uestions about love, dating, and relationships are frequently tossed my way. Never mind my own less-then-perfect relationship record, or that I struggle as a mother, sometimes lack patience, and I hold no degree in counseling. Here are a few answers to questions I’ve collected.
• Q: I’m alone again this Christmas and can’t quite figure out why. Years ago I met a man who made me weak in the knees and let the butterflies loose inside of my stomach. He checked every box I had in the partner column and made me reconsider the-soulmate cliché. Only he wasn’t as into me as I him and so, painfully, he ended it. I’ve met and been in relationships with other men since then, but nothing seems to work. I find myself comparing everyone to him. I thought I’d moved on and was ready to meet a life partner. Honestly, I thought I’d be married by now. Instead, I continue my elusive search. Any suggestions on how to meet “the one?”
• A: Stop looking for the ghost of Christmas past in your very real present. You’ll never find another “one” (and yes, he’s out there) if you’re constantly lamenting a lost love and comparing partners in the present to an idealized one in the past. It’s not fair and never ends well.
I’m not suggesting you completely forget your ex and the feelings he provoked in you. Not at all. It’s virtually impossible to forget certain people — something everyone knows inside but nobody wants to admit aloud. But it’s not impossible to stop making him the center of your new romantic life. Let him have a very tiny space, high up on a shelf in your heart, while you let someone else have a go at loving you. You may find that the little space you’ve given your one-time lover in memory is more than enough when you truly allow something new, and quite possibly even better, inside.