I reunited with my beloved in 2005, just under three years after I cut all contact with him. It soon became clear to me that despite his feelings for me, his soul searching during our separation had led him down a different path where the words “duty and responsibility” were the flavour of the day. In the weeks that followed my visit, we both tried to put into words what we felt – and didn’t feel – for each other. On the phone one day, he told me that he did not feel romantic love towards me. I could see what he meant because ours had never been a romance with flowers and candle lit dinners but rather a friendship set on fire; a deep resonance that consumed us with its fierce, unapologetic flame of truth and unconditional love.
As nothing he ever says goes unnoticed, I went and looked up definitions of romantic love on the internet, coming across this one by Canadian sociologist, John Lee: “ Romantic love –the lover thinks constantly about the loved one, is jealous, unrealistic, will tolerate anything, is sexually attracted by physical appearance, needs repeated reassurance he/she is loved in return.” Although initially I had felt disappointed by what he had said, the more I thought about what true love really was, I became relieved and glad that he did not feel that way about me. And, for the first time in my life, I did not feel that way either. Suddenly I knew that this kind of unrealistic love – the weak-kneed, starry-eyed kind of love – had nothing to do with real love.
Romantic love consists of thinking that once we find the perfect mate, fall in love and lose ourselves in that love, that all our problems will be solved. Sadly, by the time we awaken from this dream, we often find ourselves in a loveless marriage, wearing yet another mask, yet another layer hiding the real us, or perhaps already in middle of a bitter divorce or separation, wondering what went wrong. Or even worse, we stay put in that relationship, lying awake at nights staring at the ceiling wondering “Is this all there is?” and fooling ourselves into thinking that this is all we deserve. But the thing is; the co-dependency of this kind of unrealistic “love” keeps us from growing into a whole person, whereas true love… is the acceptance of the fact that our lover is not perfect and neither are we. We understand that each of us needs to grow, and believe that we can be catalysts for each other’s growth. We can nurture one another, challenge one another and encourage one another. We can help one another become fuller individuals.
I ALWAYS wanted my Beloved to become the person he is capable of becoming, the person he already IS on the inside – not the person anyone else, including I, want him to be. I wanted this even if it meant he would be taken away from me. Nothing in this universe is easier than being YOU – and nothing more difficult than trying to meet everyone else’s expectation of what that should be. This is how we end up taking on more and more personas, putting on more and more masks. But my love for him is not an unrealistic dream-like state, nor an ever- changing, ego-based emotional state. It is the ESSENCE of my being. I see and respect him as the infinite being of love and light that he is, and I truly believe that he can – and should – empower himself to do and feel whatever his heart tells him – regardless of me or anyone else.
Through our talks, I also realised that sometimes it is we who keep ourselves from having this freedom out of some misunderstanding about what our responsibilities really are. We forget that our responsibility should first and foremost be to our Self and to God; and to serve that truly and fully. What we fail to see is that once we do this, we serve All, even those that we think we would hurt if we aligned ourselves with what is within. This does not mean that we should abandon people who have been in our lives for years, but that we should reconsider anything that is no longer serving our growth, and relinquish anything that is not in alignment with what we KNOW inside.
When I tried to understand why he was blowing hot and cold with me, my Beloved again insisted that we were only ever “just friends”; this despite the fact that even after no contact for 3 years, we were still sharing intense, tender, intimate and sensual moments. While yes, it was true that we were close friends and that our friendship meant the world to me, we were so SO much more than this. In fact, we had only ever been platonic friends for about a day or two before we had kissed: a kiss he initiated and which lasted hours, during which time and space stood still as we watched galaxy after galaxy being born in each other’s eyes and where when we finally came up for air we both uttered “Finally!!” simultaneously, as if from one mouth and definitely rising from one heart. Very platonic and “friendly” in deed!
Once again, it all comes down to being true to ourselves. Despite his momentary denials, he had on several occasions admitted that we were more than friends – and I would have had to be daft in the head to believe anything else after the intense spiritual, emotional, mental and PHYSICAL connection we shared during the summer we met – and subsequently. That didn’t however stop him from quickly turning around and denying that he felt anything other than just a “special friendship”, whenever it suited him. It used to confuse and hurt me that he could say something and then so quickly deny it, after all I hadn’t had my spiritual awakening yet and knew nothing about these kinds of dynamics. However as I awakened, I realised that by saying that we were only friends, he was not ready to stand in all of his truth, which included the feelings that he had felt and still feels, for me.
