The Rapture of Love

We long for rapture. We long to be transported to an otherworldly place where the problems that weigh heavily into our souls and the pain that pierces our hearts lift away, if only for a moment. We long to feel profoundly alive and deeply fulfilled. We long for ecstasy.

Western culture conditions us from the time we’re old enough to absorb information that the rapture and ecstasy we long for can be found in romantic love. If you find the “right” person, you will be airlifted out of the human realm and set atop a sea of clouds where life is beautiful and serene. If you find “the One”,  you will ride off into the sunset and experience unparalleled bliss from first kiss to last breath. Some part of our minds know that this is a fantasy, that there isn’t one person who has the capacity to offer a lifetime of unilateral joy, but it’s not our minds that run the show when fantasy takes over. It’s the unconscious blueprint that we’ve absorbed at a preverbal level that stands in the way of creating a life predicated upon real love.

What is real love? Real love is what you give. Real love is an action and an act of will. Real love is a commitment and an intention. Real love does not require a beginning defined by infatuation (although it may). It doesn’t mean that you won’t feel irritated at times and that you’ll always feel attracted to your partner. Real love can be uneventful, comfortable, and boring. But at the core is a foundation of trust, respect, and, above all else, the willingness to learn. For as I wrote about last week, very few people know how to love well at the starting gates. It’s a skill that we learn over time.

Real love also includes an understanding that where this is love, there is fear. Just as joy and sadness live in the same chamber of the heart, so love and fear are bedfellows. We don’t learn this basic fact anywhere. Where it becomes even more tricky is that fear is rarely felt as raw fear but instead manifests as irritation, lack of attraction, numbness, and an obsessive focus on a perceived lack in your partner (not attractive enough, not funny enough, not social enough, not educated enough, not intellectual enough, not ambitious enough). We must learn to call out fear’s disguises in order to dismantle its power. 

The cultural cognitive distortion that tells us that love is only a feeling combined with the lack of information about fear’s role in love leads many people either to walk away from a loving relationship because they’re “not in love enough” or “not attracted enough” or to become mired in years of relationship anxiety where they’re neither fully in the relationship nor willing to leave. Very few people understand what real love is all about.

The true rapture of love is holding hands in silence as you watch the sun setting behind the mountains, trusting that the silence contains the terrain of psyche and soul that you’ve dared to share with one another.

The sustainable bliss of love is becoming the safe harbor in which your partner can land and knowing that your partner offer the same safe haven for you.

The true romance of love is the hundreds of ways that we extend ourselves for the sake of our partner, from fixing a tire to attending family gatherings to moving through the moment of irritation or lack of attraction so that you can move toward your partner with acceptance.

The real ecstasy of love is sitting on the porch swing with your beloved lifetime partner as you watch your grandchildren play in the yard.

This is the true fantasy, and it’s all we really want. It seems so simple: holding hands, being a safe person for each other, sitting on a swing. And once you work through the fear-walls that stand in love’s way, it is simple. But how do you work through the fear? How do you rewire the broken cultural mindsets about love that have caused you to misfire and misunderstood what real love is about?

In order to rest in the true rapture of love you first have to shatter the fantasy of love. You have to deconstruct nearly everything you’ve learned about love – from attraction to what it really means to be in love to sex – so that you can rebuild on a new foundation. For some people, this shattering stage is extremely challenging, as the compulsion to chase after the drug of love is almost wired into their veins. In fact, the degree to which you’re addicted to the infatuation stage is commensurate to the level of dryness in your Well of Self. In other words, the more you long to feel the aliveness that the infatuation stage brings, the stronger an indicator it is that you’re looking for ecstasy in the wrong place. You will only find false rapture in another. True rapture requires downloading the correct love manual.

And that’s where we begin: by downloading the correct manual. Included in this new download are the Love Laws and Loving Actions that will help you rewire and re-fire so that you can build a lifetime partnership based on real love. Once you receive the manual, you will learn how to name your fear walls, see through clear eyes instead of fear eyes, perceive essence instead of image, and realize that it’s through action that fear loses its power. And when fear shrinks, attraction and love grow. It’s as simple as that.

This manual is what I teach in Open Your Heart: A 30-day program to feel more love and attraction for your partner. The eleventh round begins on August 26, 2017, and, because I only offer it twice a year, it usually fills to capacity. I look forward to meeting you there.

