And The (Heart) Beat Goes On…

AMY-VAN-NEW-PORTRAIT-NO-TITLE-300x267Every morning I wake up and comb Craigslist’s Missed Connections. I have read every “Modern Love” column, I attend romance conventions, and I read books entitled How to Find and Marry a Man After 35.

I am a professional matchmaker. My entire identity and livelihood is based on the success of other peoples’ love lives. When I go to bed at night, it is with a racing mind. How did Sharon’s date go with Michael? When is Julian going to pop the question to Kate? Then there’s my personal favorite – can I get enough time off of work to attend Jill and Scott’s wedding?

Second hand romance is the air I breathe – so imagine my excitement when I found my own personal “Mr. Right.”

When I saw “Dan” on the street, I immediately targeted him as my type. With a likeness to my celebrity crush, Conan O’Brien, with the intense blue eyes of someone who was no stranger to brooding, and the cutest pair of pale, freckled legs on this side of the BQE, I could tell just by looking at him that he was for me – and rarely am I ever wrong on such matters. So, I grabbed fate by the balls, threw him a friendly wave, and a sassy, feminine cackle: “Hey Boy!”

He never once questioned why a woman he didn’t know would be waving and cackling in his direction. He just smiled and waved back.

I declared that summer as being the last summer I was young.  Wasted on sweat, hormones, cheap polish beer, and the ignorance of youth, our courtship began. We would read each other Henry Miller in the park. He would stalk under my window at night, serenading me with love songs on his accordion with lyrics like, “You are pretty enough to get away with being crazy.”

Over brunch my girlfriends would coo and say, “He is so handsome.” In turn I would proclaim, “And he is the only man I have ever intellectually respected!”

One day while being particularly buzzy on said cheap polish beer, I sat on the ground, glared at him, and grittily snarled, “I love you.” He smiled, picked me up off of the ground and said, “Do you want to move in together?”

He was my knight. He came into my kingdom of dive bars and rescued me from boys who dwindled in prolonged states of adolescence with ironic mustaches, redundant poetry majors, and crappy bands.

Flash forward four years later, things were in stasis. We had two adorable dogs, a condo in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and satisfying careers. Every morning he would wake up first to make the coffee. We would spend holidays with his family, and for the first time in my life, I had a family. When my grandmother was passing away, he slept by my feet while I held her hand. We quit smoking. We picked up smoking again. He supported me when I decided to quit my day job. We worked out.  He never complained when he found my toothbrush in the fridge. When the cold of January was too much, he bought us tickets to a beach front resort in Mexico. He never forgot to tell me I was beautiful. I jokingly told him I would marry him if he found me an ancient Egyptian scarab ring. A week later he found one on Ebay. He was a feminist. He was handsome. He was getting better with age.

But, on every New Year’s day, my silent resolution was to figure out a way to negotiate my wild bohemian spirit with his strong, salt of the earth, loyal, midwestern values.

During coaching sessions I would tell my clients, “It’s not about falling in love. Who would want to fall into anything? Love is something you do. It is a verb. Or even better (I would exclaim), it is a question! How am I loving you? Do you feel loved?”

Somewhere along the way Dan lost himself, and I filled the growing empty space with my narcissism.  When I realized I was no longer really in it, I did what every good woman does – I committed to making it work.

In November I came up with a plan. I would invite him to join me in Italy, in beautiful ancient Rome. I rededicated myself to my perpetual New Year’s resolution. My heart would reawaken, away from the noise of New York. I envisioned us in the ancient catacombs, sitting nose to nose, suspended beyond time and space, floating together and drifting back into that mystical state of  being “in love.”

But the first day he arrived in Rome – to his horror and to my surprise – I looked at my perfect boyfriend, and calmly ended it.

My friends thought I was insane. Their concerns were even more punctuated by the fact that I am a woman living in New York City – a city experiencing a severe shortage of good men, and a city overwrought with beautiful, brilliant women. My only regret was that it took me a year to break up with him.

I imagine the break up was hard on him because it seemed to have come out of left field. He was so busy loving me that he forgot to notice if he was feeling loved. And me – my head was so far up my own ass that my only concern was whether or not I was willing to do something that could hurt him. But that’s the thing – my vacant autopilot shell of a heart was not doing this man any favors.

Because I respected him, the only loving thing I could do was to let him go.

We live in a culture that values making it work. And that’s all fine and great, as long as you make sure that you are making it work with- not the right person, but the right person for you.

I have since met someone who sets me ablaze. He is comfortable with my wild banshee ways, and I find myself able to sit nose to nose with him for long periods of time, suspended in those cherished mystical states.