But even he could not hide those deep feelings when we first saw each other after 3 years apart. There are no words to describe the passion, the longing, the love in the way he grabbed me and kissed me with a “I missed you soo much” arising from deep inside his chest. He kissed me as if he had done nothing but anxiously await every single second of those 3 years to do just that; as if my lips held the last drop of water on this planet, or perhaps the nectar of life that he desperately, at the brink of dying, needed. When he later tried to pass it as a “neutral kiss,” I could do nothing but wonder who he thought he was fooling.
I had always known that what we had, what we felt for each other was so unlike anything else we had ever known, with anyone – and he had often confirmed this to me. Maybe that’s why he felt the need to calibrate it and to put it in a box (friend, lover etc) where rules could then be applied to it? It was not easy to understand; in fact it was impossible, and he pushed it aside because he was able to. I did not want to chase him or force him into anything. I did not want to make him feel bad for not seeing it and I would never have made him choose between me and anyone else in his life.
In the final days before I returned home, his behaviour towards me alternated between hot and cold, pushing and pulling. To justify it, he gave me his old speech about not wanting to give me the “wrong impression” and mentioned MY expectations as the reason behind it. This made no sense to me as I had been driven to NY & him by my spiritual awakening, without even knowing why. With time I realised it was never about my expectations but about his fear of what was about to unleash within him if he let himself feel the depth of what was in his heart. As I pleaded with him for some integrity, he eventually talked about an unbreakable bond, a connection, masculine-feminine attraction, passion and unconditional love. He said he wanted to touch me; that the lightest touch of my fingertips felt electric and turned him on. He then admitted that he wanted to take it “to the end of the line” with me but felt like he couldn’t because only a few weeks earlier I had not wanted to see him and he did not know when he would see me again. He asked me whether I would disappear again for another 3 years, or would I double the time. He spoke about his hurt when I had returned to my boyfriend and how he did not want to lose me again.
While it took me years to realise how much he had probably suffered during the time I ran, it also became clear to me from his words that he was still caught up in the illusion of the duality. He knew what he needed to do, he knew his soul but he did not know how to get from A to B, or if he did, fear of change, the fear of letting someone down was paralysing him. Or maybe he was simply being kept from seeing the whole truth?
This was never more clear than when, driving in his car one day, we ended up in the wrong lane approaching a junction. The car came to a halt at the traffic lights. He was nervous, realising he had taken the wrong lane. Despite the fact that the junction at that point was pretty empty and he could have with minimal disruption manoeuvred himself onto the correct lane, we just sat there, with his indicator now indicating completely in the wrong direction. I encouraged him to cross over to the correct lane; the one he KNEW he had to get on to get where he needed to go. He said it was too late to change now, when clearly it wasn’t. He said he realised he had made the wrong choice. He knew what he had to do to fix the situation but unable to make a move, for fear of something, he was now about to take the wrong turn.
The parallel between his life and this moment at the junction was only too clear to both to us while we sat there, and I pointed it out to him. I said it was all happening because he was refusing to deal with the situation here and NOW. I said, why are you doing this, you know that being on this lane is not the right thing to do; and that if you don’t make the necessary changes now, all you will do is end up lost on a road you never wanted to take, as you drive further and further away from where you REALLY needed to be. If you are lucky, maybe one day you will end up back at that same junction and you will get to choose again, who knows. Maybe then you will decide to go where you always knew you need to. He looked at me; nervous, I could see he was torn. He asked me what he should do. We were no longer talking about the junction. I said this is your life. I can tell you what I feel, what I think, what I know you should do, but I cannot do it FOR YOU.
See, co-dependency, attachment, blame games, emotional blackmail; they give you no choice. When we are held in relationships by a perceived “duty” to care-take, or out of guilt, or because it would be a shame to “throw away” a number of years spent together, even when we know that during that time we were not loved the way that we deserve to be loved, then we are no longer choosing love; because True love is just that; a CHOICE. If people can love each other in a mature way, they can make choices. They will not compromise their own feelings and preferences in a hopeless search for approval. They will marry for love and they will marry their equals.
Falling in immature, romantic love requires no effort whatsoever. There is nothing to choose or decide: this kind of love chooses you. It says “I can’t survive without you.” Real love focuses on the will. It involves choices: I can live without you, but I make a choice not to. It says “Life is richer with you.”
It is the greatest feeling in the world and a true experience of freedom: having the most important thing in the world without owning it.