What if you were stranded on a deserted island with only your family or your friends (people you loved, but could not date) and there was NO ONE else in sight, nor would there ever be. And for the remainder of your life, you had to live this way.
Keep in mind that the island would be tropical and filled with beautiful plant life and abundance. There might be tons of books left on the island for reading, and there were an abundance of activities. Life could be FULL with the one exception that you could not find a romantic partner.
To a love addict, at the height of his or her addiction, this might seem like certain doom. But in recovery, how do we deal with this idea? If you think about it, it’s a “sink or swim” situation and when you face it, and really imagine it, you find out what kind of person you are and what kind of recovery you will continue to have.
When I did this little exercise I had just been dumped (ouch!) I was 40 years old and I TRULY believed there was no one else out there in the world for me. I believed that S was the last. Faced with such a seemingly depressing future, I had CHOICES as to how I would react to that situation.
I could have easily sunk into a permanent depression. I could have run out to the nearest bar and tried to pick up any guy I could find that might want to have sex with me, and lived like that. I could have given up and become a hermit. OR I could have started to look at the world in a different way and started to believe that I was put on this earth for more than just romance. Maybe, just maybe, there areother things in this worldthat i could be focusing on and enjoying.
I chose the latter.
I started to see the world in a different way. Before, I always believed it was supposed to give me stuff and introduce me to love. But when I changed my perspective I started to believe that maybe it was my time to start to give back to the world. To enjoy my children. To be grateful for what I did have, NOT cry over what I didn’t have.
This change in perspective came not when I imagined being stranded on an island. I already felt like that! It came after seeing a documentary on a man with no arms and no legs. He was born that way and he was in his 30’s and his expectations of the world were very different than mine. He could not expect to casually meet women and fall in love like I could. He could not expect that one day he would get married and have children and live a NORMAL life. He couldn’t expect to play football or attract women like other men could.
But wait, he COULD expect these things from life (and if he did he would be MISERABLE because chances are, he would not meet those expectations, nor would anyone meet those expectations for him). But he DIDN’T expect those things. He didn’t consider any of those things to be a viable part of life. He chose to see his life as valuable and full WITHOUT those things.
How was that possible, I thought? How can anyone be happy or feel fulfilled without romantic love?! But then I realized that that was my addict brain thinking. Needing my drug of choice. How can an addict live without his or her drug?
But it IS possible. Millions of people live without romantic love and are perfectly content. They have found VALUE in their lives despite what they lack or do not have access to.
And so, I am asking you to think about your own life. I am asking you to think about who you are and what your value is without a significant other.If you could never date again, what would make you happy? Who would you be? WHat would be your joy in life.
Answer these questions and you can heal. Answer these questions and live your life as if they were true, and a miracle will occur.