All relephant questions will be answered with loving kindness. (Yes. Every one.) Authors remain anonymous.
No judgments, just soulful answers.
Q: I am now 64. I have never had a partner per se. I’ve had some adventures but none was quite satisfactory. I lived life as a strong person…or so I thought.
If I look back now, I realise that I dedicated myself to work trying desperately to succeed in a man’s world by getting men to forget I was a woman—and I succeeded terribly. It got to the point that all the calls I would get would be for work and no one ever really wanted me romantically.
I fell platonically in love with several guys through the years, but never had the guts to tell anyone how I felt about them.
I have deep rooted self-doubt about myself as a woman and especially about my body. I gained some weight and where I live in South America, in a certain circle, fat people just are not looked at.
It soon became obvious—I am the problem. I never really knew how to flirt or how to take a hint if someone was interested.
And so the years passed. Still alone. And my feeling of worthlessness got worse.
And then last year, I received a gift of life again: I fell platonically in love with someone who is so much younger than me but he embodies what I would have loved to have near me—brilliant, hot, loving, nurturing young man.
We continue to be good friends over Facebook chat but, of course, this is all it will be. He is in love with someone his age, someone very beautiful and interesting. Of course I am shattered, even though I knew it was only platonic, I fantasized about him.
All this suffering and angst has brought some good results though, I have been able to lose 28 kilos so far and I am doing my best to keep losing weight and to start the right exercise for me.
I also started meditating. I am in a philosophical group, which helps immensely. But I find that I need to live what most of the women I know have lived, I need a passionate love. I have love to give, tons of it.
Is it really possible to have aloneness in one’s destiny? What was I thinking? Where was I during the biggest part of my so-called life that it passed me by and I did not see what was happening?
The pain I feel is enormous, sometimes I just have to stay home as I cannot focus on anything. Being awake is painful, especially when there is no way out and no one to love.
A: I’d like to share a brief story about my own dating experience. Like you, I was a strong, capable, vibrant woman who felt like I had everything together—except a mate.
I longed for deep partnership. I got out there and dated, only to find that all of the men I dated saw me as either a friend or a booty call and not much more than that.
Where were all the intelligent men out there? One day I had an a-ha moment. The thought hit me so hard I said it out loud: “I don’t like men.”
I don’t mean to say that I finally realized I was gay. (For those keeping score, I identify as bi, but that’s another story.) Rather, I realized I did not like men as human beings. (More on that revelation, here.) Unconsciously, I was projecting this dislike onto all the men I dated.
I presented myself as a self-sufficient and well-put-together woman who didn’t need men so much as wanted their company, often for sexual purposes. And guess what? That’s exactly what I got: Not very nice men who only wanted to hang out with me or have sex with me.
What does this have to do with your situation?
You seem to have a powerful sense of self and you genuinely care about yourself. You’ve taken your health seriously and lost the weight that you felt was keeping you from being as healthy as you want to be. Be sure to congratulate yourself for that. Not just for the weight loss, but because that desire and focus to accomplish the goal you set out for yourself. This skill will come in handy later in this article.
You take such care of yourself that there’s a strong sense of self-protection that comes through in your post. (Perhaps even the excess weight was a kind of protective barrier between you and the world.) You refer to the loves you’ve had with/for men as “platonic.” Was that all it was? Or was that all you unconsciously wished it to be?
Is it possible that you have been, as I did with my past convictions about men, pre-categorizing all potentially intimate relationships with the opposite sex as “platonic” and thereby keeping them—and yourself—safe?
Of course, it’s agonizing to long for someone. It hurts deeply to stand on the other side of the glass, watching others have productive and passionate lives while we starve for affection and wonder where we went wrong. It’s also painful to engage in an intensely intimate relationship. Everything we hide comes to the surface, begging to be dealt with. All of it can be terribly overwhelming until you realize that the journey of life itself is the blessing.
Here’s a thought: Try going bare.
Strip away the labels you’ve assigned to yourself and your relationships. Upon waking every morning, lie in bed and solidify your Self as a whole, vibrant, sexual, viable, and exceptional partner. Since you meditate, you can incorporate these beliefs into your practice. You come from Source, the holiest and grandest mystery humankind has encountered. You! You come from there! We all do. As such, we carry Source within us and through us. So, tap into the infinite majesty of creation and create the woman you want to be.
The best part is you’ve already done it. You made a radical change in your physical state because you wanted to do it for yourself. Now it’s time to change the way you show up in the world. And you have the skills to do it.
The goal is not to find a mate; the goal is to reconnect with the holy self in a way that allows you to be the best human being you can be in this life. If that means you spend a good deal of time alone, so be it. At least you will be authentically you alone instead of you longing for something else.
This takes practice, so don’t be discouraged. You may wish to get some coaching or therapy to further assist you in gaining the tools (and receiving the support) to keep moving along your path. I promise you that if you commit to this restructuring of your Self, love will come to you. First, nurture the self-love. After that, others will long to share it with you.
Author: Rachel Astarte
Editor: Katarina Tavčar
Photo: CIA DE FOTO/flickr