Thursday, July 21, 2005

"How do I stop loving him?"

Yesterday’s Dear Abby got me thinking:

TEEN IS BROKENHEARTED OVER HER LOST FIRST LOVE

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 Brandon and want him back.

My friends and my parents all tell me to get over him. I don't want to get over Brandon. 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 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.

Huh?

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 New Jersey. She’s in my prayers today, along with anyone else out there who is feeling cut off from good. Love is there, healing the hurt, giving you all good continually.


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17 Comments:

At 7/22/2005 03:04:00 PM, Blogger karen gsteiger said...

Hey Laura,

I'm finally stopping by your blog...sorry it's taken so long! I really identify with this post...there have been a LOT of unsuitable loves in my life. Lots of unrequited this and that. It's so true that one's goal should be not wanting them as opposed to not loving them. I'll always love those silly boys, but I'm a lot happier not pining after them. When I look at the situation with clear eyes, I can say, "Yep, and that's exactly why he was wrong for me..."

Have a great day!

Karen

 
At 1/14/2007 11:47:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this insightful message. I have a similar problem. I will pray that I can find a way to practice what you have said here. Thanks again. -R.

 
At 3/31/2007 10:55:00 AM, Anonymous Still In Love said...

Wow that gave me such hope in moving on. I just six weeks ago became single and have been trying to do anything in my power to change his mind. TRying to find what it took to get him back. Spending time with him knowing that he did not feel the same way. Now realizing that i was being selfish and making it harded on me. I need to find the power to let him go and find my time somewhere else. I will always love him and cherrish the amazing times that we shared. I am now being greateful that god let me share that moment in time with him.


Slowly moving on in Boston, Ny

 
At 9/19/2007 01:48:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

PLEASE DON'T GIVE THIS A** HOLE ANY MORE OF YUR TIME BECAUSE HE IS NOT WORTH IT CHECK THIS OUT, HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO FEEL LIKE YOUR A WORTHLESS PIECE OF SHIT WHEN YOUR BOYFRIEND CHEITED ON YOU AND BRAGGED ABUOT IT IN YOUR FACE WELL THATS WHAT MY BOYFRIEND TRIED TO DO TO ME
BUT LITTLE DID HE KNOW THAT I HAVE MORE SELF ESTEEM THAN THAT AND I DROPPED HIM LIKE A BAD HABIT SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO JUST LOOK AT YOURSELF AND SEND LOVE TO YOURSELF TO FEEL ANY LOVE AT ALL BABY GIRL I DON'T HAVE ALL THE ANSWER BECAUSE I'M STILL HURTING MYSELF BUT BEST BELIEVE THAT I'M NOT GOING TO PLAY NOBODIES FOOL I LOVE ME!!!!!!

 
At 9/20/2007 07:33:00 AM, Blogger Laura said...

thanks for your strength, and for your support! glad to know you're standing tall.

Laura
@}-->--

 
At 4/24/2008 12:02:00 AM, Anonymous Izzy said...

That really helped me.
I love my ex Mario with all my heart as well, but I have to just love him and stop wanting him..
Being selfless like that is hard but I can do it. I know I can.
Thanks again. You rock.

-Isabelle

 
At 4/26/2008 06:27:00 PM, Blogger Laura Matthews said...

Isabelle, thanks for your note. I'm glad the ideas helped.... keep me posted on your progress!

Warmly,
Laura

 
At 4/27/2008 02:45:00 PM, Blogger franny said...

i will try..several years on of listening to promises and sweet words and being let down too many times..but it makes me feel so weak and vulnerable to show him my love and to know he cannot return it..but i see how it will lighten things and open room for more good .. I guess its something i shall have to learn...cos i wish this feeling would just go away..or at least come back less often xxx

 
At 12/11/2009 04:10:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for the advice... really touched. i believe only thing we need here is courage and faith. goodluck

 
At 3/22/2010 07:45:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi my name is Kristen im 15 years old and me and my boyfriend have been going out for a year now. Im not one to be in long relationships because i dont want to get hurt, but i can say i fell for this one. The problem is, i dont want to love, because im scared ill get hurt. Im usually the one who dasent fall deap and the guy falls deap for me, and i usually break up with them because i dont like long relationships, i felt i was to young for all that, but with this guy its diffrent, im feeling alot for him. And i dont like it. How do i stop loving him so much?
-kristen

 
At 3/24/2010 05:36:00 PM, Blogger Kate said...