51 comments to The Rapture of Love

  • blual

    I don’t think real love is just the one you learn. I believe it is a mix of fantasy and realness. The other person should match at least some of our fantasies otherwise it’s just a sort of friendly love, relationship love. This exists too but you can see couples that are in love even after a long time and couples who are just being in a relationship. I guess that those who stay in love find a rare match of their fantasies and needs in the other.

    • growinglove

      I think it may be more so that this article is trying to emphasise the importance of deconstructing existing expectations and hopes that are in actuality keeping us from loving wholly and fully (those type of fantasies). I do understand what you mean however, that perhaps some of the fantasies we hold within ourselves should be met with by our partners of interest, but in the long run, the fantasies do tend to wash away and this is typically the stage where people complain of the relationship becoming ‘boring’ or that the relationship is not ‘exciting’ anymore. Everyone will have a personal stance on this, but I do believe that real love is a lot about that warm bowl of ‘oatmeal’ Sheryl sometimes speaks of in her articles, it’s comfort and sits well with you. Real love allows you to grow into the person you want to be, and it’s so much better than the fantasies we conjured in our heads. It does not go to say that there should be no aliveness in the relationship, but ultimately when you take responsibility for your well being and dig deeper – you may just find that the aliveness cannot express itself as there’s a lot of unhealthy material up top – such as fantasies which keep us from experiencing the relationship in a ‘mindful’ way.

      Not sure where I’m going with this, but personally I’ve found that when I begin to fantasise about something, it becomes an obsession for me, and just another ‘resistance’ mechanism to not tap into what I am protecting myself from feeling. Once you have this awareness and can work with it gradually over time, the natural self beyond all this that is ready to love, allows you to claim yourself by deconstructing cultural beliefs that are no longer serving you or allowing you to maintain your relationships.

  • growinglove

    Hi Sheryl,

    I’ve recently started private therapy – it’ll be expensive, but I feel it is worth it to get me to a more healthier place in my life. As a 22 year old with mental health issues such as anxiety and fear (same tree), life can feel very scary. But I am doing Break Free in conjunction with therapy, and have found a lot of similar patterns my therapist speaks to me about; already mentioned in your course. I have felt that I have softened a little towards my partner, these are still bound by a lot of fear walls and defence mechanisms but there has been a slight change in the past two weeks of joining the course and beginning therapy. I can tell I have a lot of emotional baggage that needs to be grieved and spoken of, and I will not sit here and say I wasn’t sceptical about your course – but I think you’re doing an amazing job at allowing people to not feel alone within themselves.

    I do worry about not recovering as I sometimes feel like I have a case of BPD, but you have been very helpful. So warm wishes to you and thank you for all that you do for your readers/fellow Conscious Transitions commenters. 🙂 x

  • chicadelli

    Hi growinglove,

    Something in your comment spoke to me maybe that were roughly the same age or that you just started therapy and might worry a little about the costs. I started therapy about 4 months ago also very sceptical and worried about the costs. I’m still going there now but it’s coming to and end and i can honestly say therapy was the best thing I’ve ever done/spent my money down. It really was by far. I’ve also done the break free course and a lot of the thing in there go in line with what my therapist said which was nice/encouraging.
    I was also so worried that I wouldn’t ever get better or to a point of normality but I did. About 9 months after my anxiety really started to hit I am now in a much better place. I feel like myself again, I have my old personality back with the great addition of understanding my psyche and how I/my mind works. It’s incredible, i sometimes still can’t believe how well I know myself now and how I can recognize when I’m projecting or living in a fantasy/trying to look for an escape hatch. I don’t know your personal story but I just wanted to say keep going, donthe therapy and those little moments where things feel better will become longer and longer. I couldn’t have done it without this blog though, at the beginnning, if I hadn’t found this work, I’d have ended my relationship not knowing that doubt is completely okay.
    I’m very thankful to this site and my amazing partner

    • growinglove

      so lovely to hear you have been doing so much work on yourself and seeing results. 🙂 very happy for you, and keep breaking free xx

  • Gratefulwarrior

    Thank you for this. To make this short, I was in a very toxic relationship a few years ago where I first was struck with relationship anxiety. It was horrible and I wasn’t in a safe space to work through it. Ever since that experience, every time I date the anxiety spikes almost immediately, usually after the first or second date. I get to feel the “feel good” feelings for a very short period of time and then it sets in, and the feelings almost dissipate completely.. Every time I took it as a sign that I wasn’t safe. This time, I’ve met the most incredible woman. And I’m not believing my fear as a sign that it not right. I’m currently working through the break free e-course, but my question is…is it possible for the feelings dissipating to be a sign of fear so soon? It’s very frustrating…I just want a chance to feel all the good feels!

