What It's Like To Be A Twin
This is what it’s like being a Craigslist relationship counselor
A Craigslist relationship counselor shares her personal experience
Words by Helena Bala
‘It’s just…’ he trailed off.
He seemed nervous about talking to me, and I could hear the sounds of traffic surrounding his car. ‘Well, my wife and I haven’t had sex in months. We disagree on how to raise our kids. And now that she’s gone back to school, I find myself having to pick up a lot more slack at home. I’m really unhappy.’
I’ve heard this — or different iterations of similar sentiments — hundreds of times in my two years as an anonymous online listener. What I do is simple: through an ad on Craigslist, I offer to listen to stories that people have never told before. I do it anonymously and for free. My subjects know that I’m not a therapist. We sit down to talk as friends, often over a cup of coffee.
The service I provide is a simple one: I listen; I engage; I ask questions. A few months into this, I began to ask permission from my subjects to write about their experiences. The purpose was to create an anonymous pay-it-forward confessional where people can learn from each other and perhaps, in sharing their stories, not feel so alone.
It’s not surprising that the vast majority of stories I hear are about love and its side effects — divorce, money, kids, midlife crises, lost loves and missed opportunities, regrets, affairs, and everything in between. Over the years and the span of more than 400 accounts, I started to notice some patterns in the stories that people have shared. I’ve kept a list of lessons learned, some of which may surprise you.
1. ‘I love my children, but…’
It’s the conjunction that piques my interest. One mom told me she wished she’d never had her second baby. ‘It’s just too much work,’ she said. ‘My husband and I rarely have any time together. We both work, and we don’t have family nearby.
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