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Susan Epstein
53,  Brooklyn, NY

What do you do for work?
LCSW in private psychotherapy practice (specializing in couples therapy, women’s issues, EMDR and treating trauma).

What’s the last great book you read?
For work Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder:  From Surviving to Thriving by Pete Walker
For pleasure:  A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

What’s your favorite new discovery?
My husband! After 6 years together, it may not be everyone’s definition of “new,” but when you marry for the first time in your late 40’s, finding that special someone is the gift that keeps on giving!

Tell us something surprising about yourself. 
As much as I love my husband, sometimes I miss being single! Also, call me a bad Jew, but I find great spiritual fulfillment singing largely Christian music with a non-denominational amateur choir in a Presbyterian Church. Go figure.

What’s your vice?  
I am an equal opportunity hedonist:  moderation in all things (including moderation).

Worst dating story?
I was an early adapter to the world of online dating and have had my share of strange, wild and depressing dates. There was the one where the guy told me I’d be happier if I lost weight within an hour of our meeting. Why I didn’t get up and leave right then and there is a sad story of low self-esteem and the destructive need for male approval that the patriarchy teaches even us most ardent feminists. Luckily, I’ve come a long way since then! The doctor healed herself… phew…

Worst parenting fail?
Not becoming a parent. I always wanted kids, but I walked away from a relationship at age 32 because I knew, in spite of his being a lovely guy who loved me, that my fiancé was not the right match for me. (It can’t be a good thing to be thinking about having an affair BEFORE you’re even married, can it?) I knew my clock was ticking and I might not find the right mate in time (I didn’t), but I broke it off anyway (with the support of several Woolfers I might add…the right friends can be more important than the wrong fiancé…). It was one of the most painful things I ever did.

I’ve had to grieve the loss of never having kids, sometimes over and over, but I’ve come to accept and be happy about how things have turned out. Meanwhile, I’ve loved nephews, godkids, cousins’ kids and friends’ kids with a fierce devotion. Even though loving other people’s children is not always easy (there’s a topic for a Woolfer thread!), it really does take a village and I’ve been happy to watch so many wonderful children grow up. Now I am a stepmother of two beautiful young women and am fortunate to get along really well with their mother. Blended families can work and being a stepmom is another new discovery that I’m happily exploring.

Favorite thread ever?
I liked seeing the pictures of everyone’s homes and special spaces. Rooms of our own, no? What an intimate thing to share with a community of strangers.

Where can we find you?
My website. 

The Woolfer Newsletter Team
Stephanie Staal and Nina Collins have worked together and adored each other since 1994 when they were both babies in the world of book publishing. Stephanie is a lawyer, journalist, & author of READING WOMEN, and Nina is the founder of "What Would Virginia Woolf Do?" Hillary Richard is also a lawyer and co-host of the Raging Gracefully podcast. Sidney Morss is a recent NYU grad and the youngest member of our team.

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