"How do I stop loving him?"
Yesterday’s Dear Abby got me thinking:
DEAR ABBY: I am 15. Just 18 days before our three-month anniversary of dating, my boyfriend, "Brandon," broke up with me. He was my first love and I am heartbroken. Seeing him having fun with someone else, while I am alone and hurting, is awful. I want to be happy, but I still love
and want him back. Brandon
My friends and my parents all tell me to get over him. I don't want to get over
. I want to know how to get him back. I miss everything we had together. When I think about the fun we had, I break down and cry. What do I do, Abby? I'm miserable without him. How do I stop loving him? -- CRYING IN NEW Brandon JERSEY
Boy, can I relate to this young woman’s problem. Abby went on to give some good practical advice on how to pull herself together. I wanted to share what I learned when I asked God that same question: How do I stop loving him?
Many years ago I fell in love with the perfect guy. So much of the relationship was ideal -- we’d been friends for a long time first, we were interested in the same field, we shared a love of spirituality, he was cute -- I felt like God was smiling on me every time we were together.
But then, it ended -- abruptly. I went into a tailspin. Our paths continued to cross several times each week, so I saw him all the time. But there was now this huge barrier between us; he didn’t even want to be friends any longer. I did Academy Award level acting whenever he was near, and then fell apart in private.
My prayers to get over him went nowhere. I kept fixating on how wonderful he was, what great qualities he had, and how much I missed him. I couldn’t just forget him. So in desperation during one more lonely night at home, I asked God, “How do I stop loving him?”
And the answer was, You don’t.
You don’t ever stop loving him. What you have to do is stop wanting him.
This major ah-ha moment transformed me. I sat in my apartment gazing at the walls, and loved him with all my heart. I paraded all his fine qualities before me and appreciated them. I valued all that he had given me in our time together, and was grateful. I dug deep into the bottom of my heart, and wished him well.
From then on, whenever I thought of him, I loved him. With joy and gratitude, I thought only about all that I knew was good about him. What I stopped doing was wishing obsessively that we were together. I filled my mental space with an unselfish love that demanded nothing in return. I discovered my hurt was entirely a function of my frustration that he wasn’t doing what I wanted him to do. I had been being quite selfish, really.
I began to feel full again. And over time, something interesting happened. As I appreciated his fine qualities more unselfishly, they began to appear again in my life. Other people expressed them to me; in fact, even I expressed them. The goodness I had so firmly attached to the boyfriend was actually everywhere around me. Once I got past wanting him, it turned out I didn’t need him either.
The biggest lesson? Those qualities I so loved in this man come from one divine Source. And, since that Source fills all space, those qualities do as well. As my mom had told me after the end of another relationship, “He [the guy] doesn’t own those qualities.” She knew as I was learning that every good quality is available and unchanging because it comes from divine Spirit, Love, and is spiritual. I’m never cut off from good because God loves me.
I wish I could share this directly with the young woman in
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