Serena S. says... Dear Gemma, Thank you so much for your generosity in answering these questions. What a great service you're doing in sharing your gift! Here's my question. For the past three years, I've been trying to get over a rough breakup with a former partner. This woman was the first person I'd ever planned a life with, and while she was significantly older than I was (she was thirty-eight when we met, and I was twenty-three), I really thought we'd be able to make it work. Early on in the relationship, I found myself pulling away, as the details of her financial life, her unwillingness to move away from her family's home, and what seemed like a wavering investment in her career began to trouble me. Even though I was the younger partner, I was worried about having to provide the security as well. She and I are both artists, but at the midpoint of our two-year relationship, I decided to pursue a Ph.D., largely because I wanted a level of security I did not see in her life. I broke up with her one year into my graduate study, thinking for sure that we'd be able to be friends and allies. Since the breakup, however, she has cut me off completely, and said some very, very cruel things about me, both to me and in public venues. Now I am struggling to pursue my craft while in grad school, while she seems to be enjoying continued success in her creative career. I've been in a few relationships since then, and am in a new one now. Still, I feel very scarred by what happened with her. I know we all make mistakes in relationships, but I'm still not quite sure what my mistake was, or how to keep from making it again. How can I get clarity on this situation without any input from her? What do you see in store for my art? What do you think I should look out for in future relationships? And, on the most basic level, do you think I am doomed to live without love and success? Thank you!
Hey Serena. Ok so lots going on here. I feel that you are a real no nonsense kinda girl that respects the brutal truth so I'm going to be very direct with you in my answer. "Being doomed to live without love and success," (a bit dramatic but) entirely up to you. Remember, you create your own reality. Now a big part of that is tending to YOUR garden, no one elses and it seems to me that you had a great tendency to tend to your ex's. You put so much energy into your concern about what she was going to do or be. That's not your place, tend your own garden.
THEY say youth, impulse and expectations. There is nothing you can do to change your age and experience level, but I gotta say that In time with age and experience, I truly hope you come to realize that Love is not about someone's financial portfolio but instead about someones, spirit, heart and character - well the love you are looking for is anyway. Honestly and again, I'm being blunt here, your reason for leaving her was extreme and for lack of a less harsh term, well downright shallow and immature. Look, if you want to play on the 8th grade playground when you are a 3rd grader (which I do think you were fully capable of doing as you are mature for your age) you gotta play by the 8th grade rules. You were impulsive (3rd grade) in your decision to leave. As much as you think you thought about it. See if you really only wanted a good financial match, I'd say it was a great choice but the turmoil you are feeling is that you wanted a heart connection and life partner and got blinded by the finance stuff.
There were so many intangible great qualities about your ex that I'm tapping into. Qualities that made you fall for her, then came fear... and sabotage. THEY are saying that you never trust a good thing so you ruin it before it goes away. They are tying this to your mom and her going away from you in some way. So that's what you did, that was part of your "mistake." Instead of just going with it and truly being in it, you ran a "credit check" and judged her and made a decision from there. That's not love, that's fear. You have to accept someone for exactly who they are, not who you wish they were. If they decide they want to change, that's up to them and you can support them in that, but it's not your place to decide that for them. Now of course she was far from perfect and straight up sucked with money. But so what...alot of peeps do. That doesn't make someone less than, it just means that hopefully their "partner," you in this case, will be strong in that area, which you are, so it could have been no problem. She had other things to offer, things you loved and truth be told you looked away from those things and towards what you judged as negative. A relationship is not about someone's financial portfolio but about what their particular strengths are. Her strengths were different than yours, well that's great, it's ying and yang.
You say "partner" but then you say that you don't want to be responsible for the financial security in the relationship, that's not being a partner. That's flying solo and only being concerned about self. A partner, part of a team will pick up the slack where needed. If at a certain point you are more financially secure than she is then you cover, maybe she's more emotionally supportive at that time. The tables are sure to turn (as you see they currently have been and will continue to) and had you stuck around, she as your "partner" would have had your back. That's what creates the bond, the "us," the "we. In a true partnership who has the money doesn't matter sis as long as someone does... if you are truly partners and thinking of a future together then you need act like a partner and if financial security is what you bring to the table then bring it. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying money doesn't matter or to "live on love," no no, I love my amenities in life. I'm saying that there is no greater bond than when you build your empire together, each utilizing her own strengths and relying on the others to utilize theirs. Who has what stregnth doesn't matter as long as each gives 100% of what they have. That's solid and will withstand the trials that a long-term relationship will bring alot more than the whole me, mine, I game.
You speak of her wavering interest in her career. Once again YOUR perception and judgement. Yes, she definitely had her wavering moments but don't we all? Don't you? Did you ever stop to ask her why or what she was feeling and if in fact she was wavering, and if so why? I gotta tell you that in any long term relationship, from time to time, your partner will probably question their career and where they are with it especially if she's an artist. That's a good thing and truth is that you could have supported and believed in her a little more. Can you blame her for shutting you out. She was devastated girl, she truly loved all of you, even them bratty difficult parts and that hotheaded stubbornness. She wanted to build a life with you. And though nothing ever EVER warrants dishonoring or direspecting someone, her lashing out is directly related to hurt. She didn't think this would happen. It was supposed to be forever in her mind, so she feels a bit played. As for leaving her family, it's her safely, that's why she stays, maybe a bit too long so actually that one I'll give you... it was definitely time to cut that cord, but again, she would have in time.
I'd love for you to familiarize yourself with the law of attraction which says unto like comes like in other words you call in what you put out, so with the (judgmental) energy you are putting out in the financial realm, you are bound to call in lessons of money in the form of one of two things, you will either attract women that have less both financially and emotionally to perpetuate the energy or you will attract women who are even more judgmental than you are in that realm and won't see you as worthy of them.
Oh... one other thing, please please stop asking for and listening to all your friends advice. I know they mean well, but their lack of experience won't help you at all and anyway you have a strong gut instinct, develop that as it won't steer you wrong. If you had gone on your first gut, you may not be saying, "What if," so much today in relation to your ex.
Look little sis, I'm being a hard ass here because I want you to have the love you are looking for and have seen first hand where this could land you. You get a pass this time because you were only 23 and that's what your 20's are for, but I really really want you to learn from this because I can promise that if you don't, you will keep pushing away great people and drawing in assholes, not to mention that your outlook just aint cute in your 30's and up. I've seen it happen way too often and the result is a selfish, lonely bitter person who keeps asking, "why me?" I feel like maybe if someone gave them a stern talking to in their 20's they would realize that selfish and shallow just aint sexy and they may have woken up. I know deep down you don't want to be that. I know you want love and to be loved and a long term partner. So because you asked what your mistakes were because you want to move forward (and you do get a big high five to you for that) I gotta be real with you. While it sucks to have to learn this lesson with someone you loved and lost, just recognizing it means you have already begun to grow, thus breaking the cycle. By the way... true art is an unselfish act so that will flourish with the change as well. I guess what it boils down to and listen up here peeps... If you want a partner, be a partner. If you want unconditional love, be unconditional. Sabotaging a great relationship only ends up hurting you. You are never too old or young to learn from your choices, that's what we are here to do, learn and grow. Keep up the introspection Serena. Great luck.