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This is a human experience that is very near and dear to my heart, particularly in recent months. I went through a difficult breakup with my partner of six years, who I still love and respect as a dear friend.
I have to confess that my own lack of personal honesty and integrity were key factors as to why our romantic relationship did not ultimately flourish. After many months of soul-searching I realized that I was not truly in love with my partner. It was that simple, and yet I had not been honest about this simple fact in the previous six years.
I loved and still do love this person. I loved her all along, but she was IN LOVE with me. I now realize that the difference between these two things can be like an insurmountable canyon, and I'm not exactly Evel Knievel.
After even more rigorous soul-searching I realized that I had become codependent with my partner and was relying on her as a source of comfort, stability, and consistency in my life - not exactly the most loving orientation on my part.
On her end, she told me many times how deeply she loved me, how much she wanted to be with me, and how there was no one else she'd rather be with. Every time she would say this I would catch myself muttering platitudes about how much I agreed with her. As I would speak, my heart would wrench, as though signaling me about my own lack of honesty.
My wife would often call me on this, and with good reason. She'd tell me that she knew I would likely find someone else, and doubted the sincerity of my commitment to her.
In hindsight, it was as though she was speaking out my hidden, unconscious thoughts. I didn't have the courage to admit how I truly felt, and so she had to admit it for me. I am not proud of myself for any of this, but I feel compelled to share my experience so that perhaps I may shorten the suffering of others that are going through something similar.
Unrequited love - one of the most ubiquitous themes in all of human culture. I realized that my wife was pouring her heart and soul into me, and I was simply not able to reciprocate her level of devotion. I am very proud of how we handled our separation, as we are both great communicators and were able to part ways in about as amicable a way as humanly possible.
The message I want to highlight in this rather personal of anecdotes is that we owe it to ourselves and our partners to be rigorously honest at all times. Had I been honest from the beginning we could have resolved our differences earlier, but I am just happy to set things right here and now.
Love is such a perplexing thing to many of us. How can I love someone so deeply and completely, but they only feel so-so about me? Or the other way around? Why does love seem to come and go at the drop of a hat?
The deeper exploration of love involves freeing ourselves from the idea that love is external, outside of ourselves. If I'm giving love to a prospective partner, there may be part of me that expects to get something in return. Indeed, conditional love has been running rampant in human societies for about as long as anyone can remember.
The answer is often very simple, but it may not be so easy to put into practice at first. If we are all able to love ourselves more and more unconditionally, then we will automatically attract the right partner at the right time for our own mutual love and evolution.
If I am in love with someone but am waiting around for them to notice me, then it makes more sense to put the focus on loving, healing, and taking care of myself. This sets a good precedent for the beginning of a new relationship, because each person is able to come to the table with their cup overflowing, rather than arriving with a begging bowl for their partner to fill with love, attention, or anything else.
This time is full of changes in our relationships, both with other people and with ourselves. We're always being called to expand in love, creativity, joy and service to others. I thank you for being with me on this rather vulnerable journey, and I wish you all the love that we all deserve.