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By Jody Valley
Lost of the past
Q: May 14th will be my anniversary; the anniversary of my partner, “Irene,” leaving me five years ago. Every year on this anniversary, I wait by the phone hoping that Irene will call to say that she wants to come back to me. For the last four years the day after I get really depressed due to the fact that she has not called me. Finally, a few months later, I get back on my feet emotionally.
You might think I am crazy because I am waiting for Irene, but I’ll tell you why I am. When Irene left five years ago, she said that maybe she would return one day. She said that she just needed space and be able to think about what she wanted in life. She said that she still loved me! It’s not like she was mad at me or that we had fought because we hadn’t. In fact, we got along very well. We never had a fight – a serious one – in the three years that we were together. We enjoyed so many of the same things, even the same books. How many couples can say that? I was dumbfounded when she left. For weeks I waited by the door for her return and couldn’t believe that she didn’t come back to me.
My friends think that I am crazy and think I should “move on.” They keep trying to get me to date others and stop thinking of Irene. They don’t understand that Irene is the love of my life. Since her, I have not found anyone who even came close to Irene! It was clear to me the minute I saw Irene that we were soul mates. (I know that Irene is the one, even if others doubt that.)
Believe me, I have dated others, not a lot of others, but I have had dates that my friends have set up for me, since I have not really gone out on my own looking. No one – and I mean no one – even was remotely close to Irene. I can’t settle for second best. It wouldn’t be good for me or for the other person. (I wouldn’t want to be some other person’s second best.)
My friends know that my anniversary date is coming up and they are upset with me because they know that I will be waiting by the phone again. I have argued with them as I have argued previous years. (I worry that if I give up, it will make it so; that is, Irene will sense that I have lost hope for us.) Anyway, I finally made a deal with my friends. The deal was that I would write to you to see what you had to say, and I would abide by your advice. So, what do you have to say? I’m sure that you understand soul mates and how you can only have one soul mate in a lifetime.
Waiting for Irene
A: I’m afraid that the only place that you will see Irene is in your dreams. You will never be able to move on with your life until you give up the idea that Irene is returning to you When someone says – in this case I mean Irene – that she needs “space,” she is basically saying that she is moving out and on. It’s a euphemism for: I’m out of here. I don’t know how to say this more kindly: You have been wasting your life waiting for her. Furthermore, you have set up for yourself an expectation that no one can ever measure up to Irene, so, of course, no one can. If it makes you feel better – since you have already blown the last five years – you could make your last date of waiting for Irene May 14th. Then on May 15th, when Irene hasn’t called, make that date your anniversary for moving on with life.
PS: I’ve not seen it written that you can have only one soul mate in a lifetime.