As I mentor my students, regardless of male or female, one of the most frequently asked questions is about love – in particular, romantic love. Human culture has taken romantic love and placed it upon a tall pedestal, complete with rose-colored glasses and many prerequisites. And I explain to each of them, carefully and in great detail, that until each person loves themselves they will never be able to love another as they should be loved – unconditionally. Time and again I have this conversation and most look askance of me – do I really mean what I say or am I just saying it.
I mean what I say. In the past and today I have walked away from relationships that might be “comfortable” but they are not based in unconditional love. After the rose-colored glasses come off, add in a couple of years of real world experiences, and even the most adept internal liar becomes transparent in both their expectations towards the other and what few things they have to offer in exchange for those expectations. Believe me, unconditional love is not what is offered.
To stay in such a relationship may be comfortable for some – a home may be provided, luxury of employment may be a benefit, health benefits, binge shopping may be tolerated – so many different things may be offered to keep one shackled to today’s society’s idea of comfort. But when unconditional love does not exist then you are not only doing a disservice to yourself but to your shackled partner as well.
Yes, it may be difficult and if the relationship was legalized, costly to separate yourself from the relationship, and you may not “see” what your life is going to be like once the change has taken place. But let me assure you – once you have removed yourself from a relationship where Unconditional Love is not the root and basis, you will be amazed at how free you are.
I have been a single mother, struggling to raise two children while the ex spent his time and money on things other than his children, and still we were all happier struggling. Did we each do without? Absolutely! But once those shackles were removed, I was personally much happier and in a much better place emotionally and mentally to be able to focus on them and on myself, without worrying about the third child I was expected to care for without any form of appreciation.
I say these things, not out of bitterness, but to be transparent – because that was the expectation that was brought out after years of being together in college and then on our own – once we had children this shift took place where all of a sudden voila! I had three children, not two. Yes, it was gradual, but not so gradual that I did not comment upon these behaviors and thought patterns that emerged. The gradualism was derived from my growing bitterness and resentment at the lack of a partner and the loss of someone who should have been co-parenting with me.
I cannot say also that I was blameless, for our lives had many twists and turns that I did not know how to respond to, so I am sure I blundered through some things without finesse and without the wisdom to understand the best way to say something or to share compassion for that other person’s situation. I was doing my best and yet every day some other woman he worked with was praised for all her virtues and grace while I was criticized because children needed to be fed and cleaned before being put to bed.
I grew though this disaster of a marriage (inner viewpoint), and I still made my spiritual journey until I reached the point where it was absolutely intolerable to stay one second longer in that marriage. I had drained myself to the absolute dregs fighting to make this horrible relationship work every day and one day I woke up and it was the end. No matter how hard I had tried to be perfect in every way expected of me, I was done.
After it ended, I realized that my expectations of his behavior had shackled both of us and I did a re-haul of what it meant to be in a relationship – and especially a bad relationship. Through meditation and guidance, I was taught that when we stay in a relationship that is comfortable or tolerable, but not based in unconditional love, we are creating negative karma for our partner. That person will not be able to shift and change either and both people will be curtailed in emotional, psychological, and spiritual growth – definitely not a desirable situation! And, karma can also be incurred depending upon said relationship, as well, when one refuses to close it out!
I was in that relationship for almost 20 years, start to finish and unfortunately, it was a noose around my neck for almost 8 more years after that until our younger child turned 18. I vowed that I would never do that to myself again, nor would I do that to my children again either because they deserved better. They deserved to see unconditional love lived, or at least respectful love lived, so they knew better than to repeat their parents mistakes.
Now, as I am taking the steps to end another marriage I have asked myself how did this happen? What did I do incorrectly this time? What could I have changed? And I realized that I did nothing “wrong” and that there was nothing I could change. I have learned many things during these last six years, about myself, about how I view people and relationships, and what unconditional love means to me.
I accepted him for everything that he was and is, yet reciprocation does not exist. I was brutally honest from the get-go, sharing minute details so he would understand my (very odd) lifestyle and my (extremely excruciating) sense of honesty and that regardless of whether we lived together or got married, when I felt the relationship was no longer serving my H&B Good, I would depart, yet he was deceptive and illusive about his wants and desires.
Before you ask – yes, I did check with Spirit every step of the way with the relationship, so I did not just jump willy-nilly into it. I allowed Spirit to dictate what I needed to do with the relationship simply because I know myself and I did not trust myself to make decisions in a relationship when my heart was involved. Thus, when Spirit told me in January that the relationship would end this spring and I would be returning home in May, I trusted that as well, because Spirit does not lie.
His wake-up call happened two months ago, after an unnecessary argument when I told him I was done. Yet, because I did not throw all my possessions into a U-Haul and hightail it back home, he relaxed and thought that I was bluffing. Yet as I told my children – I was not waiting to leave out of amusement or because I wanted to make it painful for him. I am leaving at the time that Spirit has told me was appropriate to leave and Spirit has blessed me with strength and fortitude throughout this process.
I have gone through the differing stages of grief. I have verified time and again that financially he will be ok, that he will have enough money to pay his bills, while I will continue to depend upon Spirit to make sure all my needs are met. Boxes litter this house in various stages of packing as I have gone through a frenzied spring cleaning, ridding myself of all of my personal things that are not loved while leaving most of our joint items with him. I refuse to take anything with me that is not something I love (or desperately need) and so what has not been donated will stay with him as he needs them. I love him and I don’t want him to be without or to be hurting in a physical way, so I am not taking a single thing with me that I don’t need.
Yet I am leaving. If I love him, why leave, some ask? Because living in a state of unacceptance, not-love, and with another person’s expectations of how I should be is something I left behind when I left home. My parents had huge impacts on my personality and they littered my life with varying expectations that took years for me to shake off. I love my life – who I am, what I do, how I help people – and that life will go with me everywhere I go. I need no one’s approval to be who I am, for I know that Spirit and the Creator love me just as I am.
I have wonderful friends and children who are helping me get resettled back into the town I lived in for almost 15 years, a temporary, but necessary relocation through the rest of 2018. Here I will prepare for the next stage of my life, which my HS has been waiting so patiently to arrive. Here, I will live for the first time absolutely by myself with only my animal companions to place expectations upon me. I will be able to set 100% of my own schedule, cook only if I feel like it, drop everything and drive 2 hours to the beach if I feel like it, or maybe take a weekend and go to the mountains and decompress, content in knowing that the cats will be fine overnight without me.
Freedom is not the absence of something, but rather it is the completion of something – knowing what you need in your life and then doing it. I have tried the conventional lifestyle for most of my life and it has been a very poor fit overall. Now that my children are grown, it is time to live a life that is solitary, flaky, and unconventional – and that suits me wonderfully.
Again, this is not to bash relationships – but to help those who need this message that it is ok to look at a relationship and realize it is not serving your H&B Good. It does not mean walk away from the responsibility of caring for your children, but it is ok to look at your life and see how you and those in your life would be better off if the relationship was closed out.
Unconditional Love for your self and for others should be the basis for every relationship you have. Choose that and you won’t be led wrong.