MSP Quote of the Day

"If you have it [Love], you don’t need to have anything else, and if you don’t have it, it doesn’t matter much what else you have." – Sir James M. Barrie

Once I came to feel that someone who I thought loved  me didn’t really love me after all… or at least not in the way that  mattered to me. His love had been dishonest and more self-involved than I wanted, a love that seemed was for his sake rather than ours. A few days after we broke up, I had to give a big talk at an event – me being billed as the "sex expert", the person who was supposed to know so much about love and sex and relationships. 

I remember showing up to give the talk, with people walking up to me to say that they always read my sex advice columns, someone even asked for an autograph (which shocked me), and they remembered me from another event, and congratulated me on certain recent successes and such, and generally people seemed to think that I had it all. Or at least that I had quite a lot going for me. However, inside I felt sad and despondent and like I had nothing… even though the break-up was a good thing. I felt completely at a loss and acutely aware of the irony, and whatever bad sex karma I had earned, of having to show up and talk about relationships and love and sex at a time when I was hurting enormously because of these exact things. Because of that experience (and others – just because I know about sex and love doesn’t mean I’ve been able to escape their clutches), the above quote matters to me.

On a more positive note, most of the time in my adult life I have been very fortunate to have good love, even when it seemed I had nothing else. And for that, the first part of the quote has been true too, and I’m grateful.

About Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick is a sex researcher at Indiana University, sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, columnist, and author of five books about sex and love. Learn more about her work at www.sexualhealth.indiana.edu.

  • tim

    Thanks for this entry. I think this is perhaps the most meaningful entry on this blog for me. As a young, recently divorced person, I can really identify with these feelings. And sometimes, I look around me at my friends who seem to have this relationship thing figured out, and I wonder what is the matter with me? It is good to know that even the relationship “professionals” experience the same emotions as us mere mortals.

    PS…I started reading this blog because sex was problematic in my marriage, and I wanted to learn a few things to hopefully do better next time around. I have been pleasantly surprised that the blog has transcended mere sex and has really challenged me to think harder about other relationship issues and even political/culture issues as well. So–thanks Debby!!

  • tim

    Thanks for this entry. I think this is perhaps the most meaningful entry on this blog for me. As a young, recently divorced person, I can really identify with these feelings. And sometimes, I look around me at my friends who seem to have this relationship thing figured out, and I wonder what is the matter with me? It is good to know that even the relationship “professionals” experience the same emotions as us mere mortals.

    PS…I started reading this blog because sex was problematic in my marriage, and I wanted to learn a few things to hopefully do better next time around. I have been pleasantly surprised that the blog has transcended mere sex and has really challenged me to think harder about other relationship issues and even political/culture issues as well. So–thanks Debby!!

  • Chris

    Debby….I must echo Tim’s comments! This entry really got to me as well. I am a happliy married man but had been through a very similar breakup. Loss of love, at the time, felt like the worst possible thing anyone can go through. I had to give a presentation, all be it not about sex or relationships, that same day and I was a mess. In the long run, it ended up being one of the best things that ever happend to me….I wouldn’t be where I am today without that experience.

    I too began reading this blog because of some relationship/sex issues that have been a concern in our marrage. Your assistance and support, with your comments, recomendations, and blog entries, have been emensly helpful.

    While there are many outlets for help these days, it is so nice to hear that there are people, like yourself, who are genuine, truthful, and have gone through the same types of experiences that your readers have. You are a truly special person.

    Chris

  • Chris

    Debby….I must echo Tim’s comments! This entry really got to me as well. I am a happliy married man but had been through a very similar breakup. Loss of love, at the time, felt like the worst possible thing anyone can go through. I had to give a presentation, all be it not about sex or relationships, that same day and I was a mess. In the long run, it ended up being one of the best things that ever happend to me….I wouldn’t be where I am today without that experience.

    I too began reading this blog because of some relationship/sex issues that have been a concern in our marrage. Your assistance and support, with your comments, recomendations, and blog entries, have been emensly helpful.

    While there are many outlets for help these days, it is so nice to hear that there are people, like yourself, who are genuine, truthful, and have gone through the same types of experiences that your readers have. You are a truly special person.

    Chris

  • Debby

    Tim and Chris… wow! Thank you so much for your comments. If I studied plants, no one would blink if I talked about my own garden. In the field of relationships/sexuality studies, researchers often hesitate to talk about their own lives as if love, relationships and sex were taboo. A part of me finds it very important to keep my private life private. Increasingly, however, I’m drawing the line a bit differently to share at least some of these parts of my life while keeping the parts that I need to or want to keep private, just that. It’s meaningful to me that this post worked for you – your feedback, and the thoughts/reactions you shared, were very helpful and poignant. Thanks.

  • Debby

    Tim and Chris… wow! Thank you so much for your comments. If I studied plants, no one would blink if I talked about my own garden. In the field of relationships/sexuality studies, researchers often hesitate to talk about their own lives as if love, relationships and sex were taboo. A part of me finds it very important to keep my private life private. Increasingly, however, I’m drawing the line a bit differently to share at least some of these parts of my life while keeping the parts that I need to or want to keep private, just that. It’s meaningful to me that this post worked for you – your feedback, and the thoughts/reactions you shared, were very helpful and poignant. Thanks.

  • http://www.ramahughes.com/ rama

    all expertise comes from somewhere and i don’t think many people appreciate how much expertise it takes to LEAVE a relationship. you earned that wisdom and, from what i know, you’ve used it well.

  • http://www.ramahughes.com rama

    all expertise comes from somewhere and i don’t think many people appreciate how much expertise it takes to LEAVE a relationship. you earned that wisdom and, from what i know, you’ve used it well.