Knicks feel their black front office helps in free agency

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Dear Therapist: My Husband Wants Our Family to Move Far Away From My Lover
Editor’s Note: Editor’s Note: Every Monday, Lori Gottlieb answers questions from readers about their problems, big and small. Have a question? Email her at David E. Scherman/The LIFE Picture Collection/GettyDear Therapist,I’ve been married for 25 years to a man who went from having many sexual issues and hang-ups to being impotent, and I am now in a totally sexless marriage. He can’t be helped, and frankly, I am not attracted to him at all anyway. We’re good partners and parents, and our family works well.At the suggestion of a therapist, I sought out and found a wonderful man in a similar situation. We became friends and then lovers. The sex is the best of my entire life. It has given me so much joy and made me feel alive again. It’s also one of the best relationships I’ve ever had. No games, lots of laughs and connecting on many levels. The whole affair has made me a happier person and less resentful of my husband and marriage. Here’s the tragic part: My husband was recently offered the job of his dreams halfway across the country. While I protested it along the way, he felt this was an opportunity he could not turn down. So in the middle of a pandemic, he’s taking our family to a new state.I have so many emotions about this. Besides leaving my great job and friends, my parents and brothers, and taking my kids away from everything they love and know, I am of course leaving my lover. I have tried to explain it all to my lover since the beginning, but he becomes enraged and screams that my husband is controlling and crazy, that I should stay here and my husband should go and then visit us on long weekends. I have never thought it was crazy for a family to move if the breadwinner gets a new job, but I find myself questioning that now, thanks to my lover’s reaction. I haven’t even been able to tell him when I’m actually leaving, because he begins ranting, and it makes our sporadic encounters too upsetting. So I have lied and told him I’m trying to see if I can stay somehow, just to keep him calm so we can enjoy our last weeks together. I don’t know how I will tell him the truth, and I have anxiety over that too.I’m trying to wrap my head around the fact that I finally found a wonderful person who has enriched my life—something I had been looking for forever—and now I have to say goodbye. I feel so out of control. I am envisioning my new life, relatively joyless, sexless, lonely, and isolated. My lover will never speak to me again—he’s made that clear—and obviously we won’t ever be able to see each other. And all of this angst and sadness is being experienced in secret.How does one handle heartbreak that is a secret? Part of me wonders if I am even entitled to any of this grief, that maybe I deserve this for being an adulterer.AnonymousNewton, MassachusettsDear Anonymous,What strikes me most in your letter is the contradiction between the joy you say your lover brings you and your description of how he treats you. I’ll start there, because when you express your profound heartbreak, I have a feeling that your loss—and the experience of bearing it alone—isn’t just about leaving your lover.You say this affair is “one of the best relationships [you’ve] ever had.” But when someone who supposedly cares deeply about you becomes enraged and threatens to never speak to you again because you may make a decision that doesn’t suit his needs, and there’s so little room for your perspective that you feel you have to lie to appease him, that sounds as heartbreaking and lonely to me as the marriage you were using this relationship to find respite from.Instead of seeing his behavior for what it is—manipulative, menacing, controlling, and cruel—you seem to idealize your lover as the source of your happiness, which indicates to me that your distorted ideas about love and connection have deep roots. In your lover, you say that you’ve found—and are now losing—“something you have been looking for forever,” and I think the word forever is probably apt. It sounds as if you’ve been longing for this “something” not just during your marriage, but for as long as you can remember.The “something” I’m referring to isn’t your lover but what you believe he reflects back to you about yourself: someone who’s seen, valued, and desired. Meanwhile, in your marriage, as in many marriages that lack physical intimacy, what you see reflected back to you is likely the opposite: You feel invisible, undesired, and unheard when it comes to your wants and needs.The thing about that “something”—that feeling of being truly loved—is that we begin to develop our sense of having it, or lacking it, as the case may be, at a very young age. As a child, it takes form in the mirror our parents hold up to us. Do they delight in our presence? Do they see our beauty? Do they respond to our wants and needs? Do we matter to them? If so, an image of ourselves as worthy and lovable is reflected back to us, and we begin to integrate it into a positive self-image.Children who lack this reflection experience heartbreak and grieve alone, because the adults they would normally share their inner worlds with are the very people they feel hurt by. As adults, many of them end up in marriages that resemble their childhood. I wonder if that’s what happened for you. It sounds like your husband’s struggles with physical intimacy have been there from the beginning, so on some level, you likely knew you were signing up for a marriage that would break your heart and make you feel lonely. Perhaps without realizing it, you sought out what felt familiar to you from your childhood—the pain of feeling helpless and alone.The difference, though, is that as adults we have agency we didn’t have growing up. Now, with both your husband and your lover, you seem resigned to circumstances that you believe you have no control over—but once you gain some clarity, you’ll start to realize that you do indeed play a vital role.Let’s look at your marriage. You say that you’ve stayed married because you and your husband are “good partners.” But this description feels off. Early on, when the sexual problems became apparent, how did you and your husband talk about them? Sexual issues can stem