I have read your columns on the Huffington Post and I am hopeful that you may have some insight regarding my story. I am a fifty-four year old woman and have been single for eight years. This past year has been exceptionally difficult for me. It began by dating an ex-boyfriend from college who didn't share that he had a girlfriend, and after testing the waters with me he told me about her and his decision to stay with her. That was a major let down but I somehow stumbled through it. This past July another old boyfriend from my twenties emailed me. We were quite serious back then and once he got into a Master's program he dumped me. I was a mess and it took me years to recover from this relationship. I always believed he left me because I wasn't good enough. In his email, he said he wanted to reach out and see what I had been up to for the past thirty years. He shared with me that he was married with children, etc. I emailed him back and told him about my last thirty years and I shared with him how devastated I was when he left all those years ago. His response was shocking! He told me he had loved me for the past thirty years and he was in a loveless marriage. I could not believe it! From here we began communicating daily until we both agreed to meet in person. He told me he asked his wife for a divorce and he wanted us to remain together for eternity. He took a job close to where I lived and we began the process of mapping out our future together, including finances, living arrangements, kids, getting married and growing old together. I was smitten and in love.
Two weeks before he was to move he called me and said: "Things were complicated."
He needed a few months to settle in and get situated before he could move forward with our relationship. After this I never heard from him again. Once again, it seems I am not good enough. I am a fool and I feel terrible. All I have ever wanted was a best friend, a partner, someone I could trust and spend my life with. He said all the right things and I believed him. Now I am left feeling depressed and trying to find a way to move forward. I can't imagine I will ever have another relationship because I am petrified of being hurt again. I just wish I could crawl under a rock and disappear. How do I get through this?
Under a Rock
For starters darling, please stop dating any Ex's who left you and never, ever date a married man. Leave the past where it belongs -- behind you. It's never a good idea to go backwards in life; in fact, you should stay focused on the present moment and allow the wonderment of your being to unfold. Sadly, life doesn't work like a Hollywood movie where an old flame reappears and the two of you live happily ever after. Let's leave those stories to the creative minds of the big screen and we'll cope with the reality of living consciously in the present moment.
First, I would like to offer you my empathy. I know how painful it feels when love takes a wrong turn and I am so very sorry that your heart got bruised. This may be difficult to hear, but, I want you to ponder this and be open to what I am about to say: the behavior of these men had nothing to do with you not being good enough. This is an old story you produced long ago that keeps replaying in your mind, and it is not true -- so toss it out the window and start from scratch. I would like to see you do something different in the way you view yourself and your life. Think of yourself as a great writer and director and you are about to produce one of the best motion pictures in all of history. You get to pick any genre you want, decide on the location, develop the characters you see in your film of life and choose how the story will end. Make sure you fill it with adventure, grit, harmony and romance. As the writer and director, your end goal is to win an Academy Award. Therefore, you must be well thought out and precise as to what you really want to create in your life. Do you want to be the hero or the victim? I would like to see you as the leading lady, which will require you to bring out your internal charisma and bravado. You never want to be the woman who exclaims, "You had me at hello." She is a victim and will always feel desperate to a man. You want to be the character that says; "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn!" I don't want to hear any more talk about you not being good enough -- Snap out of it!
From this day forward I want you to begin your day by writing down one attribute about yourself that is worthy of being loved and cherished. If you can't find that attribute, let me help you out: for starters, you should love and cherish the fact that you can breathe without the help of any machine. From this point of view you can only go up. Next, I want you to make a date with yourself once a week. On this date you are to go dancing, this could mean dancing in your own living room, I really don't care where, I just want you to be listening to some fun, good rhythm music that help you get your groove on. Shake it baby until you feel your inner sexy self pouring out. The objective of these exercises is to develop a love for yourself and bring out the fun spirited woman who lives deep inside of you. You can't expect anyone to love and cherish you if don't do that for yourself. Baby girl, it's like they say in the movies; "If you build it, he will come..." Now go out there and rebuild your beautiful self. Carpe diem -- seize the day and make your life extraordinary!
I wish you all the best my friend ~