    • Bohemia

      Gratefulwarrior, I can totally relate to your story!! My anxiety would often spike very early as well, and for years, I took it as a sign that the person I was dating wasn’t right for me. I would get this awful heavy feeling around the person, and it would get worse and worse, until I broke it off (sometimes on the second date, sometimes months later). I would feel immediately relieved, like I’d made the “right” decision. Then, like you, I met someone that I sensed had the kind of goodness and capacity for love that I longed for, and I wanted to stay with him. So when I felt the familiar panic feelings start to rise, I decided to stay rather than run. At first it was awful. But I found Sheryl’s course, and it transformed my life: I came to understand my response as fear-based, and for the first time, felt the good feelings for someone longer than a few days or weeks at a time. I’m now happily married to the person I described above, largely thanks to Sheryl’s work. There is a well of good feelings on the other side of anxiety, but there is no short cut to getting there–we must face, feel, and work past our fears. I wish you courage and faith that you can and will overcome your fears and feel all the good feels in the near future!

      • Gratefulwarrior

        Thank you so much for your reply. This is so relieving g. When it spiked after the second date this time, I started to question it because this person as far as I can tell, embodies everything I want in a partner. I’m in the midst of the course and I have high hopes with no expectations of outcome. I’m so excited to work through this and to be able to love and be loved the way I deserve. Thank you again for sharing. You’ve really inspired me.

    • letlovein

      Hello Grateful Warrior and Bohemia,
      I just wanted to chime in and confirm, that indeed, the fear feelings can come on super early. I too was in a difficult relationship early on and after that suffered from RA. I would meet someone and maybe have a clear month, and then the dread would sink in. And similarly, I would break up with the person and feel relief because it “wasn’t right”. It got so bad that once I got the fear feeling from an e-mail after an hour long coffee date! So, your fear self can become very strong and try to protect you in the most the casual and most serious relationship encounters.
      After struggling with this for many years I met a man I was willing to work through these issues for. I didn’t dive quite deep enough when we got married, so I had to face it all again when we recently got pregnant. It is NOT EASY to undo the years of work fear has done on you, but what Sheryl says is true, you must work through the pain and not around it. I encourage you to do the work from the course, even if it doesn’t feel like it’s “working” it is on some other level. Fear is trying to protect you from getting hurt again and fear is incredible resourceful and sneaky, so you have to develop your tools. I’m finding that as I do the work, not only is it helping me deal with my relationship anxiety, it’s making me examine other areas of my life that I am making harder than they need to be. It’s making me change, for the better.
      All the best as you work through this, you can do it!

  • Wendy

    Your words are so often comforting. I believe in your words about real love. Unfortunately, my husband was so caught up in the fantasy world that we are now divorced. I hope your teachings can continue to help me grow if I’m blessed with a new partner.

  • Mr B

    Hi Sheryl and bloggers,
    I have been following Sheryl for close to 2 years and completed the break free e-course. My initial anxiety spike which led me to this work very much subsided to a level where I felt back to normal ‘connected’ to myself, my heart and my beautiful fiancé.
    However, over the weekend after chatting to a mate about his issues it brought back some old memories of me and my now fiancé. I spoke to my fiancé about it and although supportive she got annoyed as it was almost 5-6 years ago (i probably sounded crazy). I worried that before we got together she cheated on me, when we were just ‘seeing’ each other. Which sounds a bit crazy considering we weren’t even together? But the ‘What Ifs’ are firing in my head… so I know its anxiety..
    The voice telling me this ‘new anxiety’ has the same voice as before. And I feel as though its tried over the past year to get my attention I have been mentally strong and been able to address the niggles.. and finally its pipped up with something that caught my attention… I have tools to deal with it and its nowhere near as bad as I had anxiety in past but still chimes in to cause me to feel fear but fear through not trusting my partner, numbness etc etc. If this was a real issue I would have dealt with it all those years ago (I was always sensitive). I know its not a real issue as a real wrong doing isn’t a really question you would know within.. My fiancé has done nothing at all to spike this and there are no red flags. Its me I and my issues I need to deal with.. I am projecting perhaps past fears onto her? or my own fears of being alone onto her?
    I have called it to the mat and really hammered at it and it really helped but i know it will take time. I know what’s true in my heart, in the silence I can hear the truth, but also feel it deep in my veins, and as I did before and I know this will keep me in good stead through the process. I feel that this anxiety is really superficial thinking, although clever in weaving a story and getting my attention very well. But this thinking cannot overcome the truth in one’s heart and going within.
    Will the ego always want to test me in this way leading up to my wedding? This really came out of the blue and I am sure it is here to teach me a valuable lesson, but is this just life? In some weird way is the ego preparing me for my wedding and being married by building up my own mental strength and teaching me to delve into myself for understanding and knowledge?
    Let me know what you all think and if you have ever had a second or third anxiety spike with a ‘new’ issue.
    Thanks Mr B

  • Carla

    I love this. Also working trough the Break Free e-course and I’ve never found another source of growing better than the one you teach. I will be taking more of your courses. I may not able to attend your upcoming one, but I’ll be sticking around for a while. I’ve only sent about 2 or 3 messages to you, pertaining to the Break Free course and all my fears have eased. Although not TOTALLY, I understand that this HEALING is a lifelong process and making this step impressed my husband. He appreciated the fact that was working and putting the effort to face my fear, and he knew I loved him but I was willing to be bent and twisted from my comfort zone and to face my demons so that the both of us can heal. This course and personal prayer has done wonders. I am sleeping more and whenever my heart starts pounding my hands start to sweat, I turn inward to my thoughts instead of fearing what I feel. I even stepped back and put my adult safe at the helm of my mind and talked my way through it… or tried to. I’m feeling capable and less “floaty”. Thank you.

  • Stephanie

    Hi Sheryl,

    Every single time I get an e-mail from you, I am so excited to read it (I save it for a treat at bedtime!). Anyway, this particular one really resonated with me because of the long way I have come in understanding what real love is. I have come to understand that real love truly is what you give, and that being able to give comes from taking care of yourself. When I have tended to my needs (i.e. exercised my creativity, taken a bath, read my book, connected with family, etc.), I reach a place in myself that is relaxed, content, and brimming over with love to share, which makes me so grateful to have a partner with whom to share it. He is a lovely person, but I feel like more so the connection I feel with him and the love I feel for him is as a result of my “well being full”, as you put it. Being in a satisfied place due to loving-kindness in thought and action toward myself allows me to see all of the ways my partner and I connect, and it is a joy to be in the relationship. When I am run down, exhausted, stretched too thin, etc, I feel disconnected, angry, and irritated. I have learned that the spiral of anxious thoughts regarding the lacking qualities of my partner are really just a general symptom that I need to take some time to take care of myself. I keep connecting with this idea that being in love pertains moreso to just being in love with life, and if you can shine the light of love on a person who is willing and available to be there with you, then that’s what being in love is…not fantasizing about them or pining for them or feeling giddy and excited. Being in that content space allows me to have so much peace with the humanity of my partner, no matter how annoying and boring he might be sometimes.

    Anyway, you have a really special way of saying these things, and your work has shifted my perception of love in a deeply profound way. Maybe my contribution above is really just a synopsis of everything I have learned from you, but I really appreciate your work. In past relationships, things being boring or me feeling irritated were reason enough to leave, and now I smile at those feelings with a certain level of amusement and gratitude for how strange it is to just be human and be able to experience all of it. Thanks again!

    • This is it, Stephanie, and reading this brings a big smile. What you’re describing are many of the concepts I teach in Open Your Heart, including positive projection (the state of having a full well leading to overflowing love) and negative projection. You’re embodying the work beautifully!

  • GGW

    I’ve taken Sheryl’s course before and it was such a relief to have someone confirm what I really wanted. It is so important to have a realistic view of what love is, which is fundamentally more than feelings, its actions. Shortly after marrying my husband I became sick with a chronic illness and suffered a miscarriage. It seems every time I hit a major life obstacle I am reminded that I made the best decision by marrying him. I have friends that are single and some are dating married and emotionally unavailable men, making so many excuses for them out of “love,” which is based only upon feelings. And they have no security. They can’t have families and they are unhappy. Life is not a fantasy. It’s not a Disney movie- there is loss, chronic illness, other issues that arise, and every day it’s having a loving and supportive and faithful partner that makes life possible. Excitement and chemistry and physical appearance just don’t carry a lot of steam. Take this from a woman who can’t work now but who is blessed to have a husband that loves me no matter what.

