I had a “Soul Mate” when I was 18. That’s her in the picture. She was my first love, she was my first sexual experience, she was my first in a lot of things. We dated for almost two years. I look back on that now and that time period is really very short, but back then, it felt like an eternity. Everything was good, until it wasn’t. When our relationship ended, I took it very well initially. I was in college at the time and there was plenty of new women to date and hopefully get laid by. As time and dating went on, I kept comparing the new women to her and it always ended badly for them. Little did I know what I was creating.
Fast forward about 6 months after the relationship ended and I thought I was hitting rock bottom. It didn’t help that I had a summer job that I hated and that the guys that I worked with would play country music constantly. A sad song of loss would come on the radio, and there I was, identifying with it. It got so bad that I actually called her one day and asked her if there was a chance that we could work things out. I remember very vividly to this very day what she said to me. “I’m sorry Rob, but that door is closed.” I literally heard it slam shut in my head.
A few months later the bottom in my life at the time truly fell out from under me. It was around Christmas, and I was home on winter break from college and my mother and I went to see a movie. I don’t remember the title right now, I do know it was a comedy that had Eddie Murphy in it. I think it was Coming to America, but I’m not sure. What I do remember is that something funny happened in the film and the whole audience was laughing, including me. My laughter kept going and going until I started to cry. My mother looked over at me and asked me what was wrong, and I told her, with tears running down my face, “I think I want to kill myself.”
Six months after the break up, the slide into depression began. It was stealthy and quiet at first. My comparing new women to my old flame didn’t help in the slightest. I know now that I created a fallacy about her and me. In my eyes, she was better and more beautiful than she really was. Our relationship was better than it had actually been. The sex was more amazing than anyone new. You get the idea.
I ended up getting help with my suicidal tendencies and my depression and got through it, obviously. The whole soul mate idea still lingered though. I really and genuinely thought that I would never meet another woman quite like the one I had had. To a degree that was and is true. No one is quite like her. But that doesn’t mean that there wasn’t others to come. I thought that I had lost my “soul mate” until another woman came along about two years after this first love of mine. She was pretty terrific in her own way, and guess what? The relationship worked until it didn’t, the sex was pretty amazing, and we experienced the usual things that couples experience. I learned then that there are a lot of women out there that will fit into my life just fine.
The point I’m getting to is this: There is no One.
ONEitis is paralysis. You cease to mature, you cease to move, you cease to be you.
There is no ONE. This is the soulmate myth. There are some good Ones and some bad Ones, but there is no ONE. Anyone telling you anything else is selling you something. There are LOTS of ‘special someones’ out there for you, just ask the divorced/widowed person who’s remarried after their “soulmate” has died or moved on.
This is what trips people up about the soul-mate myth, it is this fantasy that we all at least in some way share an idealization of – that there is ONE perfect mate for each of us, and as soon as the planets align and fate takes it’s course we’ll know that we’re ‘intended’ for each other. And while this may make for a gratifying romantic comedy plot, it’s hardly a realistic way to plan your life. In fact it’s usually paralyzing.
Why am I talking about this? A friend of mine reached out to me via Instagram the other day, apparently she has been reading my blog. She had a question for me in regards to getting unstuck. She mentioned a past relationship that had imploded. I imagine that there are other areas of her life that she would like to work on as well, but this is the one that she came to me about.
I referred her to my post, 10 years from now, and I hope it helps her with not only her other stuff that is going on in her life, but with her failed relationship as well.
However, with that being said, I wanted to bring up a few things that I didn’t mention to her that involve relationships specifically. I didn’t have the time at that moment to talk about it with her, so I’m going to bring it up here.
M, I have no idea as to why you guys didn’t work out except for the little tiny bit that you divulged to me, I’m certain that there is a lot more to that story, and I’m willing to listen to your take on it, if and when you ever decide that you want to share that with me. That being said, you have to own up to your part of it. You have to look really close and honestly at yourself. Where could you have done better by him? What needs could you have fulfilled for him better? I’m positive that he deserves some of the blame for the failing here as well, but I’m not talking with him, I’m talking with you. What could you have done differently? We men, we are fairly simple in most respects. We don’t really care what you do for a living, just so long as you have a means to help support yourself. We don’t care what goals you have for the most part, just as long as you have goals and that there is a way that we can help you achieve them without it just being about money.
Men DO. That’s what we are hard-wired for. We are problem solvers. In a way, we need to be needed. If there isn’t something that we as men can do, there’s no real point in us sticking around. Were you too independent? Were you too boisterous in your opinions of how things “should” be? You mentioned that your ex was a recovering “nice guy.” I know all about that as I’m one myself. Did you say anything to him like, “You should do this, or you should do that?” That’ll get his defenses up in a heartbeat. That will get him to push back hard. I know, I’ve been there.
Were you too “clingy?” Did you want to spend every waking moment with him, and did you? Sometimes men need time for themselves and sometimes they need time to do stuff with other men. When a man wants to spend time alone or with other men, trust me, it’s not a reflection on you. You have nothing to do with it.
Did you change your appearance? While a change of clothes or a new hairstyle won’t be the be-all-end-all of a relationship, it can add to the demise of it. Any radical change in appearance can cause a man to start questioning things. I know about this as well. My ex-wife chopped off her hair at one point and it gave me pause. There were many other things that were not working in my marriage, this didn’t help. I know it might sound and seem shallow, but there it is.
So what do you do now? You move on as best you can. You compare yourself to you only. Are you better today than you were yesterday? That’s what matters. It doesn’t matter what’s going on in other people’s lives. It doesn’t matter if your ex hit the ground running and never looked back, it doesn’t matter if he is sitting in a room with a bottle in one hand and a gun in the other. All that matters for you to get unstuck is you. That means taking a really good, hard look at yourself. Change the things you can, little by little, one by one, day by day.
This also means you need to get back out there and start dating again. The fastest way to get over somebody is to meet somebody new. I know that’s what has worked for me, every time.
When it comes to meeting someone new, look not only for what they bring to the table, look for what YOU have to offer as well. Are you a good cook? Are you a good listener? Are you a good lay? Crude question, but it’s important. A really good woman will make a man’s dick hard, not his life. What value can you add to his life? What do you have to offer? I know you have kept in shape and that will put you miles ahead of the competition. Keep doing that.
Whatever you do, you actually need to DO IT. Talking about it for a short time is okay, but it won’t solve the problem. You’re going to have to take action. You’re going to have to be honest with yourself.
Remember: There is no One. Just like there are some good women, some great women, and some horrible women out there, there are some good men, there are some great men, and there are some bad men, but there is no One.