Personal intuition and science are telling me that these “mystical states” are caused by pheromones released during sex. It is said that on average, pheromones last around two years. This is because evolutionarily, that’s how long it ought to take for a woman to become impregnated, and for the baby to have a father around long enough to survive the harsh conditions of infancy.

But, I am not going to have kids, and after these love hormones run their course, I will likely be alone again. And that is more than fine by me. Not everyone is looking for the one.

My hope for Dan is that he doesn’t let the temporary bitterness and confusion of our break up condition him into being anything other than the perfect, loving person he truly is. His capacity to love is a gift, and one that deserves to be shared with someone who can return it.

And while it is unlikely, I hope that years down the line, if he ever needs a good matchmaker, he knows who to call. I also hope he knows that the matchmaking fees are on me. After all, he is the man who taught me everything I know about romance.

Yours,

Amy Van Doran

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Amy Van Doran is a professional matchmaker and relationship coach specializing in facilitating modern romance for extraordinary New Yorkers. Connect with Amy via her website, Twitter and Facebook.

 

  • Strong1978

    I am not sure how I feel about this article. I was left by someone similar for the same reasons and am STILL highly confused by his actions….especially because we were married for a year.  Isn’t a lack of capacity to love a block to becoming your highest self? I suppose it if were me, I would want to figure out why I could not maintain love with a person (that I loved) for the rest of my life. Of course, no judgment being passed, I do believe some people just don’t desire marriage and that is ok. Just interesting, is all, and I am very curious to hear other’s thoughts on this….

    • I wanted to reply to you b/c I could relate to Amy’s post and am probably one of those people who you don’t get.  Lol…. Here’s my thing:  It’s not about blocking love.  It’s about loving MORE!  Committing to spend the rest of your life with one person isn’t a GREATER way to love than having several shorter-term relationships, which are each loving relationships too. 

      I was with a guy the past 2 years, who was a NICE, good-hearted guy.  We lived together and we lived WELL together.  We got along.  We had similar interests.  I did love him.  And IN that love, I want what’s best for him.  I also want what’s best for me.  It got to where I was only with him b/c I didn’t want to hurt him by leaving (b/c he’s such a good guy).  I finally ended it (just about 2 months ago in fact).  Probably like you, he was confused by my actions. 

      You talk about a lack of capacity to love…. at least for me that’s not the case at all.  And I didn’t get that impression from Amy either.  Your bf… I don’t know… 
      To me, sometimes moving on IS the most loving act you can do.  Letting someone go.  Not staying with someone just b/c you’re with them now, things are “pretty good” and they’re a good person.  If they don’t light you up, inspire you, help you to grow and become a better person… then, in my opinion, it’s better to move on. 
      It’s about loving YOURSELF enough to honor your own spirit.  Even if that means walking away from relationships that *seem* perfect. 

      I know you’re not being judgmental, as you said.  I hope you don’t take my response as “slamming” you in any way.  I just thought I could offer some insight on the “other” people out there who don’t necessarily want to be married, and who might prefer short-term relationships.  I say “might” b/c I am open to a life-long relationship.  I just don’t want to settle.  And so far in my 35 years of life, I haven’t found anyone who I WANT to devote the rest of my life to. What I have found is an array of individuals who I needed in my life at the time.  I learned from each of my relationships.  Life, to me, is about personal growth.  Sometimes people can continue to grow with one person, when they’re growing together, but oftentimes people grow apart and need to move on. 

      Alright, this response as gotten wayy longer than I expected.  I just appreciated your comment and felt compelled to reply.  🙂   It seems there are 2 types of people… people like you (and my ex-bf) who are perfectly content picking a person they love and staying with them forever.  And people like me (and your ex-bf) who feel the need to move on after a period of time.  Will I ever change?  I have no idea.  Honestly, I’m kind of interested to find out. 

      Sarah
      http://beyouliveyourdream.blogspot.com/2013/03/do-your-actions-match-your-values.html

  • Madisonabraham

    I understand why you let Dan go, he wasn’t the one for you. However, it’s a little off-putting to me that a matchmaker, who promotes long-lasting love, believes that love will never last for her. I think that it’s a good thing to understand that love may come and go, until you find the right person for you. But to go into every relationship expecting to fall out of love, isn’t that kind of setting yourself up for failure? Why not ride what you’re feeling, and hope you’re building toward forever? 

     I liked reading this blog, however I think you may want to evaluate why you allow your feelings to shut off for others at a certain point in a relationship. Being single and fabulous is a great life choice, as long as it’s for the right reasons!