  • Ariel

    Is the open the Heart course right for me? I am in a relationship and my partner loves me very much. When I am out doing something that fills my soul and it’s time to go home I do not want to go home to him. Being with him feels flat after being with friends Or in an art class. I don’t know if he is simply the wrong person or if it has to do with my heart. So I don’t know if your class would be helpful to me or not. I look forward to your response

    • Hi Ariel: It’s difficult to say without having more information but what I know is that the information you’ll learn in the course will serve you no matter what and will help you find more clarity.

      • Northernlass

        Hi Ariel, I commented down below because I really feel for you… I’ve experienced exactly what you’re describing and I want to provide some hope if I can.

        I too have agonised over ‘why’ I feel sometimes dull or flat around my partner, especially after having been with friends or doing something creative.

        I have a wonderful partner. He is incredibly loving, takes great care of me, wants to work through any issus, wants to grow personally, we have the same values and he is everything I ever wanted in a partner. Yes my anxiety screams out a lot and tries to get me to leave (especially through transitions such as travel; I’m currently on holiday with him and It is VERY hard. Although I found Sheyl’s article about travel anxiety and feel much better!) So I know rationally i have no reason to leave BUT my relationship anxiety doesn’t want me to risk losing something so wonderful. So it tries all kinds of clever tactics.

        When I’ve been out with friends in the past, or doing something ‘good’ for my soul such as writing or music, my brain has liked to ask me, “Why are you feeling so great now, but you don’t always feel great with your partner?” Then I get sucked in and begin to follow the rabbit down its hole. I begin to analyse how I feel around my partner. Of course this makes me want to shut down around him. The increasing obsessions cause anxiety and ‘flatness.’ Which in turn make me want to run away (without leaving him for now because again I know to some level this is my rOCD). So I’ll find a nice activity to do and the cycle continues.

        It helps me to call out the anxiety for what it is and take loving actions by sitting with the uncomfortable feelings whilst around my partner, to stay that bit longer with him, maybe move closer physically by cuddling him or doing something we enjoy together. That way I teach my anxiety it can’t win. It can’t push me away from my love, as much as it wants to!

        I think for me it’s also been pivotal to realise that needing alone time is more than ok. I need lots of it. It’s my time to recharge and connect to my heart. I can’t be a good partner without it. Sometimes I’ll enjoy my alone time more than being with my man, and sometimes I’ll be craving time with him and I’ll think I never want this to end, I only need him and nothing else! The truth is we need balance. And to look the lie in the eyes that says you shouldn’t need alone time, and put it in its place.

        Hope this helps! 🙂

  • UnforcedRhythmsOfGrace

    Is all anxiety fear that can be worked through? Is there a point if i dont have a “knowing” deep in my “knower” (that oatmeal love feeling) that hes a good fit for me? My bf and i have been together nearly 3yrs, mostly long distance. Hell be here soon after 11months of not being together and anxiety is through the roof rather than the excitement i want to feel. He doesnt meet ANY fantasies of the kind of man i imagined for myself, which can feel disappointing and unfulfilling in anxious times, yet his core essence is so mich more than i could have ever hoped for. For me theres just one dealbreaker that im not seeing any changes in that i think keeps me from relaxing into the relationship. Is that relationship anxiety or a legit “sign” hes not the man for me?

      • UnforcedRhythmsOfGrace

        I so appreciate you asking. It’s around our definitions of spirituality and how differently each causes us to approach & interact with the world around us. I see my bf rationally trying to understand where I’m coming from (cause it’s way more important to me), but as long as his heart isn’t engaged I feel a disconnect that taints even his many beautiful aspects. (It’s a dealbreaker because that deeper heart connection = security to me.)
        The month bf will be spending here will be for us to decide our future. The anxiety (which is woven with decades of fear around mistrusting men with my heart, which this relationship has exposed) is screaming for guarantees in what has been a giant leap of faith for me… and there are none.
        What is the hope I can hold to in all of this?

