Deepak Chopra Answers Love & Relationship Questions
One of my favorite authors, Dr. Deepak Chopra, has been answering questions from his readers about dating, love and relationships for years. He has put it all together in the brand new e-book, Ask Deepak About Love and Relationships. Here’s an exclusive preview at the first in this new series of Ask Deepak e-books, created to help people live healthier, fuller lives.
After twenty years of being single, I have started seeing this lovely man. We have been seeing each other for over six months now, and it looks like it could be a good relationship. Unfortunately, I have been suffering from fear and insecurity big-time. He is still married but has been separated for three years. He keeps in touch with his wife. I realize it is me who needs to grow, but at times, I get very desperate. I try some meditation and inner-child therapy. If you have any suggestions, it would be very much appreciated.
Twenty years is a long time, and although you didn’t say what your reasons were for staying single for so long, we can assume they must have been significant. That said, it makes sense that transitioning into a healthy relationship will take time and patience. Don’t rush into it or be too hard on yourself if getting closer to your partner brings up exaggerated or irrational feelings and responses out of proportion to the situation at hand. Your feelings are in reaction to your memories of the past, not the present reality. Take a deep breath and realize that the past must be let go in order to enjoy living in the present.
Ask your boyfriend to reassure you that the past is past and that now is now. Then tell him you are ready to let go of more of the past pain and ready to embrace the love that is present now. Be patient with the process and you will gradually see the insecurities fade away.
I really need human love. I’ve been on a spiritual path for many years, and I have kept asking God to give me a spiritual mate. At the beginning of my journey, I was so confident of success that I went on a pilgrimage in India after major leg surgery, and I even bought a wedding sari there. Aren’t these two things a sign of faith and devotion? Many people I know have told me to love myself, yet they do not and still have a mate. My mother has been very abusive and has refused me since I was a young child, as I have a small handicap. I have been desperately looking for somebody to love me. I have had many boyfriends, but it didn’t work with anybody. I have gone through many years of therapy.
Think what it is you are really asking. You say that you are desperately looking for someone to love you because you need human love. You had boyfriends, but it didn’t “work.” You don’t want to love yourself because you don’t think other couples had to do that in order for them to find love. You don’t want to look for love by finding God’s love within your own heart because you demonstrated your faith through pilgrimage and the sari and you still couldn’t feel God.
I think what you are missing is that when you find love with another human, you are actually finding the love within you. That love is what you are, that is how you love yourself, and that is your connection to God. If you live your life according to the story that love is only “out there” waiting to find you and fill you with what you are missing, then you will forever feel empty and dissatisfied. You are, in effect, insisting that your life remain loveless, because you refuse to accept and be the love that you are. You may say that all those who have partners didn’t have to live up to these high standards of spiritual love for them to be with someone who loves and cares for them, therefore, why should you? My only answer to that is that you can’t fully know what kind of love another is experiencing, all you can know is what you are experiencing and whether you are doing all you can to live your love and truth to the fullest. To do that, you have to change your orientation from feeling bad about what you believe you lack and begin to affirm and claim that which you are: namely, love, joy, wisdom, and peace.
When you begin to shift your life into this reality, you will find that love will flow to you and from you in all directions.
I’ve been in a relationship with a man for quite some time. I’ve been talking to my girlfriends about how women ignore certain traits about their boyfriends or husbands “for the good of the relationship.” I have issues about my boyfriend’s past. He has done some things that I find offensive, not to mention illegal. As far as I know, he has changed. But every time something reminds him of the past, he reminisces like it was the best time of his life. I was not around at this “best time of his life” and would not have stayed around if I had been because of moral issues. But if he’s changed so much, how come he remembers these times so fondly all the time? It’s like he regrets changing into a better person. This and other little things about him annoy me a lot. There are plenty fish in the sea, right? Should I learn to accept him…or go fishing?
You may be making more out of your boyfriend’s nostalgia of the past than is really there. For instance, his fond memories of the past may have nothing to do with their illegal or immoral nature. It is quite common to reminisce about the good old days not because what you did was so wonderful but because it recalls the feelings of adventure, freedom, and camaraderie of those days. The thing to do is ask him what he liked best about those days. If he tells you he misses breaking the law, then perhaps you should go fishing. If he just remembers the fun feelings of those times, then I don’t see it as a problem.
I think it is significant that he had changed from his earlier behavior even before he was with you. That suggests to me that he has outgrown the more reckless aspects of his past on his own. So if he wasn’t forced to change, it is unlikely that “he regrets changing into a better person.” As far as all the other little things about him that annoy you a lot, you’ll have to find out whether they are really about him and whether you can accommodate them, or whether the annoyances are projected from your own sensitivities. If the annoyances are reflections of your own judgments, then looking for another partner won’t make it any easier for you. You’ll still need to look at what is annoying within yourself that is making you blame it on someone else.
I am twenty-four years old, and I have yet to experience what being in a romantic relationship is like. I have been very introspective since I was a little girl. I can remember losing myself in thoughts such as who am I? what am I without my body? and what makes me me? I have never done anything that hasn’t felt right at a core level. I am waiting and saving myself for true love. Not necessarily marriage but love, an amazing love. Not fairy-tale-like but deep, unwavering love. People tell me this does not exist and that I need to snap out of it. I refuse to believe that! I cannot conceive of it. Am I idealizing love?
You are probably idealizing love somewhat, but that may be inevitable if you haven’t been in a romantic relationship yet. But don’t worry about that. The love you are feeling in your heart, your core essence, is real enough. That love is your true Self, and that is not a fantasy or an ideal. That fullness of heart will be the basis for the profound loving relationship when the time is right. You don’t need to build this relationship up into anything grandiose, just attend to your heart now, and allow love to bloom in its own time.
Can you suggest how a person gets over a fear of bonding? My sense is that, in bonding, one enters a very unstructured area where one’s sense of Self is lost. How does one bond with others and still have a sense of direction and identity in life?
Bonding with another doesn’t mean that you lose your self or dissolve into the other. To effectively bond with another, both must maintain their own integrity and individuality. Otherwise, the whole thing becomes a non-functional mush. To use an analogy from the body, eye cells all bond together to accomplish the process of vision. Each cell must work in concert with all the others, and that implies that each must maintain its individual structure and function in the service of the larger operation of sight. When we bond with others, we are simply being what we are while we share a common goal or activity. It’s really quite simple. Perhaps you go out with a group to register voters for the afternoon, and in the process, you develop a sense of camaraderie with them and later go out to
dinner together and share your stories. That’s a bonding experience. Contrary to some fears we may have that bonding will cause us to lose our sense of self, healthy bonding actually strengthens our confidence and self-esteem.
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