    Love and light,

    M

    • friend

       I absolutely agree with you. There was something about her justification that somehow turned me off. Although I am all for letting someone go if you are just not in love I also believe that a long lasting healthy relationship can exist beyond what she thinks her biology will do two years into the relationship.
      If the stories are true and she did indeed cheat and rely financially on her ex-boyfriend then I see a woman who is confused about her own capacity to love. It does not surprise me at all that she is a matchmaker.
      Most people must teach what they themselves must learn.

       

  • Rj661232

    Ms. Van D0ran’s confessional is an interesting piece of self-hate, egocentric reflection and pseudointellectualism. To answer Strong1978’s question, I believe the author has to love herself before she can love and maintain that love with someone else. Unfortunately for her she does not have that relationship with herself. I hope Dan is ok, but Ms. Van Doran did him a favor. He should stay as far away from her as possible. The matchmaker needs counseling and if she cares about the second gentleman she should give him a head’s up and send him a link to this article.

    • RJ,
      I want to challenge your belief that someone isn’t loving themselves when they end relationships.  Staying with one person for the rest of your lives, and working on the relationship in order to make that happen isn’t any greater than letting people go and moving on, if/when you feel that that’s what you need to do for your own growth and happiness.  What’s wrong with that?  I think Amy most definitely DOES have a relationship with herself.  A good one.  She’s true to herself.  She doesn’t settle, and isn’t going to just b/c it’s what our society tells us we should do. 
      Not everyone wants to get married.  Personally, I’m open to marriage, and to a life-long romantic relationship, but it’s going to take an amazing person for me to want to marry him and give the rest of my life to him.  Until that happens, I, like Amy, will continue to move on, let go, grow, and learn. 

      • ricky

        “It will take an amazing person for you to want to get married” ??? How about YOU try to be an amazing person.
        Both you and Amy find ways ways to justify self-centered behavior. Amy clearly was in that relationship for her won selfish needs, and when she had enough, she justified it. Gross.

  • Sassafrass

    What if the concept of loving one person forever and having that be enough is a concept that is actually unlikely? There are few species that mate for life.. There are compelling reasons what many other societies do not marry for love, they marry for expedience, and it works well. No one can fulfill you but you. With that said, no matter what relationship you are in, you owe it to be present and loving.

  • I love this!  Amy, I love your refreshing honesty!  You know who you are and you accept yourself!  That’s awesome! 

    I also related to you in a lot of ways.  I, too, have wondered if I WANT to find “that person” who I settle down with for the rest of our lives.  I, too, recently broke up with a GOOD guy b/c I wanted to live alone again.  Granted, we had issues, but we were working on them, and on the whole, things were good b/t us.  We rarely fought and we lived together quite easily. Yet, I knew I had to move on.  I WANTED to move on.  I DON’T want to “settle down.”  I love living life all out, doing as much as I possibly can that calls to my heart.  Relationships are no different.  I LIKE meeting new people.  I like the hope, just before you go out or meet someone new, that *maybe* I’ll meet someone I really connect with.  And then when you do, it’s totally amazing. 

    Of course, I know there’s a chance I might meet someone who is SO amazing that I WANT to “settle down” with them.  So be it.  I’ll welcome that if it comes.  But if not, I’m done feeling like I “have to settle down” b/c that’s what our society tells us.  I’m 35, single, never married, never engaged, and have no children.  I have a house I love.  And animals all around me that I love.  And I’m doing what I love.  Life is good!

    “My head was so far up my own ass that my only concern was whether or not I was willing to do something that could hurt him. But that’s the thing – my vacant autopilot shell of a heart was not doing this man any favors.”
    Before I go, I have to comment on this part of your post.  I laughed b/c I can SOO relate to this.  It was me too.  The only thing, towards the end, that kept me with my boyfriend, was that I didn’t want to hurt him.  As if he couldn’t be just fine without me.  As if my just being with him was a great service to him.  Jeez.  He was also hurt when I ended things, and didn’t see it coming.  But I know it was for his best interest, as well as mine. 