        • I encourage you to approach this month together with as much open-heartedness as possible, which means that you focus on giving and moving toward him as much as possible, despite your fear, as opposed to “finding an answer.” Trying to figure out an answer is the quickest way to shut down our heart! Have you taken the Open Your Heart course? If so, it would be the ideal time to review the emails and lessons, and if not I encourage you to join this round.

          • UnforcedRhythmsOfGrace

            Thank you(!) for your encouragement and refocusing. I know deep-down “towardness” is the best path to choose, but it bolsters to hear it from someone who walks it out. My heart is SO willing to go there. (I’ve also been revisiting Brene Brown’s “Daring Greatly”. I claim that “wholeheartedness” for myself… and for all your readers.)
            I had looked at taking the course this round, but bf and I will be wandering in (literal) wilderness for nearly 3wks of it, ie. no internet. May it be a month of significant breakthrough for all of the participants, and may you be hugely encouraged in your life & in the work you do on our behalf. So thankful for your voice in our figurative wilderness 🙂

  • MLoves


    I have recently realized that I am completely out of the Infatuation Phase of my relationship (which was THREE YEARS!) and it is terrifying me. I feel indifferent, bored, annoyed at some things that I never noticed, etc towards my partner. I’m really finding it hard to have fun or be happy with him and my doubts seem endless. The times I do feel the love are extremely limited now and sometimes follow with guilt. I used to be so attached to him, that I wouldn’t want to go anywhere without him because of my separation anxiety. Now, it scares me that I’m okay (sometimes relieved) doing things on my own and not wanting to come home to him ASAP. I’m so worried I’m losing feelings for the man I consider ‘the love of my life’…

  • Angela

    Hi Sheryl,
    As you know I have fallen off tracks lately and I am going through the breakfree course again. It has once again helped me to use the tools again that have worked in these past 5 years. Today I was feeling tired and depressed, lonely because I am not working, I went to a job interview and stayed in a shopping centre for 3 hours so i can be surrounded by people. I felt lost in thought, spoke to a family sitting next to me. When I left and i got to our beautiful home, I felt the symptoms of anxiety. I started to speak out loudly to myself. I am happy with my life, happy in my marriage. I will not leave , i will keep going i will stay here i belong here. Then my husband walked through the door and I showed him I was happy, but inside i was in anxiety mode, i felt the heaviness in my chest. We spoke about our day i told him im feeling good, then all of sudden my anxiety diminished completely. I didnt let the anxiety take over. I took ownership. You all can do this if we hang in there and do the work, it will shift instantly. Practise is key.

  • Northernlass

    So I am on holiday with my partner and I feel like I’ve had a revelation. When I’m endlessly obsessing over whether my partner isn’t really right for me, or doesn’t make me feel ‘alive’ all the time, or wondering if I’m only staying because of X,Y or Z reasons, I think deep down I’m afraid that my partner is the one who is thinking to leave me because of these reasons. It’s like I turn my fear around somehow, so as to make it less painful to look at. Wondering if my partner is ‘good’ enough for me feels a lot more lofty and in control than the vulnerability of being afraid I’m not good enough for him.

    Also for Ariel: I’ve had the same kind of feelings before. In my case I know it’s because being around my bf can trigger my relationship anxiety which of course makes me sometimes not want to be around him (which can morph into a feeling of flatness.) My partner isn’t perfect but he’s loving and always wants to grow with me (a.k.a no red flags) so I know it’s not because the relationship is the issue. Even though I keep questioning it. At least,the majority of the time I have that deep, soul-felt, oatmeal feeling. Even if I can’t always feel it or see it when the thoughts and anxiety cloud it!!

  • MLoves

    Thank you so much Sheryl.

    Did anyone else feel like they were almost grieving over the Infatuation Phase being over? I cry almost everyday thinking about it, and I feel like I’m running out of love with my boyfriend of over three years. It is really terrifying me. I just do not feel the same for him.

  • K

    What to do when you keep revisiting past hurts?.. We both have hurt each other in the past, but have really woken up and tried to Address our issues. Both have shown actions of complete commitment. There was a lot of grieving. And there were phases where we felt just right and definitely connected. It’s just that whenever I start to feel okay, I self sabotage myself, dig up the past and it’s all back to square one. How do I break out of this loop?

  • Pete

    Thank you, Sheryl, for continuing to share your ideas with us. I have been reading your posts for years and have taken one of your courses. And while the themes in your writings are often similar, it’s always a gift to be reminded of them in different contexts.

