The Woman Question: how do I find love after years of being single?
Responding to readers’ questions.
I’m 30. I don’t have a boyfriend and I’ve never had a long-term relationship. What should I do?
Thank you for your site. It is a real gold mine of teachings, practices and inspiration – an encyclopaedia for development and enlightenment. I really mean it. This is not just flattery to persuade you to help me with my problem. Your site really helps a lot of people when they need it most.
I would like to ask for some help and guidance. My name is Sveta and I’m 30 years old. I’m single and I’ve never been in a serious relationship. I’ve dated a few people, the longest relationship lasting around six months. It usually starts beautifully, with mutual attraction and lots of intense feelings. We talk all day and make love for hours… And then, all of a sudden, he loses interest and disappears with no explanation, as though suddenly I have nothing to offer, nothing worth fighting for, i.e. I am not someone men fall in love with.
It’s rare that I meet someone I want to date, maybe once every year or two. At the moment I’m dealing with a breakup with a guy I was going to move in with. The state I was in both during the relationship and now is perfectly summed up in your article “Creating yourself anew with relationships”. It was addictive love, combined with a sense of panic at my own worthlessness. Now I feel that this is karma and I’m getting some sort of holy comeuppance from God for all my sins, and I cannot overcome it, I cannot convince myself that another reality is possible.
Olesya, ever since I was a little girl I’ve been convinced that I would never be a complete woman, that I would never experience true love, that there is something innately wrong with me. Time seems to be proving me right, and given that my intuition tends to be pretty accurate, I feel like there is nothing I can do.
The trouble is, I see no meaning or joy in life without a profound, intense mutually loving and affectionate relationship. I don’t want to live without it. I try to keep my life as full as possible but it all feels like a façade. I don’t love anything about life, I just want to be loved by a partner. Even though, on an intellectual level, I understand that our purpose in life is to transform and to grow as we move towards God, for me life without a man to love feels like some kind of sentence I’m forced to serve. What is a woman’s purpose without a man to love?
Olesya, I realize I’m behaving like a “hungry ghost”, starved of love and attention. I have been plaguing everyone around me with questions like “what should I do?” and “how do I escape?” which is why I’m now writing to you.
If you have any thoughts on being single or karma or fate, or the creation of stupid thoughts about one’s own destiny, then please do share them!
Sveta, I’ve been keeping your letter close to my heart. On the one hand, I feel like I’ve said everything on the subject in my article “Creating yourself anew with relationships”, which you even refer to, so there is no point in repeating myself – it won’t help you find the solution you’re looking for. In fact, often working out the solution for yourself can have a greater effect than one that is handed to you on a platter. And yet, I’ve never seen a problem so accurately summarized:
I don’t love anything about life, I just want to be loved by a partner.
I’m not sure you fully understand the accuracy and tragedy of this sentence you have defined for yourself.
So I’ve been brooding over the answer to your query for a few days, wondering how you can heal yourself of this madness, then today it suddenly dawned on me:
You’re not actually asking me to help you!
You don’t want a solution for your troubles, sad though as I was to realize this… All you want is to find a relationship and stop feeling lonely. You want to meet a man who will fall in love with you and commit.
But you’re not thinking about healing yourself, transforming and creating yourself anew. And you don’t want to love anything or find joy in life – all you want is to feel loved by your partner. The fact that you’re honest enough to admit it is the sole reason I’m responding to you, but be warned that I am not going to sugarcoat my answer.
Sveta, the problem is: you don’t need any self-healing, which is why any advice I give you on this issue won’t work.
Not because the advice is defective, but because you won’t put it to the correct use.
I’ve always been instinctively aware of the following universal principle. I see it in my own life, but it’s only recently that I’ve been able to give it a precise definition:
Indirect tactics don’t work in this world.
Any attempt to do one thing in order to obtain a third thing will not work.
The world has arranged everything perfectly: it’s pure thinking or nothing.
This is the reason many people are unable to change, even if they are working hard to make a difference.
Any solution I offer to help ‘cure’ you of this condition, you will only apply to your relentless pursuit of finding a long-term partner, and not for its intended purpose, which is to actually cure yourself.
Therefore you will remain uncured.
And yet, no relationship will last as long as you are in this frame of mind. You have ten years of experience to prove it.
You describe yourself as a “hungry ghost”, but this is too poetic and inaccurate a description. A spirit cannot be hungry – that is the flesh’s prerogative. Here is a better definition:
Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love describes herself similarly as: “the planet’s most affectionate life-form, something like the cross between a golden retriever and a barnacle.”
I see this as begging. A person desperately starved of love, and interested in nothing else, who is begging to be loved. But love is the meeting of two souls both ready to give, not take.