    Sarah
    http://beyouliveyourdream.blogspot.com/2013/03/do-your-actions-match-your-values.html

  • Malnicoll

    Interesting article I think we can all relate to in some way or another. I agree on the whole with Rj661232’s observations. My gut feeling is that she’s somewhat narcissistic. Heck…I’ve been pretty narcissistic at times myself. I’ve also been in that  guy Dan’s situation where a woman I was madly in love with ran off with another man, and it hurt like a mo-fo! Still feel the sting after 13 years. Looking back now, I see it as a blessing. I just think of all the wonderful, soul-enriching and fantastic life experiences I would’ve missed out on. From that wound a lovely flower grew.
    That said, I enjoyed this article and I commend the author on this article as there’s something in it many of us can identify with. Pretty sure, however, I would not choose her as a matchmaker. 
    If you don’t love yourself, what’s the use of someone else loving you? 

  • Beth

    I think Sarah nailed it on the head when she said: “What I have found is an array of individuals who I needed in my life at the time.”  Who she NEEDED, huh?  There’s nothing about co-creating a relationship or mutual support of each other’s paths – just narcissistic needs being met… Not the level of maturity I’d hope for in an adult relationship. 

    Amy’s post certainly does not match the ideas of taking responsibility and love being a giving as well as taking endeavor that Mastin seems to teach – a poor choice for this site.

  • Rj661232

    I wanted to respond to Sarah’s take on my response to what now appears to be partly a work of fiction by Ms. Van Doran in light of FB 1222’s comment. There was something about the article that didnt pass the smell test and with the light shed by FB, we now know the rest of the story. Although I did not say it this morning, I thought just as Beth did , that this was the antithesis of the message that I have come to know from the Daily Love.

    I do not hold the belief that a person is not self loving because they end a relationship, or are not inclined to marry. And of course a person should not stay in a relationship when they are unhappy. . The short story we read depicts a woman who is only out for herself and when
    in the relationship with Dan spouts off the litany of nice or wonderful things  he did for her. When that got tired or boring, the author packed up her exploitation machine and moved on. I think it was common parlance back in the day to call that person a “user”. The rest of the article about Dan is patronizing and condescending. Toxic stuff.

    If there is any debate about this, Ms. Van Doran removes all doubt in discussing victim #2. He sets her ablaze but alas that fire will be extinguished when those love hormones have run their course. And she’s good with this? She says she is but its hard to believe that she really believes this in her heart.  Katherine Hepburn was once quoted as saying that “Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get only with what you are expecting to give which is everything.” Wise advice that the matchmaker should ponder and teach.

  • Kara

    This article
    was good for me to read as a partner of mine after 13 years, seemingly out of
    the blue almost 2 years ago, divorced me right as we were about to start trying
    for a baby and realize the dreams and goals we’d both been moving toward. He was
    out of my life completely within a month; oh we had our issues and another
    woman was on the horizon, but the blow was devastating. Of course, as always, there
    were signs, times when there was a lack of commitment from him and this article
    has given me an even deeper appreciation, because I’ve had the time to review
    and reflect, for his decision to move on. I was not the one and since then he
    has found a love and about to become a father, something he always expressed
    his fear about with me; that he didn’t want to have kids until waaay down the
    road, maybe it was just with me. That’s ok. But I appreciate that he left me,
    more for him, it wasn’t that we didn’t share a deep spiritual connection, we
    always had, he still said that upon our departure, but obviously there was
    something inside him for years that said we weren’t right for each other. I
    felt differently. But we were both committed. The unfortunate part is that he
    did not express what his truth was during times within our relationship and
    even in the end. Of course I knew when he was holding back, you get to know a
    person almost as much as you know yourself in that many years, and I had adapted
    and in doing so also held back some of my truth. All for what? Our commitment?
    The love and friendship we had for each other? Comfort? Our commonalities that
    hadn’t changed? What is bigger picture in this experience? I applaud Amy’s
    comment about working on and committing to a relationship that is ‘GOOD’ for
    you; and that is a question we all need to ask ourselves, continually. No one
    is worth ‘dumping’ and no one is worth ‘dumping’ on you.

