Question submitted via Facebook:
“I just broke up with my boyfriend for the third and final time. I'm feeling good about it, but truly discouraged at the fact that there isn't one person in the world for everyone. Love is....not forever.”
Sorry you are feeling a bit discouraged, but the truth is tomorrow isn't guaranteed, so how could forever be? Too much certainty breeds boredom and restlessness; some chance is what keeps life exciting; especially when the Universe sends us some surprises that are so very pleasant.
Well, we've talked many times about the fact that there is no ‘one’ person for everyone. And no, love doesn't live forever, at least not without investing the time and effort to keep it alive.
But love not lasting ‘forever’ is understandable, since nothing is forever. Everything is finite, and change is inevitable. But that also makes love MORE important, MORE precious, and MORE exciting, and especially worth finding.
Really, barring a Hollywood plot device, why would there be just one person for all of us? What in Human history, culture, or biology would make such a thing true...or even preferable? How many things in your life are *identical* to what they were 10 years ago, much less 20? How many things will be exactly the same 20 years from now? Love is not a fixed thing, there are many souls we resonate with, or could, if given the chance and willingness. Some times that connection lasts for days, sometimes it lasts for decades.
I was a bit discouraged when I realized what you are realizing now, but ultimately that discouragement gave way to something beautiful. There is one reason and one reason only for two people to stay together: Because they choose to. Not out of an antiquated social custom, or a vague fear of not being able to do better. But out if a conscious choice to stand side by side and face this world together. To trust, respect, and grow together. To realize there are 1,000,000 potential ‘ones’ out there, but that this person is the one that you choose consciously. And if that ever stops working--no matter how hard you work to fix it--then you are free to choose something else.
It’s important that you always know that there are other guys out there, just like there are other ladies. You should choose a guy because of who and what he is, what he has to offer, and how he makes you feel, and he should choose you for the same reasons. Anything less than that is unacceptable.
And personally I think that is a far far greater thing than someone being your one fated chance at happiness.
Will that be true 50 years from now? God only knows, but here and now all that’s available to any of us; as long as it is real now, obsessing about whether it will be real in the far future is a waste of today.
Now, when you really care about someone it is normal and natural to
feel a certain burning anxiety when your significant other is talking to someone else, because you might worry about them leaving, or somehow being ‘taken’ from you. But here is the fact: If you are on top of your game, he’s not going anywhere. And if he does anyway, it’s his loss…not yours. And if you *aren’t* on your game, and he leaves…that’s your loss, not his.
The most important thing is to choose each other, and keep choosing each other. But the only way that is possible, is if you are completely aware of any and all options available to you, and yet you choose each other. If you have to chase each other, stress about where you are or what you might be doing, and try to stop each other from doing anything you wouldn't approve of, that's not love...that is parenting.
As long as you can respect, trust, love, and grow together, keep at it. When you can’t anymore, stop. That may be a week, a year, a decade, or a lifetime. As long as you are open and honest with each other, it will all work out for your greater good. It may not work out how you want it to at the time, but it will absolutely work out for the best.
I want to leave you with a final piece of advice on how to have the type of love you are looking for:
“Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.”
― Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
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B. Dave Walters
Writer, Life Coach, and Talk Radio Host
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