Hi Kristen...I know exactly how you feel. I've been there...more than once. Peace, for me, comes when I can get quiet and listen for "why" I am feeling impelled in a direction. If the language is fear, "I am afraid I will get hurt," "I am afraid that if I don't break up with him first he will break up with me," of "I am afraid that if I let go of this relationship I will never find another one," you probably aren't hearing God. His language is not fear, but Love. Therefore, if the language is Love-based, "I love being friends, and don't feel ready to be in a serious relationship yet," "I love learning more about my self through this relationship," "I love spending time with my family and don't want to be in a relationship that demands that kind of time," or "I love this boy and realize that he is distracted from his studies or his own family because of the time we spend together." There are angel messages that are God-languaged and deserve to be attended to in the sanctuary of prayer.

Give yourself the space to listen for what God wants for you. Sometimes a relationship requires the exercise of new spiritual muscles...patience, discipline, meekness, trust...and we discover we are more than we ever imagined. And sometimes the gift is friendship. Listen quietly, be honest with yourself, and take it one step (and prayer) at a time.

Kate http://stoneriverstudio.blogspot.com/

 
At 8/10/2011 03:38:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems like I'm on the right path and I loved how clearly you made what steps need to be completed to stop the hurt. I pray everyday for the pain to stop and the missing him to come to an end.
I think this is so much harder because it wasn't a break-up, there are no hard feelings. It was my choice to move 2500 miles away and now I am doing my best to live with my choice to walk away from the love of my life! Please add me to your prayer list because this is the first time in my life that I have cried over a man like this and cry everyday. I didn't even mourn like this over spliting with my son's father. I want to stop abd I do try. I have removed all things that could remind me of him and I do not contact him anymore. The problem comes when I go back to where he lives for business and I fear running into him and him seeing I still have very strong feelings for him. I just hope that I can use your advice and it helps. Going work on it. God bless!

 
At 8/10/2011 02:42:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

God bless you, too, and hang in there. Take all that love and shower it on the people around you. There's a lot of happiness to be found, right where you are.

Warmly,
Laura

 
At 4/15/2012 01:53:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So I guess I AM a very selfish person. I really never looked at it that way. But I have loved this man for 25 years and then some. I don't know how to stop. He lives very close to me and I see him sometimes in his yard or in his car. It is like torture to see him. I want to talk to him and still be his best friend. But his new wife hates the idea of us even being in the same location . I understand completely, but it doesn't help me . I stay away because that is his wish. I've been in therapy for years because of him. We talked recently after not talking in person for over 18 years on his initiative. He showed up at my house unannounced. That is what has thrown me for a loop. I was doing pretty good before that. But apparently his wife threatened to leave him and he sought after me, I guess because he was scared. When she decided to stay, he just blew me off. I am praying many times a day, but to no avail. Someone please help me.

 
At 4/15/2012 01:37:00 PM, Anonymous Laura Matthews said...

Dear friend,

Thanks so much for writing. I hope you find some answers. There are some friends of mine who counsel people in situations like yours at http://stoneriverstudio.blogspot.com/ and http://kimckorinek.blogspot.com/. Either would be happy to consult with you about what you're facing. As for me, I will hold you in the light and know that the Divine is sending you love and strength and purpose. You can get out of this situation permanently. Let the Divine lead you.

Warmly,
Laura

 
At 7/09/2014 07:57:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I prey all the time because I love my best friend in a way this person will never love me. She thinks it's no big deal when we could be together having a great time for a few days and then just have no contact for days after. In her eyes we are just friends so it's ok just to be together and hang out when she has nothing better to do. This breaks my heart and causes me a lot of anger and even trying to hate this person so I stop being hurt by them even when she doesn't realize she is doing anything wrong. I have told her my feelings and she likes me a lot but just not the way I love her. What to I do to get over her. Should I stop all contact?

Thanks for reading

Sad Guy

 
At 7/09/2014 09:04:00 PM, Blogger Laura said...

Hi, friend... so sorry you're going through this. It can be very difficult, I know. I'm no expert, but in my own life it has been better to walk away from situations that cause me pain, at least until I'm strong enough not to get hurt. A friend once told me, "Stop asking people for things they don't have." This has been very good advice. So I would say, yes, stop all contact. Find your happiness outside of that friendship. Strengthen other friendships, strengthen your connection to Spirit, and see where that leads you. One day, when you're fully yourself and strong, you may run into that friend and be honestly glad to see her with no pain. Probably by then you will also have filled in your heart and your life with relationships that satisfy you. Just remember you are not alone. You have your own connection to Spirit that is not dependent on anyone else. I wish you well on this journey. Warmly, Laura

 

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