those boundaries; when identifying someone as representative of something that you want crosses the line into something that’s too personal, or which carries potentially negative energy. Most people wouldn’t give it a second thought…and I know this from having heard these types of fantasies from many people, who honestly don’t consider the repercussions of them to be worth thinking more deeply about, because they’re fantasies. But what we invest in becomes real on some level, even if it is a fantasy. It is so hard, though, to invest in the unknown rather than the known. It’s an almost-impossible concept…to carry around the warmth of hope of things to come, especially for trauma survivors. As always, I respect you immensely in the courage and integrity of your journey.

    • Thank you, David, for doing what you do so often . . . giving me a sense of being honored and respected and admired . . . and it means all the more to me that it comes from someone I honor and respect and admire.

      I do believe that what happens in our minds greatly impacts what shows up in our world . . . and it does impact other people’s experiences, also.

  2. Hi Marie!

    It’s good to see you back! I have been concerned about you, it’s been such a long time.
    I wonder if your attraction to a married man seems “safer,” in light of him being completely unavailable. I see this, and that writer you were attracted to– both are unrealistic fantasies. While there’s nothing really wrong with a fantasy in and of itself, I wonder if it has anything to do with you “selling yourself short.” Unrealistic fantasies are safe. Since there is really no chance of anything coming of them, you don’t have to risk rejection, or real intimacy. What if you gave yourself permission to fantasize about a partner with potential? What then??

    I have a completely unrelated question in regards to piano pedagogy. I wonder if we can talk shop…I have the opportunity to start up teaching a few students this fall, and it’s been 20 years since I’ve taught some piano. Is there a way I can contact you privately? On my blog there is a contact form to email me, if you want to talk shop about piano, and help a new teacher get her bearings!!

    • Hi, CW –

      Thank you for worrying about me . . . I’ve just been super busy with all kinds of really neat stuff . . . keeping up with present-commitments takes priority over keeping up my blog . . . although, I do really miss doing it! I’m still maintaining my journal, so I have material to publish, I just have to carve out the time to publish it!

      You can reach me via email at . . . I’ll do what I can to help you get your feet wet again!

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