Are you feeling like a failure at relationships?
When my marriage to my first husband ended after ten years together, I definitely felt like I had failed at relationships. In fact, I thought my romantic life had come to an end. I was almost forty years old, impoverished, and raising two small children mostly alone. Who would ever want me as a partner? Cindy Baranco, the leader of Lafayette Morehouse, said to me in a course, “What makes a woman attractive is looking like she can be gratified. What makes her beautiful is being gratified already.”
So I stopped whining and trying to sell my loser story (no one in my community was buying it anyway). I went about making my life as gratifying as it could be. I took a lot of classes, and got to know my turn-ons and my orgasms better. Eighteen months later, I met Marc, who would become husband number two. Obviously, none of the excuses I had made up about why I was unlovable were real. I showed him my authentic self, neuroses and all, and he wanted to be with me. Mostly, he loved my mind, and my passion for exploring the interplay of masculine and feminine. Almost ten years later, he and I split up. Yes, ten years seemed to be my expiration date on relationships.
Once again, I focused not on finding a new man, but on learning from my previous experiences, and on making my own life really good. I started learning tantra, and I stepped into my vision for this business. And one year later I met Trevor. Breaking my usual pattern, we never got formally married, but our relationship was as close and fulfilling as it could be. This time, the romantic partnership ended after less than three years, so I win points for breaking a pattern!
Change your point of view
You might be thinking, wow, this woman can’t keep a relationship! I sometimes think that too. Albert Einstein said, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” Therefore I want to suggest a different way that I view my life in love, one that makes me feel way more powerful. I have the courage to walk away and rebuild, when my partner and I no longer have shared goals and values. I really know how to bounce back and open my heart again. Where could you benefit from telling a new story?When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. - Albert Einstein Click To Tweet
I keep getting better at loving. I have gotten better at asking for what I want, better at empathy, and most important, better at loving myself. My secret is that I am always teachable. I get vulnerable and ask people to mentor and help me. I ask for support when I am angry or down (on either myself or my former partners).
We think we get into relationships because we “fall in love,” or we see an end to our loneliness. The truth is, most relationships serve a purpose and it’s usually a secret. In my case, the first marriage was about making beautiful children. I was of an age, and he was handsome and available. Once we completed our joint mission, we moved on to other things. My second marriage was committed to our joint vision of creating a communal lifestyle and helping to end loneliness. We did that very successfully for a while, and then we grew into wanting different lifestyles (he is now a wandering wise man, I like to put down roots). My last relationship transformed this business, and both me and my former partner, in ways that eventually led us to outgrow one another.
Hooray! Change means growth. Change means challenge. We all have past loves, recent or not, and it’s up to you whether you choose to let these endings open you up or shut you down.
How to open your heart again
Here are my suggested steps:
- Practice compassion – You didn’t do anything wrong, and neither did they. Whatever spiritual belief you hold, it probably
says that God is everywhere. Find ways to cultivate forgiveness.
- Allow yourself to grieve – whether you left, or got left, the end of a relationship is loaded with the death of your fantasies about how life should be. Know that the grieving is a sign of the size of your heart
- Open your heart to yourself first and foremost – give yourself the love you were giving to your partner. Give yourself the love you wish to receive from a partner
- Be Unconditional Love – there are lots of people in your life that could benefit from your love. Take away the demand that they “mean” something to you, or that they might be sexually compatible, and look for opportunities to gift your love through kindness. To the cashier at the grocery story, your parents, your children.
- Party! – Enjoy your life with the open-hearted enthusiasm of a child. I recently re-watched Blast from the Past, an old movie with Brendan Frasier as a boy who grows up in a bomb shelter for his first 35 years of life. Everything he sees when he comes to the surface delights him. Enthusiasm is charming! It’s attractive. If you do want to have a new partner, one will be drawn to you. If you don’t, you won’t even care, because you will be having so much fun.
- Give it time. You may go back to the previous steps in any order as often as needed.