When Cupid Slips Away

Last post ends in Psyche being with Cupid, this one is about times when Cupid slips away. It is a guest post by Scotia Stone, who is an educator and relationship coach.

It seems that no matter which situation you are in- single or partnered- there are certain pleasures and joys, pressures and aggravations. Having a partner is what society tells us we need. Who wouldn’t want that support to help face the harsher realities of modern life? If you’re single, dating is an anxiety-producing chore, and being alone can be lonely. Yet, when you are in a relationship, you often sail stormy waters. It’s hard to balance the competing demands, agendas, and personalities of two individuals. A bad relationship is draining and can cost you your health, serenity and sanity as well.

No matter what your romantic status, the most important partnership is the one you build with yourself.

Starting a new relationship can certainly stir your fears and anxieties. It is hard to let go of the programming of the past, and when you are stressed, they often rear their ugly head in thoughts like “Oh, I can’t get hurt again!” or “Oh, this is what happened last time!” The brain loves patterns to order and manage the world around you; it will seek them every time. “Gerry is just like Paul, and he left me, and I didn’t see it, and this happened last time and it sucked, and it’s going to happen now…..” You can drive yourself crazy with this stuff. That happened then. This is now. It’s just your desire for control talking. You want to know what’s going to happen.

In your state of not-knowingness, you must keep an open heart and an open mind. You can’t be ready for love if your heart and mind are closed, and if you’re just awaiting your next disappointment. You will not bring the right man to you unless you have an open heart to receive him. And it will be hard to keep him if you keep operating from the same old fears and anxieties, if you don’t have also have an open mind to accept him as he is.

Let your past hurts go, and while you’re at it, don’t beat yourself up when you’re wrong about a man in the future. We women love to take the blame on ourselves. I should have seen, or I should have known. Maybe, maybe not. But either way, so what? Dust yourself off and do better next time. Learning is a lifelong process. When we are ready for the lesson, the teacher appears. He was your teacher. You got something out of him. Whether you spent ten years together, or just ten days.

Sometimes you are in a place where you couldn’t have avoided a bad man any more than you could avoid any other natural disaster, like a tornado or a flood. He was a false prince. He seemed like the Prince Charming you were waiting for, but he wasn’t the guy. Accepting impermanence also means that you accept that a man may be right for a certain time in your life, but it might just fall apart one day. And not because you were not doing anything wrong. If it does bite the dust, learn how to get over it quicker. It doesn’t have to take forever. Enjoy the things you did get out of it. I have had some very romantic times in my life. Dancing in the streets of Vienna to usher in the new year. Sailing along the New England coast, drinking champagne and watching the sunset over the water. Long motorcycle rides through lush Iowa cornfields. Herding sheep and counting rainbows in the Irish countryside. All of these experiences were ones I wanted to continue. But the relationships didn’t, for various reasons. But I am still very thankful to have had these experiences. They have shaped my life. And without these false princes, these things wouldn’t have happened.

Yeah, I only feel so thankful on good days. On off days, I can grow melancholy for those experiences I’d like to have again. But the good days are getting more frequent, because I refuse to sit around and think love isn’t going to come my way. I believe it will. In the meantime, I’m going to live a great life.

I try to use my experiences as lessons. In learning how to enjoy the present, and not obsess about the future. How do you do that? Don’t overinvest for one. Try to keep your expectations in check. Try to take your time with the physical stuff too. It helps. Because then you keep your clarity a little longer. You can really know who this guy is before the bonding hormones, oxytocin and dopamine, kick in. Making you imbue a man with properties he doesn’t deserve. Like he must be a great guy if I slept with him.

Adopt a mindset of constant quality improvement too. How many writers, artists and actors went through years of rejection before they hit it big? Years of odd jobs and family disapproval, where only their tenacity kept them going? Victor Frankel in his book Man’s Search for Meaning recounts how the only people who survived the concentration camps were those determined to fight to survive, who refused to give in to the cruelty, death and despair they saw around them. Those who lost that will died quickly.

I’ve had no greater example of this than when I was in central Europe last summer. I was struck by the history of Poland in particular. This is a country that didn’t exist for large periods of time. It was always being swallowed up by Germany, Russia or Austria, its more powerful neighbors. At different times, its citizens were forbidden from speaking Polish or calling themselves Poles. After WWII, when millions of Poles had been murdered in concentration camps, the Soviets came in and put the country under 40 years of Communist rule. Off and on, Poles suffered centuries of oppression. But like many other war-torn places, Poland survived, and today they have a growing economy.

These may seem like extreme examples. But they are powerful reminders to me when I’m down about my love life. Humans are resilient. And people have survived far worse despair than I have in my search for love.

In any meaningful pursuit, what choice is there but to persevere?

You can read more on this topic from Scotia Stone’s new book Damned If You Do.

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