I’m falling for an exotic, intellectual woman. We’ve been friends for nine months, but recently began expressing real affection for each other. She’s moving to Japan (for over a year) to pursue career and educational goals. I don’t have a big budget, but think it may be worth the risk to go there myself. I’m 43 years old and I’ve waited seven years for something this special. So, do I move to Japan or beg her to stay? The thought of losing her completely is awful. I’m not ready for a broken heart.
You may think of me as the local love diva, the oracle of all things relational, the doctor of love, but, frankly, if I strip it away, I’m a romantic. Well, OK, a practical romantic.
So here goes: Love is not an either-or proposition. Love does not say, “Stay!” Love says: “It’s only been nine months but I feel as though you are the woman I can imagine myself loving for a lifetime. I want to see if that is true. I would not ask you to stay here if your dream is to go to Japan. I would like you to know I want to join you on that adventure, if you want me to. At the very least, I want to arrange to visit you in Japan regularly so we can continue the love that has started to grow between us.”
Oooooooh! (Sorry. That’s me, swooning.)
Seriously: Speak to her from your heart as I’ve suggested, then step away. Leave her alone for a bit because, despite your passion, regardless of your own wishes for a partnership and fears of being hurt, you must allow her complete freedom to make a decision. That’s what love does.
But before you share the voice of your heart with her, be certain you have the capacity to live in the unknown. That’s what Japan will be for you. You must be sufficiently invested in self-care to tend to your own internal dramas about how the food, people, service, transportation, making friends or whatever is different than you expected or are accustomed to. It’s unfair to depend on cleaving to her.
And, now, some advice about broken hearts: I’ve had plenty of them and can report some good news. First, they don’t last forever. Second, a shattered heart is an open heart. It serves as an invitation to look within and learn to love with greater humility and gratitude. Third, it teaches you to appreciate the trillions of tender ways that the world catches you when you’re in pain. So if you plan to really love this world—or anyone or anything in it—a heart broken of its expectations is inevitable.
I’m a very pretty woman, independent, divorced for seven years. I meet lots of men. However, it seems they become afraid or maybe intimidated by me. I’m starting to take it personally. What does my love life look for the future? My date of birth is March 1, 1960.
I’m not certain if I should check your horoscope or my Magic 8-Ball.
No worries. It doesn’t take a psychic or astrologer to figure out that you haven’t accepted you are worth the wait. If a man is intimidated by your beauty and ease in the world, he’s not the man for you. But if you refuse love from others (offers of help, invitations to deepen friendships or genuine compliments), that’s not independence. Neither is creating distance to avoid anyone discovering your insecurities.
So instead of worrying about meeting your soul mate, learn to be one to yourself. Then learn how to be friends with men. No flirting, no booty calls, just good old-fashioned platonic friendship. It’s a fine distraction from taking things personally.