Posted by: Marie | July 8, 2013

(842) The dance of intimacy

Post #842
[Private journal entry written on Tuesday, May 8, 2012]

After journaling about my less-than-puritan feelings and thoughts about James and Cindy, I’m finding that the intensity of those feelings have abated a bit. They are still there, they are still strong, but not as strong and intrusive as they had been throughout the weekend.


Photo by Martin Chen

I’ve been reflecting on why I struggled with knowing how to have a normal, everyday, social conversation with them as we were dining at the restaurant Friday evening. I do fine with the mundane topics like weather and employment and birthdays, but when those topics run out, I don’t know how to bring up more meaningful topics.

I’ve come to realize the fear that is holding me back the most is that I’m terrified I’ll ask questions that are too personal . . . which would make me look uncouth and desperate for emotional connection. So, instead of asking questions – any questions – I ask very few. That puts the burden on my companions to carry the conversation. I don’t seem to know how to find a middle ground – I don’t know what questions I could ask that are meaningful but not too personal.

Maybe Edward has some input on how to handle it . . . and maybe I can talk to James about it at his next lesson . . . ask him where the boundaries are . . .

Oh, and, I have a few books sitting on my bookshelves that would give me some great tips . . . I just gotta find some time to read them . . . LOL . . .


Speaking of Edward . . . I have a session with him tomorrow . . .

This evening, I printed out the last three emails that I’ve sent to him because there are things in those emails I would like to go over with him.


I have decided how I would like to handle the “I love you” situation with Maci . . . I sent an email to her mom today:

Hi, Annette –

I need a bit of guidance from you . . .

At the conclusion of the last couple of piano lessons, as I was leaving, Maci has said to me, “I love you.” Yesterday, she said it several times. I have been responding with, “I love you, too.”

I have a dilemma . . . all of my professional training and experience has taught me that telling a client/student that I love her is inappropriate and “too familiar”, especially when the relationship is a child/adult one, as is the case here.

I know your family is very expressive of your love for each other and that Maci is comfortable with openly expressing her feelings of love. Furthermore, I am aware that she is probably also exploring social boundaries and expectations with this behavior – something that is very normal for children her age.

It is not uncommon for me to care deeply for my students – even to the point of experiencing genuine love for them – as I get to know them better and as I become more personally invested in them over time. It is especially true with Maci . . . I do care deeply for her – including loving her as a friend. So, I can honestly respond to her with, “I love you.”

I need to know from you if you would prefer for me to continue responding this way – by telling her I love her, too. It seems that, by doing so, I send the message to her that expressing love is acceptable. I am comfortable with doing so, if that is what you prefer. In fact, that is my preference, but only if you feel it is appropriate.

Or, would you prefer that I respond in some other way? Maybe you would prefer that the relationship between Maci and I remain more professional and less familiar. I understand that she does need to learn about appropriate professional boundaries . . . maybe this is an opportunity for her to learn about those boundaries . . . ?? In that case, I think it would be best for you to have that conversation with her rather than
me explaining it to her.

However you choose to handle this situation, I need to know your expectations of me so I can help enforce any behavioral boundaries you set.

Thank you!
– Marie

Quotes 752


  1. That’s an awesome letter to her mom!

    • Thank you! I put a lot of thought into it.

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