I love you. Who are you?

Joey Garcia

I have been in a relationship with my boyfriend for a year. I love him with all my heart, but he is a liar. Almost everything he has told me is a lie. He told me that he didn’t have any kids. I found out he has two. He says he wants nothing to do with these kids, but he has been talking to the mother of one kid the whole time he and I have been together. He didn’t tell her that he is engaged to me, but he did tell her other personal stuff about me. I found this out by calling the girl. My boyfriend now says that he will never lie to me again, but I feel like I can’t trust him. I feel like a mad woman searching around town trying to find out what he is doing. This is hard because he is in the military, so he can do anything without me knowing. Please help.

If everything he has told you is a lie, how can you “love him with all your heart”? You cannot, because you don’t have a clue who he is. You love the person you hoped he would be and the person he led you to believe he was. Both of these are illusions. Your heart would never permit you to love an illusion. Only the unhealthy parts of our egos love illusion.

You’re playing Nancy Drew because you believe that information will give you a sense of control in this out-of-control situation. Sometimes you hope that what you learn will prove he’s not such a bad guy. Sometimes you hope to find proof that he’s horrible, because you think if he could see how badly he treats you, he would want to change. Then you would be the woman who helped him heal, and he would love you forever. Not!

The reality is that this is not a man who is ready to be engaged, married or even dating monogamously. He maintains several romantic interests at once because doing so allows him to avoid genuine commitment and true emotional intimacy. He may use sex as a way to feel close to someone quickly, because it’s possible to have sex without risking his heart or soul. By contrast, genuine love always includes risk.

Consider what you are saying about your self-worth by hanging on to this relationship. Consider what you are saying about the value of your time by scouring the community for clues. Then, love yourself enough to let go and move on.

I believe it’s very important to question the world and everything about myself. However, I think so much about the world or the circumstances people face, that it’s been quite some time since I felt light or thought frivolously. How can I balance being concerned for the world with being carefree (and guilt-free about that lightness)?

Retrofit your image of balance. Most people imagine balance as a pie carved into equal slices, because that’s how psychologists have promoted it. That image is about conformity, not individuality. It doesn’t fit the life of Pulitzer Prize winners, MacArthur grant recipients, artists, activists or religious leaders. Balance is simply the right rhythm for your individual life. It requires a careful internal listening, so your passion does not become idolatry. Similarly, attention is not about clock time. Attention is the quality of your presence and a willingness to give up whatever stands in the way of creating the change that you envision for the world.

Of course, your real question is: “Is it OK to enjoy life even as others suffer?” Yes, as long as their needs remain equal to your own in your choices, thoughts and prayers.

Meditation of the week
“Masquerading as a normal person day after day is exhausting,” said an anonymous quipster. I agree. Do you realize that being your true self means you no longer will be considered normal?

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