    We come into
    the world with our first relationship actually being with our mother and/or
    father or caregiver, we don’t even know ‘I’ yet, but we begin a relationship
    with ourselves later and for the rest of our lives. We are relationship-driven
    people, to whatever extent we need, we are biologically and chemically
    induced-action-oriented people too, no doubt and it’s there for a reason.
    Oxytocin is released in the brain between mother and child during breastfeeding;
    it’s also released between male and females when attracted and is what is
    behind feelings of love, protection, survival, procreation and parenting and to
    bind people together- some of those relationships we know are for life! It
    is true as we grow we continue to search for those same chemical reactions,
    hence the dire importance of a healthy childhood and parents. Is love really
    just a chemical? I’d venture to say yes but also no. Come on, we are still
    co-creators in this world and have learned we can even change our own
    bio-chemical makeup, do we or don’t we have the ability to understand our
    nature and grow!? Why do we come to read The Daily Love if not? We are bound by
    nature and the awareness of it. We are ever conscious of this fact. We cannot
    deny our actions because we fall back on ‘oh it’s just nature’ nor can we
    naively believe we aren’t nature. Beyond science though, really, let’s just be
    honest with ourselves, when the proverbial drug has run its course, IT’S GONE,
    do we keep using it then? Maybe we try to keep getting high, but it doesn’t
    work, so we move on to the next similar high. 
    But people aren’t drugs. If you’re only staying with those that you
    connect to because of chemicals, I’m not saying it is wrong at all and you can
    grow too; but are you starting the relationship on the same page and awareness?
    Recognize if you are choosing people as a drug, whether that drug=love or that
    drug=right now; it will run its course, however long that is, then what is
    left? Love? Nothing? Nothing left to learn? Are you only choosing to learn from
    people that get you high? Could you find love and learn and grow from someone
    who doesn’t get you high? Has your love for someone grown beyond the initial
    high? A long-lasting love is different than a high but can re-ignite; it may
    have not started with a high or maybe it did, but you realize you also have to
    feed chemicals, that kind of love takes work. I’ve experienced all this with people
    and I’ve experienced that love can also be overshadowed by other highs and
    experiences. Love may not last a lifetime, but if you want it and someone else
    does too, then there’s nothing wrong with that. We all have to decide what we
    live for and how we view life and others. Let’s just be honest with what is
    really happening and what we truly are looking to gain in our relationships.
    Yes, we are the only ones who can make us happy and fulfilled.

    In Amy’s
    article she mentions here biggest regret is taking a year to break it off.
    There are HUGE lessons just in that statement. What information do we hold back
    upon initially meeting someone we find may be relationship material for us?
    Sure our baggage, sure maybe things we can’t and shouldn’t divulge to someone
    we first meet and have yet to really establish evidence that they are a
    trustworthy person for us. We keep certain and correct boundaries. But what of
    the other information, maybe we fear it is a deal breaker? A deal breaker for
    either wanting a year relationship or a 25 year relationship… Have we come to terms
    so fully with the way we want to live our lives that we truly express it to
    those we want ‘something’ from, express it to someone we get a ‘high’ from? Do
    we express ourselves fully to trustworthy individuals whom we don’t experience
    an initial ‘high’ from? From fear, from protection? Do we tell the person what
    we are today, to explore… “I like living alone, I’m open to a long-term
    relationship but really like short-term relationships because I feel I grow
    more that way, I don’t want to get married but it’s possible if the right
    person came around I would, I don’t want children, I do want children, I may
    want children.” Do we fully divulge who we are today; we don’t know the
    future, but we have ideas, no? Do we tell the person what we are thinking and feeling
    today, to explore… “I am having doubts about us” 1, 2, 5 years down the
    road, “the magic I feel we had isn’t there for me anymore (was there a time
    sooner in the relationship it was but it was dissipating-did you speak), I had
    a thought today maybe I want to be alone”… Do we say things in the moment as
    they occur to us? Do we wait to express this way down the road when a larger
    hurt is possible, when the other person maybe hit from left field? Sometimes it
    is truly impossible to know even exactly what feeling or thought is touching
    you until later and we can always change our minds too. We must discern these
    thoughts and feelings in the relationship we have with ourselves first. Do we
    truly explore before we enter a relationship and during it, openly, honestly? I
    question this from some of the comments in these posts. I’d venture to say that
    withholding information until either you can’t take it or trying to find the
    right time or such is deceitful and harmful not only to the other person but to
    yourself. The folly of this has been mine too, not just my X, many of us make
    mistakes and learn, but must grow from them.

    I’m not
    saying we aren’t entitled to our thoughts, to contemplate them on our own
    before expressing them. But the fact of the matter is we want a relationship,
    are moving into one, or have been in one, and just as in our own relationship
    to our self, we have a duty to be open and honest as things arise, as the
    moment arises, in the present. To be there through the hurt just as we’ve been
    there through the passion and love and remain open and not closed off and run
    right after we’ve hurt the other person, the running may hint at something too.
    I’m not saying sometimes, depending if there is violence or the like, that you
    shouldn’t cut and run, I’m just saying what can you do to still be giving as
    you were when you were receiving from that person. If you’re not receiving what
    you needed in the relationship, I don’t mean still give as you did before, I
    just mean, give as any individual would do for another being in pain, out of
    compassion, likewise if you’re the one being left, acknowledge the bravery and
    boundary set by the other person. Both are entitled to all feelings that arise.
    Of course a relationship is always “give and receive” and it works both ways
    and it is not a relationship if one is only giving or one is only receiving. It
    is a responsibility we have as an evolved, aware, socially-survival-dependent,
    relationship-oriented, species.

