Platonic impossibility

Joey Garcia

My boyfriend said that he is not ready to be in a serious relationship, so he broke up with me. We were together for over a year. He knows that he should be more committed and should say, “I love you” more often, but he is not ready for that level of commitment. He did say he loved me, but not more than once a day because that was too much for him. He said there’s a chance of getting back together when he figures out what he wants. What can I do to feel better (not cry all the time or feel sick and depressed)? We’re going on a trip we planned together with his family for a week. Should I try to remain platonic, or should I let things happen if they are going well?

A platonic relationship is one in which there is no romantic attraction or expectation. But you have a huge bundle of feelings for your ex, along with the hope of a renewed commitment. So, platonic is not an option right now.

The real question is whether you should go on vacation at all. (Scary thought, huh?) If you must go, do the inner work necessary to release expectations. You must fully accept the relationship as it is (broken up) and possess no expectation of getting back together. While on vacation, check in with yourself at every interval. Don’t engage in any action that is motivated by the belief that if you do this one thing, your boyfriend will return or even like you more. And even if you experience a strong connection with your ex, don’t assume that it will lead anywhere. You can only gain if you are not afraid of losing.

Is it true that three little words would have saved your relationship? Saying, “I love you,” implies commitment and promise only if two people share the same definition of love, whether they are born to it or wrestle it out in a series of conversations. The reality is that genuine love is a decision, not a feeling. Most importantly, the words “I love you” are not intended as pills for our insecurities. They are not an incantation to reassure us that the relationship is still breathing or that we are still desirable. Those three little words actually fall short of expressing what a couple truly experiences as love.

Depression, tears and anger are normal when a relationship dies. They signal the loss of dreams created during the relationship (plans to work on a creative project together or get married). So, grieve. Then focus on what you have learned so you can be in the world, transformed.

I have been meditating with a teacher who uses the idea that one must work with impermanence. It is not working for me. I am a visual person who sees symbols and colors. When I meditate, I feel guilty about not meeting the teacher’s method. I would like to work with someone who can help me with visualizations to increase my meditations. Recommendations?

Meditation is focused on being present with what is. Visualization leads us into the realm of the imagination (colors, symbols, a journey, etc.). Each process fosters very different outcomes. Many hypnotherapists and spiritual directors lead visualizations. A spiritual director also could help you to explore your guilt. I suspect that the fear of not being good enough or not doing it right or being a round peg trying to fit a triangular hole has affected your life regularly. It has surfaced now for healing, so why run just when the process is working? If you must switch advisers, contact the Sacramento Buddhist Meditation Group, Ananda Sacramento or Mercy Center for referrals.

Meditation of the week
A reader sent me this quote from Alan Cohen: “It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.” Can you sustain this resurrection?

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