I have a friend that has been in emotional distress for months on end. He had come to love a woman, but the relationship was not to be. His distress is not just the heartbreak of a lost love, but the loss of what he believed to be “the One.”
Now this women showed some major character flaws during the relationship. I’m talking deal-breakers here, like lying and cheating. I’d think these characteristics would have quieted such a burning love. I love my friend for his depth of feeling but wonder, what the hell?
It seems to me that the “idea” of one true love is hindering his ability to heal, a process that is highly common in the world of relationships. It is rendering him blind to the near miss of being yoked to someone with a bit much carry-on baggage. And it is fatalistically depressing the hell out of any future hope he has of loving again. No, a thousand times, no.
It also makes me wonder, do singles who believe in “The One” bail from good relationships? Does the natural difficulty of relating to another human cause a flight reaction? The excuse, is written into the play, “well, she must not be The One.”
A friend of mine supplied me with a mantra at a time in my life when I needed it most. He said, “Never subordinate yourself to an ideal.” There is no Ideal relationship and there is no magic One.
My love for this mantra and continued hatred for “The One” was ultimately fired up by my own false belief. You see I am newly single after being married for 25 years. Over the time and tears of separation, I have become aware that I had also believed in a magic formula. It wasn’t The One but it was still an ideal that eventually deteriorated from within.
The ideal was to commit for life, bear children and live the American Dream. You know, what could go wrong? In our case, I believe we lost the essentials of maintaining a love relationship because we were too busy meeting our ideal. I believe we had pre-formed pictures of what it meant to be a husband and wife and mother and father. In hindsight, I wish we had focused more on just being present for each other and our kids.
To further increase our burden we joined in a church affiliation where we learned more ideals. Not only did we have roles to meet in our heads, now we had others telling us that God had some for us as well. It was like living under a coercive power that we had put in play ourselves! Don’t get me wrong, some good things came out of the roles we played. But it was not the way to sustain a life-time of love and marriage. I wonder daily what will become of all the lessons on commitment and loyalty that we taught our sons.
I have no idea the cognitive dissonance they will have to contend with in their adult lives from our mixed messages.
And what will they have taken as a model of love from our relationship? Some things, I believe will have passed them by with no harm. Nobody was verbally abused in the relationship they witnessed. But, we didn’t make it. We were missing the true elements it takes to keep a relationship lasting.
At this point I am only guessing, as to what needs to be there instead of some ideal. I’m guessing it is…acceptance? Quietness? Peacefulness? Slowdownness? Some sort of individual wholeness? Two people who do not use each other to supply need, but rather offer support, encouragement and love from their own wells?
I don’t really know because I haven’t done it. My goal if I try again is to be a soft-hearted witness to the struggles of being human. A fearless giver of love. Someone with the ability to receive love in whatever form it takes. Trust and openness as first priorities. And never, ever, ever again, any pre-thought out roles. Wish me luck.