from so many causes: health problems, stress, poor communication, medication side effects, a history of abuse, trauma, negative body image—and all of these are tangled up with feelings a person has around being wanted and loved, and feeling connected to someone else.When couples tell me in therapy that they’re not having sex, I always ask them to define what they mean, because there are many aspects to “sex” that aren’t intercourse—hugging, kissing, flirting, holding, teasing, complimenting. If a partner who’s wanting physical intimacy is often angry or blaming or impatient, that makes it hard for the partner who’s struggling to be playful or relaxed or flirtatious and to feel any desire. As you think back to how these interactions went, do you feel that you were a true partner in working through this issue together, or did you feel so personally injured, so much like the helpless victim in this story, that you framed this as something that your husband needed to work out alone?I wonder, too, about your interpretation of your therapist’s suggestion to seek another sexual partner. Was your therapist truly suggesting that you deceive your husband with a covert affair, or rather that you talk with him about the possibility of opening up the marriage and see if the two of you might find a different way forward? Having that conversation, even if he wasn’t open to that arrangement, would at the very least have helped you both to have a more candid dialogue about the state of the marriage and what you were each willing to do—including committing to sex therapy as a couple, staying together but living apart, or splitting up and co-parenting amicably. Instead, you unilaterally decided to direct all of your sexual and emotional energy outside the marriage, making it even harder for your husband to connect with you on any level.What would help you most right now is to see how these two seemingly different circumstances—a sexless marriage, a sexy affair—both left you feeling bereft and alone because neither could provide that “something” you’ve been so desperately seeking. Ultimately, the “tragic part” isn’t that your husband took the job or that your lover is cutting you off, but that you haven’t been honest with your husband, your lover, or, most important, yourself about what’s really going on.So how do you handle heartbreak that is a secret? You take away the secrecy. You tell your lover that you’re moving, and that you’re open to having a calm conversation about what this means for you two—whether that’s a loving goodbye, a continued relationship long-distance, or the possibility of both of you either opening up your marriages or leaving your spouses to be with each other. Meanwhile, your husband may not know about your affair (or he may know more than you imagine, prompting his job search across the country), but as much as you feel his distance from you, surely he senses your distance from him. Tell him about your affair, your loneliness and lifelessness, and the need to get to a therapist together so that you can figure out what the next iteration of this 25-year marriage you haven’t wanted to leave—yet—might look like.No matter what you come to decide, remember that a marriage, like a broken heart, is healed from the inside, not the outside. It’s time to stop looking for your reflection in somebody else’s mirror so that you can see the path ahead more clearly.Dear Therapist is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician, mental-health professional, or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. By submitting a letter, you are agreeing to let The Atlantic use it—in part or in full—and we may edit it for length and/or clarity.
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College towns without college students have small businesses struggling
Middlebury, Vermont, is one of many small towns where businesses are dependent on college students. | John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images Restaurants and stores that rely on college students are trying everything from takeout to GoFundMes, and some schools and alumni are pitching in. Most weekends from around 8 am to 2 pm, Lou’s Restaurant & Bakery is packed. Some choose to pick up a pastry and a cup of coffee at the quick service area near the front of the restaurant. For those who want to dine in, there are classic 1950s diner booths, but they’re often filled with hungry students. Most of the time, down the center of the dining room there’s a line of Dartmouth kids and locals waiting to be seated. But since the coronavirus outbreak forced students to leave Dartmouth’s campus, the booths at Lou’s have remained empty. Hanover, New Hampshire, is a small town with a tight-knit community, where local businesses rely on college students to survive. “It still is a little bit eerie that the dining room is just empty all the time,” said Lou’s owner Jarret Berke. Lou’s Restaurant & Bakery/Facebook Lou’s Restaurant & Bakery in Hanover, New Hampshire. The Covid-19 pandemic forced college students around the country to evacuate campuses in mid-March. Many departed for spring break and never returned. Professors scrambled to move courses online, students moved home or off-campus for the remainder of the spring semester with no clear return date in sight, and seniors had their graduation ceremonies canceled as colleges and universities were forced to navigate higher education in a remote world. But when students left school, they abandoned more than just messy dorm rooms. Local businesses in college areas suffered economic losses as their regulars finished the academic year from their homes all over the world. “A big chunk of our customer base left town so it made it very difficult,” Berke said. “Initially, after the students left, when really the whole country went into lockdown, we saw about a 70 percent decline in sales.” By innovating and finding new sources of revenue like takeout and revised menus, Lou’s now is able to maintain around 75 percent of its normal sales. “We’re still not doing great. We still would love to have the students back, but it’s enough that we can survive for a while,” Berke said. In a 2017 article for the Atlantic, Alana Semuels explained how, in recent years, small colleges have been thought of as mechanisms to save and develop local economies: “The main benefits