    • Thank you, Pete. I find that we all need to be reminded of the same themes in life over and over again as our egos cling quite tenaciously to the safe and familiar – albeit unhealthy – mindsets.

  • Yvonne

    I feel I’ve been doing better recently but I have to ask, I’m going to a different workplace tomorrow to learn something new in their store and I keep thinking “what if the guy that is training me is really good looking and I like him” and I had that thought last night and this morning before I went on a training course today. Is this all a part of intrusive thoughts and rocd? Does anyone else get this?

  • doubtfulmind

    I feel like I love my boyfriend but I’m not in love with him. I’m really scared about that because then what’s the point of being him romantically? Why have him as my boyfriend if I’m not in love with him? What even is being “in love” with someone? What’s the difference between being in love and loving someone? I’m really sad and confused about all of this and I’d appreciate any input that anyone has

  • Anna

    Hi Sheryl,
    Thanks for these (and other!) articles, which I follow regularly. Recently my girlfriend of 14 months broke up with me suddenly, sobbingly, listing out all the things she loves about me and that work well, and crying in between each one to say how much she loves me and will miss me. Despite over a month having passed, I feel alternately numb, devastated, confused, … (normal feelings, yes). She said that she felt that things had been going well between us, but could not shake the feelings alternately of “not being into it enough” (she said that she loves to see me the 3 or so times per week, and to call me every night to unpack the day, but that she’s content with this. Should she want more than this, she said, and I’ve wondered too?), and of the feeling that, like a sword of Damocles hanging over us, we would eventually break up, and should not then we break up now while it’s good so that we hurt less? She also noted that we have different forms of humor (but we started laughing together as she noted this, bc we do in some ways, and yet at a basic level we find one another amusing.) Is having trouble seeing someone in the future a problem, even if you want to be with three in the continuing present? We both voiced wanting more years together, wanting to be in each other’s lives for the future, but struggled with the uncertainty of whether we could “see” a lifelong partnership. If one wants to be with a person, and yet still is uncertain about the perpetual future, what does one do? I feel strongly that these quandaries reside in an anxiety realm, however, … such feelings brought her to break up with me. How does one progress when heartbroken? I wish that I had a solid reason for our breaking up, or felt in summary that it was “the right” thing. Instead I feel that we were growing something meaningful together, and for whatever reason it was cut short. How does one proceed? I still have relationship anxiety on occasion (what brought me to your website initially) whenever I consider the possible reasons that she could genuinely not have loved me, and that those could indicate that I’ve lost her for good. However I can’t seem to shake the feeling that I haven’t lost her for good. We have so much in common, and she listed so many firsts together (we’ve learned a lot, communicate well, have such meaningfully connected intimate times, and enjoy sharing the often-mundane nightly updates. How does one progress, feeling so strongly like breaking up was not the right thing to do for perpetuity? If I can imagine that what will happen in this “cocoon” time apart (what she said she needed) is the best for us, then I can feel grateful for the time to sort out our indivial emotions and lives. Breaking up made me aware of the areas on which I am deeply discontent with and uncertain of the future of my career, and desire to have more efficacy in the present world. Suddenly I realized that such underlying feelings at times kept me from being intellectually vulnerable with her this year (an important vulnerability for us both). If I can surmise that we will be together again, I can appreciate the time to hear myself and grow in these areas, to become more resilient with myself, intellectually and financially. If one feels strongly that both oneself and one’s partner were dealing with these relational woes, and that such brought on a break up, how does one continue? How does one navigate? This has been the most meaningful, loving, low key, and healthy relationship I’ve experienced. I feel so strongly that we’re not done learning and sharing life together. Where does one go from here?

  • Anna

    If one feels at a gut level that the breakup of a loving relationship occurred due to reasons about which you write regularly here, what does one do?

    You once wrote that “what resists, persists,” yet how does one grieve the death of something that still contains life?

    • Anna

      (That “something” being the relationship. One wouldn’t expect one’s child to breathe-in the pain of a live animal along the road that was injured but otherwise healthy and could be, say, brought to a shelter and rehabilitated.)

    • If the breakup was initiated by the other partner and your partner isn’t interested in exploring the underlying reasons for the anxiety, then your work is to breathe into whatever you’re feeling right now: grief, powerlessness, loneliness, etc. The work isn’t about grieving only things that die but it’s about allowing for ALL of the feelings of life to be present and lovingly attended to.

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