I thought the soulmate thing was lame, until now. I am 45 years old and married to the man I was always meant to be with. Still, I can’t seem to stop thinking about my ex-husband. My ex was a good father, but not a good husband. Four years ago, my son and I moved out over a weekend and by the following Wednesday my ex was on a date. This is a guy who would never travel, or do anything fun. How can I stop thinking about him?
MYOB? I mean, you want to know why he waited until you moved out to do the things you always wanted him to do (every divorced woman asks herself that question, girlfriend). You want to know what he’s doing now, who he’s with and whether he thinks about you. None of it is any of your business. So, the next time your thoughts flit to your ex and flirt with possible answers to your questions, pray: “I trust that everything in my life has the singular purpose of bringing me here, alive and aware, in this moment. I pray that my gratitude be felt by all beings who helped me arrive here.” Then focus on your actions, even if you have to narrate the experience in order to retrain your mind, “I am washing a red bowl. I am rinsing a red bowl.” Eventually your mind will grasp the value of being aligned with your body’s movements. By the way, without that kind of awareness you can’t possibly be married to your soulmate. The term soulmate implies an equality that can’t exist if your mind is time-traveling. Comprende? When your brain, body and spirit are focused on the present, you’ll be the kind of gift to yourself, your husband, your marriage, your child and your community that the word soulmate signifies. True love is conscious.
My parents believed that divorce was a sin, never understanding that a home in which miserable parents avoided each other is a broken home. By 16, I decided that marriage is the beginning of death, an evaluation from which I have never recovered. I’m in my 50s now and unable to overcome the visceral fear of attachment and intimacy I learned from my parents. I was married once for three years and have had three other long-term relationships, but have mostly lived alone. I haven’t dated in six years. Is it possible for me to change or should I accept the way I am and make the best of my life?
I’m in the transformation business, so I believe—completely—in your ability to change. Here’s how: surrender your over-identification with your parents. There is no mandate that your romantic relationships must mimic your parents’ marriage. Revise your self-concept: You’ve had four substantial relationships but sometimes fear the consequences of intimacy.
The belief launched from your teenaged brain, is true. Marriage is the beginning of death, but not in the way you imagined. Marriage requires the death of one’s sense of separation and an embrace of union with another. That can be a joy, if you allow it. So now that you’re no longer a child, put away childish beliefs. From here forward, when you’re dating, tell your partner upfront and honestly that you want intimacy but tend to sabotage it. Invite your partner to see the behavior as your issue, not theirs. Then, when you start your running-away-from-love drama, speak up: “I’m getting really anxious because we’re growing closer and I’m afraid of (name your fear here).” In the next moment say or do one thing that brings you closer to your partner, even if it terrifies you. (You’ll survive, I promise). Finally, find a counselor to guide you. P.S.: I’m in your corner, too.