The Holy Grail of the human experience.
Every song, every movie, every commercial is selling us the myth of romantic love as the ultimate goal in life. Women are particularly sold on the myth that there is no greater achievement than a relationship with a significant other.
We are sold the lie that romantic love is the solution to any problem. We know it’s a fairy tale, but we can’t help but want it to be true.
Image courtesy of Idea go / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Yet, so many of us fail so spectacularly at them. They make us miserable, devastated and heartbroken. How are we getting relationships so wrong?
In the depths of my drinking I truly believed a romantic relationship would save me.
In sobriety, relationships nearly killed me.
At three years sober I was suicidal again. I didn’t want to drink; I didn’t want to drug, I was just making the conscious decision not to commit suicide today.
The collapse of a relationship brought me to my knees.
My insides were burning with the pain of rejection.
My soul was broken.
I didn’t know if I could go on. I was 30 years old and I seriously believed I was destined to spend the rest of my days alone, because I knew I couldn’t go through this amount of pain again.
The thing I thought I wanted the most, I always destroyed, and I couldn’t seem to stop doing it.
It had always been that way with me. Since I was about 13 years old, boys, then men were my Holy Grail. The way a relationship, no matter how brief, made me feel, was like nothing I had ever experienced on earth. It was an intoxicating mix of lust, euphoria, excitement and pain.
It was my cocktail of choice.
Pick up, indulge, drown, and repeat.
I wasted so much of my life on the search for the Holy Grail. It consumed me. It was my reason for being. Because I truly, truly believed it would save me, that those feelings would last forever and I would be home.
The reason I believed this so whole-heartedly is because I’d bought into ‘The Relationship Myth.’
The myth that when you find true love, with that special person who is just right for you, only then, will your life be complete. Everything will be solved; there will be no more pain or loneliness, because your romantic relationship will have fixed everything that is wrong.
Because that’s what happened for Cinderella right?
The reason the myth is so powerful is it sells you the lie that a relationship will be your salvation.
Reinforced by our popular culture, the relationship myth remains powerful because so many of us are lost. Empty on the inside and born without the instruction manual, we stumble around looking for our anchor and the person that will make us ‘whole.’
The most dangerous part of the relationship myth is the belief that another person will ‘save’ us. If only we can meet the right ‘one.’ All will be well.
I would enter into relationships with men under the delusion that they were my salvation. Dazzled by my sexiness and personality all was wonderful for a few weeks, I knew I had finally found what I was looking for. Those feelings of anticipation and hope were my heroin. Inevitably, I would see terror revealed in the eyes of my beloved when they realized the full weight of my expectations.
Unable to fulfill my impossible request they would flee as quickly as they could.
Whilst I stood aghast, watching my hope of salvation crumble.
A few short weeks ago they were dazzled by me, they were obsessed, they thought I was wonderful? Where did that go? I didn’t even see it slip away.
My story of abandonment played over and over.
The day after a breakup I would wake up and see little pieces of my soul crushed upon the floor with no idea of how I was going to keep on living.
Does that sound extreme? Because it was, the search for true love nearly broke me.
When this happened again in my sobriety I knew I was in trouble. Things were meant to be better now I was sober, not worse.
I was more frightened than I had ever been drinking.
But this is what the gift of desperation looks like.
When there is nowhere left to run too, the only place left to go is deep within yourself.
This is where all the answers lie and where salvation truly lives.
It took a shift of perception to see that I wasn’t abandoned and I could save myself.
The solution I had been desperately searching for in other people had actually been within me all the time.
I had to find a way to see things differently. I understood that my faulty belief systems were ensuring I kept repeating my story of abandonment.
But I could change that.
I was left with no choice; continue this painful pattern that had driven me to the brink of suicide or, finally learn the lessons my pain had been trying to teach me all along.
Image courtesy of Theeradech Sanin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Only then could I break the spell of the relationship myth and know that I could save myself. Self-love saved me not
Romantic love is a blessing in my life but it is no longer my reason for living.
Love thrives when we set it free.
You can read the other parts in this series here: