Last week we got a phone call from our friend. She sounded devastated. She ran into the guy she had a crush on for the past few months. They went on three dates, had a strong connection and talked about the future. On the third date he expressed that he just got out of a long relationship. She assured him that they could take it day by day and see what happens — no pressure. This was just before the holidays and they both left to see their families.
They kept in touch, but it was obvious that he was distant and when both were back in town he did not make any attempt to see her. Finally there was no contact at all. So when she ran into him at the bar after three months, and would not even approach her to say hi, she decided to go up to him and confront him. She asked if it had anything to do with her, or with something she did. He assured her that it wasn’t her, that simply he wasn’t ready to date yet. Our friend felt like he just stabbed her with a knife. Even though he gave her the “it’s not you it’s me” excuse, her ego was wounded.
We wonder, is closure really necessary or should actions, or lack thereof, imply the truth of the matter? After all, when a person is shutting you out, chances are they’re not interested. No matter how many dates, or time spent together. No matter how strong of a connection we felt. When we rely on common sense we know that if a person is interested, they will show it. So why do we keep knocking at someone’s door when he or she is clearly not available? And worst of all, why are we spending so much of our energy trying to get through a locked door?
The answer is one that applies to every aspect of our lives. We always seek answers because we hold on to the belief that knowledge gives us control, and with that power. When we have answers we have an idea about our future and can plan. We always want something stable to hold on to because we can’t be comfortable with uncertainty. Like monkeys, we only let go of one branch when we can hold on to the next, therefore we need to have that new branch in sight, or else we risk falling.
However, when we live our lives that way we are always depending on outside circumstances, and the irony of that is we are never truly in control because we can’t control anything or anyone, and therefore we set ourselves up to be victims and ultimately to be unhappy.
In our friend’s case the situation was very clear, at least to everyone around her. The guy just got out of a long relationship, and was not open to let someone new in. It could very well be that he felt the strong connection that she felt, but it takes two to tango and if one party is scared to dance because they tripped recently then it’s their own inner battle they need to fight.
Deep down our friend knew this truth, but she was still thinking about him, and couldn’t really move on until she heard those very words directly from him. It didn’t really make her feel better. It was more like a slap in the face. It hurt. The good news is, now that she has her answer and all hope of ever being with him died, she can move on. The bad news is, she didn’t get any new information, other than his reassurance of what she already assumed. Moreover, she had spent three months obsessing about someone who wasn’t available, and frankly, not interested.
While the truth hurts, when we accept that we cannot control other people, moreover when we know our own value, we don’t spend another day thinking about someone who is not giving us the time of day, hoping that they might come back. You should always ask yourself whether you really want someone who makes you feel insecure. When someone is not ready for love, they are battling their own demons, they are suffering and need to heal. It has nothing to do with us, there is simply no space for us in their lives and they really just need to figure things out on their own. All you can do is give them that space.
The general rule is eight weeks. It is said that men need eight weeks to process their feelings and think. If they come back to you, they were always yours. If you don’t hear from them, they moved on and so should you! Don’t wonder why, don’t blame yourself, just accept, let go and send them love and light. Trust the bigger plan, the universe. Everything is taking its natural course, and the only reason we become unhappy is when we go against that natural current, and hold on to the past, an ideal we have created in our minds.
Exercise: Comfortable with uncertainty
Close your eyes. Watch your thoughts, don’t judge them, don’t fixate on them, simply observe. For every fearful thought, bring in a positive affirmation like: “Even though I don’t understand what’s going on, I can handle the outcome, no matter what’s coming”.
Remember all the times you felt uncertain in the past, and how it worked itself out in the end. Think about all the times when you had no plan and ended up being pleasantly surprised by an amazing outcome.
This exercise is about slowing down your thoughts, and taking off the edge. The goal is to experience uncertainty and get familiar with it until we can get to a point of embracing uncertainty and maybe even look forward to what is to come. After all, the most wonderful things in life are always unexpected.
Uncertainty can be our friend when we surrender to it. We cannot control the future, it is not real. All we can do is enjoy our journey there and trust that with uncertainty comes a bigger opportunity for something we can’t even grasp yet.
So ladies and gentlemen, embrace the unknown and remember, all is well.
Simone is pursuing her master’s degree in clinical psychology and serves on the Commission for the Senior Community. She prides herself on having had more marriage proposals than shoes. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. In her inner circle, Limor, a screenwriter, is known as the “wing woman” and her cell number has become the hotline for dating advice. You can reach her at email@example.com.