Dear Neil: In the past few years, I have had several different relationships with me that seem to follow the same pattern. The man is hot, and the relationship starts out with great interest, enthusiasm, hope, chemistry and passion. But after awhile, I seem to lose that enthusiasm and begin to notice a variety of differences between us: we like different music, have different interests, different political view points, different styles of behaving, different ways of looking at things.
I have been repeatedly told how attractive and sexually appealing I am, and I have had men fall for me hard. But I don’t have the same feelings for them that they feel for me, so eventually I wind up ending our relationship. I know I’ve hurt men badly, but I’m not trying to. I’m looking to fall in love but it doesn’t happen. Why? With all these men who offer love, shouldn’t some of this help me in loving them back?
No Love in London, England
Dear No Love: You’re not recognizing that love isn’t out there, in men. It’s in here. In you.
Someone else, no matter how hot, isn’t going to make you fall in love. It’s about you—what you share of yourself, what you give, what you feel, what you offer. It’s about you opening up and giving your heart, sharing your world, your history, your vulnerabilities and sensitivities, your disappointments, hopes, dreams and goals—and also being interested in his.
You falling in love has far less to do with a man than most men would be comfortable in knowing. Your love is not about, and not dependent on, what is attractive, appealing or wonderful about someone else—regardless of what you would like to believe. Your love is also not related to whether a man falls in love with you, although that can be a great incentive. You falling in love does not occur because someone is so loveable, irresistible or sweet. And it’s not about what he does to assist you in loving him, either.
You falling in love is about you being ready, willing and able to open your heart, emotions, spirit and inner world to someone else. Showing him you. It’s about you and your readiness to love, not about him or how loveable, sweet, hot, adorable or loving he is back.
You’re hoping the feelings will rub off on you—that you’ll feel a deep passionate connection because a man will, in essence, give it to you. But love doesn’t work that way. You can’t get it vicariously, it won’t rub off on you and no one else can give it to you.
You’re holding your heart out of your relationships with men. Your heart is protected, guarded and insulated. Very attractive people—men and women both—frequently have this dilemma because they get hit on so often, they’ve developed a way to protect themselves. But there is no energy or joy in being so protected, and in the end you wind up feeling empty, lonely and disconnected from what you yearn for.
Give your heart to someone. That’s the only way you’re going to love.