    There are
    actually many animals that do mate for life, wolves, bald eagles, even
    termites, swans, doves, and yes it may be they do it for the survival of the
    pack or maybe even love, we don’t fully know,… ever heard a widowed wolf morn,
    ever see the love and care and fear a squirrel or beaver has for its pup or a
    female dolphin pack mate with the same male and then quickly leave the dude? Many
    animals don’t mate for life, but they do have relationships and are dependent
    on those as well. The point is we are an amazing culmination of all of it. To
    declare one way right from the other, or that love isn’t felt in certain
    relationships is really a misnomer… We have to accept that just as with the
    multitude of species on this planet, human needs and wants and desires are just
    as many and we honor our unique lives and individual selves as ok and just, when
    we honor the expression of another’s life when we meet them with openness,
    honesty, allowing possibility. Possibility is lost in shadows.

    You may hurt
    but please don’t harm.

    I wasn’t
    prepared to write an article but I guess I’ve learned a lot from a very rough
    experience, so even with all that said so much can be gained from harsh
    experiences, lol… But I wouldn’t judge and ever tell someone else, when there
    is absolutely no way I could have basis to, that this is best for you. I can only
    know what’s best for me and try and do the best for others.

     

    • Strong1978

      Kara-My experience is so similar to yours, except you were with your husband for a lot longer than I. I am currently going through a divorce because my husband changed his mind about having kids, right when we started trying. Some days I wonder if it was me he didn’t feel comfortable being with, or if he truly does not want kids. Either way, it is SUCH a tough blow. I am now 35, and have no idea if kids are in my future, which I so badly want. How did you deal with this blow and how do you view relationships now? I am struggling so much…want to move on with my life but feel like my true love is gone.  I know time will help but wanted to get your thoughts on the healing process:) Thank you in advance!

      • Kara

         

        Hi
        Strong1978,

        Words can never
        convey everything. I’ll risk saying more, I want to share. I appreciate the discussion.

        Losing a
        loved one can be a big blow; my X was my best friend and I loved, love him very
        much. I think divorce and break up are important life events just as marriage is. 30’s seem to come with its own unique trials and latent gifts; these years you find you are much more aware of the ‘time clock;’ especially
        if you want children and were right on the cusp of fulfilling that dream. At
        least that is what I experienced. I know it is so painful my love. It will get easier.
        Time allows pain to heal, but healing also takes much care and hard work. The
        amount of work and what that entails is different for everyone and the amount
        of time it takes is also different for everyone, there are no rules. The fact
        is when you’re in it, it hurts, I know, it’s hard to see a rainbow, I know.

        I don’t know
        all you are going through or circumstances, we all come from way different experiences and things to go through at different times in our lives, so I can only go on my experience, I don’t know all the answers, I wish I did, that’s always a humbling reality.
        For me, I had to
        TAKE time even when time felt like it was running out! I had to let myself feel
        all the feelings I experienced, really own them, and not judge them or myself! I
        had to find time to be alone yet not isolate. I did a ceremony to say goodbye and
        invited close friends to be a part of it. Sometimes losing a loved one may feel very much like losing someone to the
        earth. For me, it felt that way, in a blink, he was gone, without much explanation, no
        closure, he had moved on before we divorced. But who’s innocent. There is no need for defense. I had to let go of blame and shame on both sides; but I held to accountability and
        boundaries on both sides too. I had to keep myself from getting stuck in story, recognize reactive behavior, keep moving, move on, and ground myself in the now. Its a process. We all deal differently, some may be able to move one more swiftly, differently, and that is wonderful, it took me a lot of time.

