Ruth Gordon

MA MSW LICSW

Office: 239.692.8060
Cell: 239.293.4314

Naples,

Florida

 

 

 

May 2017
Getting Over Your "One and Only"

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Few things cause as much pain and self-recrimination as continuing to love an individual who doesn't love you in the same way.  

Suppose you didn't judge your feelings.  Suppose you really knew that once you open your heart it doesn't close back up without time and discomfort.  Suppose you treated yourself with compassion.  Don't you think you would feel better?
 
If we could really define what love is, we might be able to handle it more efficiently.  As the state of the art now stands, it is messy, disorienting and intense (in a bad way) when the "one" no longer is.

Part of the problem is that there are so many definitions of "love".  Is it full-time, long-term, a "summer romance"?  Are you both "in love" or does one of you have "a love" for the other and different expectations.

To complicate things further, while one might announce that they will never, ever get married, be monogamous, whatever, minds get changed all the time.  It seems that you must give it time to see if it ripens.  The question then becomes how long to wait?

My advice would be to avoid committing years to any particular situation, especially if you are a grown-up.  I leave that decision as to what "grownupness" is to you.  If you have hung in there and promises are routinely delayed, it's time to make an honest assessment of what's going on.

If you have "invested" a great deal of time, it will, probably, feel like time wasted.  That is not necessarily true.  You have had a graduate level education on what you do not want - make use of it the next go round.

From my viewpoint, I do not believe that it is a given that you can truly love only one individual in a lifetime.  How do you know that the requirements that worked in your 20's will continue to make you happy in your 50"s?  If you have chosen for one-dimensional reasons, please remind yourself that he may go bald, she may get saggy and fortunes are made and lost all the time.  That fabulous trip around the world will not be a lot of fun with someone you can barely tolerate.

It is natural that you mourn the loss of the intimacy.  Most of us do not cheer when what once was two becomes one.  You may feel unmoored.  You may have thought that the path to your future was clear and now it's full of question marks.  The desire for attachment is strong and you may need to gather yourself up and tap into your self-confidence - it did not depart with the departed - I promise.

It may be time to have a talk with yourself and learn, if you don't already know, that your value does not depend on another human being.  If you can really appreciate yourself you will, as likely as not, feel less frantic, and avoid choosing a partner out of desperation.

Please don't think you are weak because you miss your old relationship.  I'm guessing that you are not missing the bad parts.  Do not try to convince yourself that it was all roses and rainbows - it, most certainly, was not.

So many individuals believe that the person who owned his/her heart is the only person who could possibly love him/her.  Well, if that were true, those of us who have weathered multiple "amours" must be hallucinating when we, finally, get settled into something lasting.

While there are many successful liaisons that began before the age of 18, there are certain circumstances that frequently appear, apparently, out of nowhere in these unions.  You might be surprised at the number of times I've heard individuals of both sexes begin to wonder what they have missed by being committed too early. 

Of course you must talk about it.  I'm pretty sure that you will need professional help when you do this - it's way too sensitive handle on your own. This restlessness may derive from the so-called middle age crisis - "I'm afraid there's something I may have missed".  Some, want to be reassured that more than one person may find him/her attractive.  If this is the case, you are playing with fool's gold.

It is easy to convince yourself that you have found a love like none before.  The problem is you really have no idea what it is you have found.  Affairs do not bring along with them a guarantee of commitment or kindness.  It's easy to be captivating on a short-term basis, but, what are you, or the other person, like when life's problems pop up. 

I was divorced many years ago, so I am not an advocate for staying with who you have chosen forever.  Some love affairs fizzle out and cannot be reignited.  When you choose again, and, at some point, you hopefully will, focus on character.  

You needn't be a supplicant in the romance.  It is important to present who you truly are.  The right person for you can handle your idiosyncrasies. Your may have to teach each other which peculiarities you can and cannot abide.  That is part of what builds the fabric of your life together.  If it works out long-term, good for you.  If not, there surely is someone else out there who can love (not necessarily like) all of you.

Please, please, please, if you are yearning for a connection, do not give up hope.  When you do that, you may plunge into despair.  Save yourself from that experience.  You must be good for yourself.  If you are overly self-critical, you will have a skewed idea of your real worth.  If you believe that the individual you have found is better than you are, it is likely that he/she believes that as well.  Get out of there!!  Is this person on your team?  If you feel shamed, that is never a good sign - again I say,  get out!

Love comes in many forms.  If you keep that in mind, you may find that you are better off than you thought.

Your heart is a muscle that gets stronger with use.  Bear in mind that unless illness strikes, your heart is not all that fragile. Allow it to beat under your direction.

True love comes quietly, without banners or flashing lights. If you hear bells, get your ears checked.  Erich Segal