There's a song by Akron/Family that I've been listening to everyday for about a week now. The lyrics go "Don't be afraid, it's only love. Don't be afraid, it's only love. Love is simple."
Love is f*cking simple.
But it sure ain't easy. And you know why it's not easy? Because we make it harder on ourselves than it has to be. We take something beautiful and we piss all over it. I'm about 85% sure Thich Nhat Hanh said that.
If you're anything like me, you have a giant ego to go along with your giant heart and your incredible fashion sense.
And our ego complicates the sh*t out of our love lives. Egos can't stand to be ignored. They love scheming and plotting and scandal. Worst of all, they'll do anything, and I mean anything to look good.
Our egos are little Blair Waldorfs running amok on the Upper East Side of our personalities. If you have no idea what that means, a) start watching Gossip Girl and b) it doesn't matter, you get the idea.
Luckily, there's a secret to lasting love, or at least to love lasting more than a week:
It's to put our Blair Waldorfs aside and know that if we are suffering, we are 100% responsible for our own pain.
I don't care if your boyfriend slept with every one of your sorority sisters on the night that you were in the hospital having his baby. I don't care if he slept with every one of your real sisters on the night you were in the hospital having the breast augmentation he convinced you to get instead of going to college.
Of course you're hurt and angry. Honor that. It's not your fault that he did this. But how you choose to respond to the situation is all up to you.
You could resent him forever and carry a bowling ball of hate inside your gut. You could ask yourself if you had anything to do with his dalliances. You could take it personally and get revenge. You could see it as an opportunity to confront your jealousy. You could have a televised threesome with his boss and his sister. You could never love again.
But here's the best news you've heard all week: If you are the problem, then you are also the solution.
It's not our broken hearts that bring us pain, it's our bruised egos.
I hear it all the time in my practice: "They MADE me feel _______ "I wouldn't have _______ if they hadn't MADE me do it." "I only slept with their _______ because they slept with my _______"
The Buddha recognized that suffering comes from our habits of mind in responding to pain. Not from the pain itself. Agreed, Buddha.
I know this is a jagged little pill to swallow. It's incredibly reasonable to try to sniff out the enemy. Logic follows that if we locate the problem, perhaps we can get rid of it. But we're pointing fingers in the wrong direction.
This doesn't mean condoning or putting up with behavior that is abusive or unacceptable. It also doesn't mean that you get to beat yourself up for everything. What I am saying is that when we stop feeling victimized by life and controlled by what other people "do" to us, a couture-worthy closet worth of options opens up to us.
We can move from reactivity to response.
Responses like, leaving your boyfriend and finding someone who's not so much into binge cheating... Or imagining that he is probably in pain too... Or going to couples therapy... Or realizing that despite your current devastation, you can respond in a way that doesn't make things worse for you.
Osho notes "When you are empty, there is love. When you are full of the ego, love disappears. Love and ego cannot exist together."
That is exactly why Chuck and Blair have such a difficult time getting along! They can't put their egos aside long enough to realize they are they are the most perfect match since Kermit and Miss Piggy.
I know it's hard, but next time somebody tells you that you're a poor man's Gerard Depardieu, you can have a shitty day, or you can make it really really simple for yourself, and just say "Merci!"
Lonely Forever? No way.