        For me, I had to do a lot of self, tough love. I had to find my own closure through the confusion, the why’s, and
        newly empty space. I had to see and find an updated dream. I see it as a broken
        heart now – just like a broken ankle, you wouldn’t use your ankle right away, you’d bandage your ankle and be gentle with it, caring, stay off it for a while, maybe don’t use your heart right away in a new relationship. We humans frequently
        do that.  Some feelings can start to grow like bacteria, so change
        your heart bandage regularly, check in on it, it will sting a little, but I think it helps rough scarring and numbing. You’ll heal and before you know it the bandage will come off for good! Sometimes
        there’s a period of rehabilitation, I had to let that happen too, like in physical
        therapy, I had to see it through, it can be weak at first, but love starts to grow with use again. I had to stay acutely aware, talked to confidants inside and outside my sphere. Talked with those who’d been through the same. I read, journaled, found creative outlets. I had to go through levels of radical forgiveness for both of us but I haven’t forgotten; I’m not sure if you ever do or should, but the memory is less sticky and good memories seem to follow. Forgiveness and gratitude have been graces. I had to be really patient with myself. I went on a long road trip to national parks, found beauty again. I spent a lot of time
        early on, meditating, trying on life scenarios in my mind, learning to allow
        myself to accept new unknowns and decide what I’d do to be okay, it was easier
        than the present, I also reviewed previous times in my life I had to be okay
        with things and what I did, it allowed me to come back to the present
        circumstance with a renewed sense of strength for the now, acceptance, and
        gratitude. I had to find every possible positive thing in it I
        could till it make made me sick! Lol. I had to find courage to go through
        the muck and states of limbo.  You’ll be okay being alone again, joking and
        laughing too, it will all come with time and perseverance. This is what I’ve
        done. It was my experience. You’ll be okay with right now again too. I fully believe it!

        I haven’t met
        a new love that wants children yet but I did find I was able to love again. I
        too thought I may never feel love for another or loved by another so profoundly. The
        event has changed my life dramatically. It is amazing all that a heart can
        hold!!! Truly. I dearly wanted to be a mother, it’s just my personal nature, I
        still work with many fears and I ideally would like my child or children to
        have two parents and I would love to spend my life with a partner in crime, so
        that is what I dream and what I work towards. I know, like maybe you, there are
        others similar to me, and they are out there too. Risking
        love is a great risk! I believe there are all kinds of relationships and believe
        you should try and chose to move towards the ones you truly
        authentically need and aspire for, today, leap.

        I remembered
        these articles after I wrote this, so for you and those who are a long, lasting
        relationship, kinda person, here are a few really, really good articles (the
        first one is really important for all I think) and many more on the website
        too for all kinds of relationships and ideas on it:

        http://integrallife.com/integral-post/8-delusions-may-be-infecting-your-relationship

        http://integrallife.com/integral-post/freedom-through-intimacy

        http://integrallife.com/integral-post/attracting-our-beloved

        http://integrallife.com/integral-post/keeping-touch-when-were-out-touch

         

        It may have
        been a dream for you to have children with that particular person, but beyond
        your relationship with him, it sounds that it was and still is ‘your’ dream. It
        is your dream whether it was shared or not with your husband. Your dream doesn’t have to go with him…. If it resonates with you, make time to heal first; keep checking in with your heart, listen, and be alert about
        your personal readiness, no one else’s. Your dream is still
        possible. Explore. Be open to however your dream may
        manifest; but spend your energy believing and working towards your personal dream.

        Dear, I’ve
        written a whole bunch again! I hope some is useful. I love writing but wish I
        could say things more simply sometimes, but it’s me I guess.

        Much love to you!!!
         

  • A secure base

    I commend you for being honest about what you want right now in this moment.  And I think that’s OK.  I am now thinking of the movie “Take this Waltz”….  though there the protagonist in my opinion had a reason to leave her solid, loving chicken cooking hubby for the exciting artist next door.  And the reason is she did not have a motive, a passion, a reason for being.  She felt empty and that emptiness was filled with new exciting love.  The same applied to the artist.  He was looking for something. And so they crashed into each other.  A maelstrom of need.  Meanwhile the chicken cooking hubby accepted this loss and carried on, and did not take her back.  Why, he was fulfilled  It may have looked small, a passion for cookbooks, but it filled his days with purpose and drive.  I myself would like to be more like Seth Rogen in that movie than Michelle Williams, and am trying to find a way to really fill myself up, so my current relationship is there as a source and recipient of love and a supporting secure base for exploration.  Getting there…

  • Author’s postscript: 

    It has been 3 months after I originally wrote this, many things have changed/ manifested/ moved forward in my personal life. 

    This morning, I woke up and thought of this post, and looked at someone who I could imagine loving for a very long time. And thought, “Let this be the person that makes me stand corrected!  How wonderful it is to be wrong!” And then I thought, if this person ever decides that this love is not nutritive to his development or happiness, let him feel free enough to move on. 

    I deeply appreciate everyone’s comments, and the fact that this piece evokes such polarizing thoughts and discussion.