of educational institutions are twofold: They often produce research and technology that can be parlayed into new businesses, creating jobs nearby. And they bring to the area students, who spend money on restaurants and services, and attract professors and administrators, who do the same and also buy houses and cars,” Semuels wrote. As Gallup’s principal economist Jonathan Zeller told Vox, the reality of the pandemic and college students leaving campuses will significantly impact the cities and towns where they’re located. Zeller explained that college towns and neighborhoods are appealing places to move to because of local restaurants, coffee shops, and bookstores. But those businesses need students to be successful. “If that source of demand disappears for an extended period of time, those businesses are going to disappear, and that’s going to make that neighborhood a much less attractive place,” Zeller said. “It’s going to have just overall depressing effects on the local economy.” “If that source of demand disappears for an extended period of time, those businesses are going to disappear” When students are away from home, they often find comfort and community in local restaurants and cafes surrounding college campuses. Tim Norris, the owner of Mom’s Dream Kitchen, a Southern cuisine restaurant in Jackson, Mississippi, said that students from nearby schools like Jackson State University often gravitate toward the home-cooked meals at his restaurant. “They wanted home cooking because they were away from home,” he said. But like other local restaurants, Mom’s Dream Kitchen suffered from the loss of student customers. “Since the pandemic, school pretty much shut down so a lot of our college students were no longer on campus, so we lost a lot of business,” Norris said. The sharp decline of local businesses in college towns has impacted Americans all over the country. Restaurants and shops near Bowdoin College were described as “reeling” after students left campus. Businesses near the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill considered closing. The neighborhood surrounding the University of Pennsylvania “lost its life.” Some colleges and universities have even stepped in to help temper the effects of students leaving campuses by waving rent expenses for businesses that lease commercial spaces from them. Cornell University gave $100,000 to a fund in order to support Ithaca businesses. Students and alumni have also made efforts to save local restaurants and shops as the pandemic costs them significant revenue. Middlebury College alum Nicholas Milazzo launched a GoFundMe that has raised more than $10,000 for five Middlebury, Vermont, restaurants. Milazzo, who formerly worked as an EMT and is applying to medical school next year, wanted to find a concrete way to make a difference without putting his family at risk of contracting the virus. “Middlebury already has trouble keeping its businesses going just because they’re so reliant on the students, and the students are gone for half the year,” Milazzo said. “So I figured, well, if restaurants in New York City are getting hit hard, I bet the same is happening in Middlebury.” Milazzo started distributing the money among five local businesses around a month ago, with each receiving more than $2,000. “Right away, a lot of people, before they left or when their families were picking them up, got gift cards or bought gift cards online,” said Matthew Delia-Lobo, co-owner of Royal Oak Coffee in Middlebury. The GoFundMe cash, he said, was “insanely helpful.” Royal Oak, which Delia-Lobo opened around a year ago with his wife Alessandra, mainly employs students from Middlebury College. When their employees had to leave campus, the Delia-Lobos were forced to run Royal Oak alone. They also lost revenue they usually make from graduation events and summer programs, both of which were canceled. Royal Oak has two locations, and because of the lack of business, the Delia-Lobos had to temporarily close the one closer to campus. “Both of us just hustled and worked every single day” “Both of us just hustled and worked every single day,” Alessandra Delia-Lobo said. Until students can return to college campuses, local businesses are finding new revenue streams to survive. Lou’s, for example, created a dinner menu targeted toward families, and Mom’s Dream Kitchen has been doing more delivery orders through GrubHub, Waitr, and Uber Eats. As some colleges prepare to bring students back to campus in the fall, businesses are reimagining what their day-to-day will look like. At the same time, they are grappling with fears surrounding the risks of bringing students from all over the world back to college campuses. “A big kind of draw to any coffee shop in a college town is ‘I can sit and study or do homework,’ or, you know, sit inside and socialize,” Alessandra Delia-Lobo said. “So I’m a little worried that, you know, that draw won’t be there if we can’t open inside, because I’m worried things won’t improve fast enough.” Business owners remain cautiously optimistic about their prospects while harboring fears about the dangers of reopening during a pandemic. While many colleges and universities are doing whatever it takes to get students back on campus, from dorms on tennis courts to contact-tracing apps, there is no way to ensure safety until a vaccine is widely available. “The thought of a couple thousand people from all over the country, all over the world, coming into Hanover where we haven’t had an active case in about four weeks, it’s a little scary,” Berke admitted. Support Vox’s explanatory journalism Every day at Vox, we aim to answer your most important questions and provide you, and our audience around the world, with information that has the power to save lives. Our mission has never been more vital than it is in this moment: to empower you through understanding. Vox’s work is reaching more people than ever, but our distinctive brand of explanatory journalism takes resources — particularly during a pandemic and an economic downturn. Your financial contribution will not constitute a donation, but it will enable our staff to continue to offer free articles, videos, and podcasts at the quality and volume that this moment requires. Please consider making a contribution to Vox today.
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