Do you have questions about creating intimacy or developing mindful relationships? Confusing questions? Awkward ones? Deep, dark scary ones? I want them. Email your questions to: [email protected].
All relephant questions will be answered with loving kindness. (Yes. Every one.) Authors remain anonymous.
No judgments, just soulful answers.
Q. I had a boyfriend named Rob*, the love of my life, whom I was dating on and off for ten years in Los Angeles.
I moved away for a while, but returned to L.A. about four years ago and re-established my life back at home. After a few months, I was out with my sisters and met Dan.* We started dating. The love of my life quickly learned I had a boyfriend, so we created distance.
Dan traveled a lot. I reached out to Rob, usually for a casual beer, just to get out of the house. When it was clear he didn’t want a relationship, I also then made a new friend named Tim,* who worked where I often went for lunch. Between Dan and Tim, I realized my heart was always with Rob.
Rob had no job or college education—we only “hung out ” as a continuation of our being friends with benefits. Last year, after I helped him build a resume and search for work, he landed a job!
We tried to make it work, but my inability to be transparent and his lack of communication skills kept us from trusting each other. I ran off and made a new friend who I know was only a distraction from the real work my soul needs to heal itself.
Rob even mentioned this as my way of dealing is to seek outside relationships to feel validated. I realize he is right. Now I wish for that moment back so I can stand in my trust and admit I am scared.
I miss the love of my life right now. Please help.
*Names have been changed.
A. Here’s a thought that may surprise you: The love you truly miss is yourself. She is the love of your life.
You’ve been running from her all these years and into the arms of other men. The bottom line is that you will never—I mean never—find deep and lasting happiness with anyone, until you begin to honor the sacred self within you.
It’s wonderful that Rob was able to point out to you the reason behind your multiple relationships, but let’s not fall in love with the messenger. Somewhere deep inside, you knew all along that there was something off about your ability to connect with men, that’s why you continued to seek them out even while in a committed relationship. Your subconscious wanted to test the theory. Not surprisingly, the lab results came back as you suspected—no man can fulfill you right now.
Even Rob. You put your faith in him, mainly because time has imprinted him upon you. You’ve shared closeness, but not the kind that has kept either of you committed to one another.
Consider this a blessed wake-up call!
Now is the time to put a freeze on your romantic relationships and get back into the laboratory of the self. Here are a few steps to discovering who you are and where you want to be in a relationship:
- Make a list of traits you find necessary in a partner. These could be anything from cleanliness to gentleness to being gainfully employed, honest, a good lover, etc. You get the idea.
- Apply this list to yourself. How many of these traits do you embody? Where can you work harder to achieve them?
- Once you have “become” the man you want to be with, as it were, make a new list. This list should include details of what your life with a partner is going to be like. Where will you live? Together? In separate homes? How will day-to-day decisions be made? How will you handle conflict when it arises?
- Begin to practice as many of these items as you can right now. That is, live your life in alignment with your ideal partnership without being in one. For example, when conflict arises at work, handle it the way you would like to see it handled with a partner (e.g., calm, respectful discussion).
The more you embrace a productive and self-loving lifestyle on your own, the more you will be ready for real intimacy with another human being. No longer will you be peeking over the fence to see if the grass is greener—you will be living the life you want now. And any man who wants to be part of that life can meet you where you are—and you can meet him where he is with integrity and mutual respect.
Author: Rachel Astarte
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Photo: Flickr/Sarah Zucca