    What I love about blogging for The Daily Love, is that it celebrates the individual’s journey towards self realization and authenticity. Some of the comments directed personally at me, did really hurt, and I would like to say that every person’s journey is different, and we all explore our feelings differently. At the end of the day, what I wrote was an earnest expression of how I felt at a fleeting moment of time, and have no regrets in sharing. But, I do encourage anyone who leaves hateful comments to understand that the condemnation of other people’s self expression can be castrating to creativity! 

    There is nothing more profound, beautiful, or important in this world that a person can experience than love. 

    My justification in sharing this piece was to share an alternative to the script: we met, we fell in love, the end. 

    Humans are flawed, life is complicated, and I have yet to hear of a break up that wasn’t messy. 

    Making it work is crucial to the success of anything relationship, and a super important lesson. But, the lesson that I had to learn from my last relationship was learning the courage to let something go that had passed. 

    To limit love, to judge love, or to hold the shell of love in a place where it once was honors nothing. 

    I leave you with this clip of performance artist Marina Abramovic being reunited with her past love.

    To me it perfectly, wordlessly, illustrates the pain of transience, the beauty of love, and the understanding that the hurt from love lost can only be reconciled with time. 

    http://zengarage.com.au/2013/03/marina-abramovic-and-ulay/

    Yours in romance & earnest exploration, 
    Amy Van Doran 

    • Wow this is really powerful. I haven’t read all the comments, but I can imagine it would provoke a firestorm from that frightened aspect of our being that cringes in the midst of life’s uncompromising messiness. I applaud you for sharing a non-standard happy ending. And there is a happy ending here once people open their hearts to the possibility that happy endings don’t always require two people walking together into a sunset. Every moment we’re still alive to witness the unending wonder of Planet Earth is a happy ending in itself. 

      I personally hope to spend a lifetime with one partner. But we’ve all gotta walk our own paths, and no one path fits all. There’s certainly no guarantee my desired path will be the one I walk. So far it hasn’t been. It’s all an unfathomable mystery. Who knows, you might someday be surprised to wake up having just spent the last 40 years with one man. Maybe not. Doesn’t matter, really. I think being thrilled by life’s moment-by-moment mystery is the key to enjoying a happy ending every moment day, no matter if you’re sitting next to the love of your entire life or just chilling on the porch in blissful solitude. We’re each of us always alone in the world of our own thoughts, anyway, no?

      Joseph Campbell wrote, “It’s important to live life with a knowledge of its mystery and of your own mystery. It gives life a new zest, a new balance, a new harmony.”Thanks, Amy. I enjoyed reading your story. Nice style. Bryan.

  • MrSkippy

    Interesting
    blog article. I should note three points:

     

    1.
    A matchmaker’s job is not to partake in the relationship of her clients, give
    guidance on how to stay in a relationship or to get two people together for the
    purpose of them staying together forever. Her job is merely to introduce two
    people who are right for each other in that moment. Whatever happens after that
    is solely up to the two parties involved. That being said, a matchmaker’s love
    life has nothing to do with her clients’ love lives. Everyone is unique and
    wants something different from a relationship. The fact that a matchmaker does
    not want to get married does not devalue her talent for pairing up compatible
    people. 

     

    2.
    Everyone is entitled to hold their own opinion on the events that occur in
    their lives/relationships. This is obviously Amy’s take on what
    occurred in her relationship and I am sure “Dan” has his own
    experience that may appear to be the complete opposite. Neither experience
    should be dismissed as no two people ever have the same experience of a shared
    event therefore rendering each person’s experience equally as valid. 

     

    3. Amy is proclaiming that she believes that the romantic stage only
    lasts for 2 years and that after this phase she is ok with moving on to a new
    romantic partner. She is entitled to have that view as this is her life. Maybe
    her new partner believes in the same thing or maybe he believes that romance
    dies after 6 months. Regardless of what he thinks, this is what she wants for
    herself at this present moment. Who knows, in two years she may change her mind
    and crave a different type of romantic relationship that is not just based on
    pheromones or she may feel that these pheromones last longer than she expected.
    Either way, she is clearly living in the moment and if that is what she wants
    for her life, then so be it. We are all on a quest to find happiness and to
    make ourselves happy, why should she not be afforded that same luxury?

     

    Just
    my two cents…

  • mvp123

    I know Amy Van Doran in person too. She had sex with my boyfriend. She completely betrayed me. Obviously my boyfriend is in the wrong too, but Amy makes her living as some kind of love expert, meanwhile she’s just a liar and a cheater. Thank you for sharing your comment. I wish more people knew the truth. I’m totally unsurprised to hear that she cheated on Dan after taking his money. What a selfish fraud.