Right answer helps us get what we want

Published: Thursday, January 9, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 9, 2003 at 1:07 a.m.

Much of my mail comes from people who are vacillating about a breakup, struggling to find the "right" answer (for them or for their kids).

If you can't seem to break away from a relationship that seems unhealthy, consider the possibility that you're not trying to break away from a partner at all.

Consider the possibility that you're trying, maybe over and over, to learn a tough lesson, a lesson you need in order to create the intimacy, the passion and the commitment you want.

Ask yourself what you can learn that would empower you to walk away (or make it work).

Maybe you jumped into a relationship before you really knew her. She was, after all, the stunning beauty you'd been looking for all your life. Maybe you know on a core level that her values are too different from yours. But when you start to walk away, you're lured back by those longing eyes.

Maybe you found yourself in the same trap the last time and the time before that when you acted on lust. Intellectually, you know there's a lesson in there. But emotionally, you're not quite ready to accept it. That would mean changing your behavior.

Maybe he's not looking for a commitment, and you keep hoping he'll fall madly in love with you and change his mind. Maybe every time you get slapped in the face with reality, you decide to break it off. And maybe the fear of being alone, along with his charm, slaps you a little bit harder before you finish the break-up speech.

When you look at a staged example, it probably seems clear that what you really want to get over is the fear - and that getting over him will be a natural byproduct of getting over the fear.

If you're afraid of being alone, take heart. There's somebody out there who is going to adore you (besides, there are worse fates than being alone).

I'm not trying to push a lesson on you, but I am suggesting that you ask yourself what you can learn from the relationship.

And I am suggesting that whatever that is will prepare you to make the break and start a healthier relationship, or stay on and live happily ever after (or at least long enough to learn another lesson).

Life is an incredible teacher. We can grow as wise and as loving as we want to, which indeed prepares us to live happily ever after - whether we stay on or break away. There is something miraculous about earnestly opening up to receive the truth.

When we are ready to find the truth - when we are no longer afraid of what it looks like, when we don't want something else more than we want the truth - we sincerely seek it. And when we do, we find it.

We can't really have the love we're looking for without the truth, but that's a tough lesson to learn. No wonder we sometimes have trouble breaking away from relationships that fall short.

We may be holding onto something we don't really have. Letting go can leave us with a truth we're not quite ready to learn or face, but staying leaves us with the same blessed truth.

If you can't seem to break away from what seems to be an unhealthy relationship, ask yourself what you can learn from it. That truth, or that lesson, is waiting to set you free. It's waiting to empower you.

Once you really get the lesson, once you've found the "right" answer, you can create the love you want. You may even decide to stay on and enjoy a healthier relationship.

Jan Denise Soroka is a columnist, author and speaker based in Florida. She invites comments and questions through e-mail at JDSoroka@aol.com; or visit her Web site at www.nakedrelation


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