Just give. I don’t mean food, or talking for 24 hours, as weird as it sounds, or even sex. I mean being generous with your energy. This is the key. Then all other important things will follow. But without a healthy energy output, you won’t receive anything in return. Your own experience can verify this.
In relationships between men and women, it’s typically the woman who becomes the ‘generator’; she gives her man energy and he transforms it into action. But you can only give that which you have. In order to give love, you must have it inside you. This could be love for the world or for yourself, for God or for your motorcycle (yes, that’s right – I put these concepts side by side), for cross-stitching or running or the city or saunas… Love for anything at all and for all of it at once. There are as many channels for your love to flow through as there are people in the world. Sveta, what do you love? In your own words, you love nothing very deeply. As a result, you tend to take energy from your partner in an attempt to feel complete. You begin to feel energized. You feel alive! And then he leaves. He can’t explain why because he probably doesn’t understand the reason himself. It’s a defence mechanism, triggered on a subconscious level. Just as we pull our hand away from fire so as not to burn ourselves, so we pull away from people that deplete us of energy – no matter how deeply we may feel for them.
Giving can be a two-way thing: you give to me and I give to you. This is the most widespread, typical form of love, which we’ve all experienced. The next stage was described to me in a remote Nepalese forest by the phrase: “Love is one-way traffic”. When two people meet and send out all their love without any ‘two-way’ expectations – then you get what we call “true love”.
Once again: indirect tactics do not work in this world. Any attempts to “love” a man, so that he’ll “love you in return and therefore complete you” (even if this approach is so deeply ingrained that you don’t realize you’re doing it) will ultimately end in rejection, however delicious your cooking might be and however gifted you are in bed.
So what should you do in this situation?
Let me tell you, just in case you have a change of heart…
Today I really don’t feel like performing a delicate and deep analysis of your psyche in order to spare your feelings. No time for indirect tactics and subtle clues – instead I’ll just give it to you straight. You can decide for yourself whether or not to take my advice.
1 Recognize that you have a rare and serious problem
It could last a long time, perhaps your whole life and perhaps even the next one, too. No relationship will cure you of this. Being able to love deeply without depleting the other person’s energy is kind of like being able to eat without getting fat, or drinking without getting drunk, or lifting heavy weights without straining. Only certain people are able to do it. Whether it’s a question of genes, constitution, karma or years of training – for whatever reason, you do not have this ability. You have a problem and therefore anyone else’s approaches will not work for you.
2 You have to want to change
More specifically, you have to want to change and believe that you can. Have faith, just as you would in God. This faith can only come from you. The cause of the problem is irrelevant, whether it’s from a past life or the result of a childhood trauma. You can cure anything through clear, planned action from day to day, and through genuine desire to follow this path.
3 You have to be self-sufficient in your treatment
The only treatment that will work is adopting solitude and embracing this spiritual effort. You have to learn to be alone, without thinking of men. You need to decide this for yourself and start learning to breath alone. Yes, at 30, especially at 30. Really own this decision of yours. Face the question “what if I’m alone all my life?” and stop being afraid of it.
4 The essence of this treatment is learning to be happy even on your own, and completely filling yourself with love for the world and for yourself
This won’t happen overnight. To start with, you’ll stop feeling unhappy. After that you’ll begin to find pleasure in things, and then joy. Eventually you’ll feel a serene happiness. Truly.
5 Open your eyes to the world
Stop complaining about how your life has worked out. Instead, focus on a new adventure: travel the world, start a business, change cities, shave your head, go on a spiritual retreat, detox yourself, change your environment, whatever you want. You need a real shake-up, ideally over a long period of time, i.e. six months, after which your life simply can’t not change.
6 Choose celibacy until you’re completely purified
The universe is going to feel the truth of your intentions. You must stand firm until you are completely better, otherwise you’ll fall back into this unhealthy cycle.
7 Be patient
This cleansing process takes time, and you have to accept that if it takes ten years, it takes ten years. You need to accept this and completely give yourself over to God/Creation/the Universe/your Higher Self – whatever you believe in – with the sole intention in your heart to rid yourself of this crap.
8 Do something every day that will amplify the colour and taste of life
Whether it’s taking up extreme driving or volunteering in Chile, going to a stylist, hairdresser, astrologer, manicurist, or buying expensive lingerie just to sleep in alone – anything you want. Then ask yourself: what can I create in this world? How can I be useful?
9 Don’t be tempted to ‘trick fate’ with indirect tactics
“I’ll be alone, so that I can find The One”; “I’ll go travelling so that I can find The One”, “I’m doing THIS, in order to get THAT”. Your only objective right now should be to purify your body and soul. Rid yourself sincerely of your own unhappiness. Fill yourself with the world and give yourself to the world in return. Just like that. Without any conditions or demands for love from the outside. This is the only way to be healthy.
P. S. Smiles!