Endings and beginnings

UNIVERSE WITHIN by Gwen Randall-Young

Portrait of Gwen Randall-YoungSometimes, when relationships end, both parties are in agreement that it is time to move on. Difficult though it may be, it is even harder when it is over for one, but not for the other.

When we first fall in love, it is all so romantic. We romanticize the love as well as the other person. We begin to build a new world with our love object at its centre. We know our love is special and that it will last. So sure are we in fact, we may even commit to “until death do us part.” This assumes we can and will continue to will ourselves to keep on loving.

Love, however, has a life of its own and cannot be controlled and orchestrated according to our wishes. Love is like a bouquet of roses. Sometimes, the roses last and last and we cannot believe how well preserved they have been. Other times, even a bud will droop on its stem without ever opening.

Yes, there are many things we can do to extend the life of roses and to nourish and support our relationships. We can commit to being faithful and to do our best to keep the relationship flourishing. We can work hard to overcome problems or differences. However, if the love is gone, trying to keep the relationship alive may be like keeping a vase of wilted roses on your desk.

We are all on our own individual soul journey and those couples whose love lasts a lifetime are truly blessed. We grow and change over the years and sometimes one partner outgrows the other. It may be too that we came together for specific learning and that learning is complete.

Ideally, if we truly love another, we would want what is best for him or her, even if it means separating from us. More often than not, ego kicks in, in a big way. Ego tries to convince the other to stay and does not really listen to what is being said. Ego bargains: “We can make it better… Give me another chance… You have not really tried… No one will love you like I do.”

Ego has its hands full. It desperately does not want to let go of the loved one and at the same time panics about being alone. In some ways, it is like a death and one could experience shock, disbelief, anger and grief. It is not uncommon to cycle through stages, including denial and bargaining, before gradual acceptance begins to emerge. It is hard to imagine carrying on in life without the one we love.

It reminds me of the Monarch butterfly, which flutters into our awareness delighting us with its presence. We enjoy its beauty and stop what we are doing to really take it in. We know we cannot keep it.

Love comes to us like that too. I believe that, if we treat it as a rare gift, savouring it and nourishing it together, it can keep growing and deepening.

However, there are times when a love has a built-in lifespan and there is more growing that needs to happen for both people that would not happen if they were to remain together. Hopefully, we can realize this, transcend ego and release our partner in love. Then our task is to move forward towards whatever the universe holds in store for us.

Gwen Randall-Young is an author and psychotherapist in private practice. For more of Gwen’s articles and information about her books, Self Care CDs and the new Creating Healthy Relationships series, visit www.gwen.ca. See display ad this issue.

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