Jed found the love of his life, Lisa, during their last semester of college. They met at a restaurant where they both worked, and their chemistry was practically instantaneous. Lisa was bright and hardworking. She seemed to possess a level of confidence and moxie that shocked Jed, given that the women he’d known growing up had been more timid or reserved. As they were both finishing the long road of college, both Lisa and Jed spent the first few months of their relationship practically euphoric; they both finished with good grades, Jed had already landed a great job in finance, and
Lisa was headed to graduate school. The future could not seem brighter. They decided to move in together during the summer after graduation and also planned a trip to Europe before their work and school obligations began in the fall.
Although moving in together is always rocky—often a true test of the strength of a relationship—Jed and Lisa’s cohabiting seemed a bit harder than most. Although Lisa was previously living in a roommate situation that she reported she did not like, she found herself extremely anxious about moving in with Jed. She could not really understand why this was the case—she loved Jed and felt this was the right thing—yet she found herself to be uncharacteristically controlling in terms of the set up in the new apartment. For example, Lisa found herself unable to make any compromises in terms
of where furniture went or even where pots and pans were to reside in the kitchen. Jed did not mind that exactly, but what he found more confusing was that suddenly he and Lisa started to fight about small things. If he let a dish sit on the counter, even for a few minutes before putting it in the dishwasher, she would become enraged and accuse Jed of being a slob.
Lisa was disturbed and perplexed by her own behavior. At times Jed’s very presence upset her. If he walked quietly into a room she jumped with anxiety; she did not expect him to be there. And even as her heart raced and pounded and she began sweating, she had no idea why she was so upset, so she tried to pretend that she was okay. But Lisa was not okay. Within a few months, she began drinking daily, though the couple usually just drank on weekends when they went out. At times, especially when Lisa was drinking, she would accuse Jed of being interested in other women or sometimes, of simply not caring about her. Jed was shocked, as he himself had never been happier. Their formerly mutually gratifying sex life now seemed strained. Jed felt he had limited access to Lisa; at times it seemed like she was not even there when they were intimate. Over time, Lisa gradually became more depressed and started having suicidal thoughts. Jed felt like the version of Lisa he met had vanished; he felt desperate, confused, and unsure how to help.