In my late fifties I decided to give up on finding love. A series of failed relationships led me to believe that I just wasn’t a suitable partner. So, I let go of all thoughts of finding a partner.
It was the best decision I could have made, one which led me in surprising ways.
I was OK with my decision to remain single. Overall, I had a happy life with plenty of things for which I was grateful.
I did, however, wonder about the reasons behind these repeat failures. So out of curiosity, I went back to therapy to understand what it was that made me tick.
I give my therapist a lot of credit. In hindsight, I see that she told me what my problem was right from the beginning. But I couldn’t see it. I couldn’t understand it or own it.
As the weeks and months went by, she tried several approaches until one day, everything clicked. In an instant, I could clearly see the pattern of toxic relationships through my life.
The psychological details don’t matter. In short, I was attracted to and attracting incompatible partners and friends. Subconsciously, I wanted to fix the destructive relationship I had with my father. So I kept recreating that negative environment in every new relationship.
Yes, I know it might sound kind of mysterious. But the fact was, I could now see that dynamic in all my interactions with people. I could now see why those failed relationships never had a fighting chance. It was all a result my early childhood programming.
As my therapy was coming to an end, I started to think about maybe dating again and decided to just look around the dating sites.
That’s when Daisy reached out to me via one of the sites. We emailed, talked, and finally met for that first date.
Thanks to all the work I did, I was finally receptive to an authentic true love with Daisy as my partner. Had I not been through everything I had up to that point, I likely would have repeated more failed relationships with the wrong people.
None of this would have happened if I hadn’t let go of the idea of finding love to begin with.
It’s not the only time that letting go of something has actually helped me find what I needed.
Long before I was sixty, there was a stretch of time when I was in overwhelming debt and either unemployed or underemployed. One day I decided to figure out how long it would take me to pay off the debt. That calculation told me I’d be nearly ninety. Ugh…
For some reason, at that precise moment I thought, “So what?” So what if I was ninety? I was paying my bills, had a roof over my head and food to eat. I had plenty to be grateful for, so why worry?
I let go of that worry.
It was probably only weeks later that I met someone who would eventually lead to a business venture. That business helped me pay down that debt by my late forties, about forty years ahead of schedule.
If I hadn’t let go of that worry, and focused on finding solutions to my financial problems, I probably would never have met that person.
Acceptance Doesn’t Mean Resignation
In both instances I had accepted my current situation. But that didn’t mean I resigned myself to remaining there. I didn’t just sit back and wait for things to happen. I did what I thought was best for me at the time. I kept plugging away at solutions.
Letting go opened me up to finding those solutions.
Today, I still have to practice at letting go of what I want to get what I need. It’s easy (and human nature) for us to become attached to what we think is best for ourselves.
I’m not always the best judge of what’s best for me. I can quickly get in my own way if I’m attached to a specific outcome.
I learned that it’s OK to take a break from something, especially when faced with frustration or dead ends. That’s often when the way becomes clear.
How to Let Go (and Hopefully Find Love)
So how exactly, do you let go? That’s a question that’s been pondered for thousands of years by philosophers and theologians.
Here’s an interesting video with insight from the Stoics about how to let go and not force a situation.
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