-- Question for John --
I was dating my soulmate for two years. We both grew a lot with each other and despite his hurting me, we still agreed that we were one another’s soulmates because of that “connection” we all talk about. However, he met another woman and told me he was in love with her and that she is everything he has ever wanted from a woman.
A lot of our issues with one another were his “issues” with women. His ex wife cheated on him, his mother abandoned him and so on. He told me that I am the one woman he has actually been able to trust and love, but that we should only be friends because he is not ready for a committed relationship. I hesitantly agreed. We chose to be friends and and agreed that because we were soulmates, we would be able to conquer all obstacles with one another because of the deep love we have for one another.
Now that he is with this other woman he stopped making plans with me and talking to me. I was shocked and hurt. Not only because he only knew the girl for a week, but because he told me he was not ready to be in a relationship. He is totally committed to her.
They have been together for almost two months now and are inseparable. About a month ago, I told him I was not going to be able to keep in contact with him because it hurt too much to see him be and talk about another woman in the manner that he did. I stayed away, I didn’t call, didn’t email and about two weeks later he called me telling me that his roommate misses me…
He then emails me telling me “I love you more than anything” However, he is still with this woman. How can he love me more than anything and be with another woman? How can he be so “in love” with this woman after only knowing her for two months? Why does he tell me things of this sort while remaining with this other woman? What am I to do?
-- Answer from John --
This sounds like a pretty complicated situation and to fully understand it would take some work and getting to a deeper level of honesty and truth with both of you. So I can really only talk in vague generalities. I am assuming you were seeing him for two years and were doing emotional support — perhaps you primarily supporting him? — and because of his issues, keeping it on a friendship level and off a romantic, committed, in the flesh level. That’s a setup right there. Hope you don’t fall for it again. It implies a relationship that is only going to be about emotional healing and you providing him security in which to do that. But it is not about getting hot for one another or letting the fullness of a sexual relationship blossom and go where that risky endeavor will take you both. He apparently was not ready for the risk and was looking instead for the safety and emotional healing of what you were willing to offer. That, in fact, IS a kind of soulmate relationship. A platonic one. Or, even if there was sexuality involved to a point, a primarily emotional connection without the full unrestrained sexual element involved.
At some point, he was ready for risk — and apparently felt it had to be the externally-inspired by the “new and unobtained one” on whom he could project his fantasies and get entirely turned on from whatever those projections were. Unfortunately for you, this requires an entirely new and unknown person. He already had history and depth with you. So there was far too much risk overload for him to open full throttle sexually with you. It’s easy to do that with a stranger, because not only do you not really know who they are yet — which frees you to make them up to be whomever your fantasy requires — but there’s the added advantage that there is really nothing to lose — because you are also not attached. You, on the other hand, there was something to lose, because he was attached.
I know this all sounds backwards — but people fall “in love” often with new, unknown other people because they do not have to “love” the actual person — since they do not even know the actual person — but they can enter a mutual fantasy and in that, open themselves up to temporarily free their bound up sexuality and “do it” with each other. I say temporarily free, because sooner or later, that honeymoon period is finished and the next stage of relating arrives, which serves up the challenges, risks, fears and demands of creating a real relationship with a real other person. And thus at that juncture, the requirement is to move from being “in love” — which is actually a very passive stance, i.e. you are “in” something else, like a piece of cheese in a sandwich — to “love” — which is actually a very active stance, where you face and meet the real challenges of the real world.
Many relationships do not make it when the honeymoon is over, because many people in our society mistake the passively given feelings of “in love” for “this is the real thing” — and when those passively given feelings, based on fantasy, finally roll over due to the ending of that phase of relationship, they then conclude they are “out of love” and the game is over — and it’s time to go looking for that “in love” thing again with some other fantasy.
He says he still loves you because there has been absolutely nothing in his life which has come up to change that. He does love you. But does that mean the two of you are going to have a future in a full-socketed sexual relationship? Not necessarily at all. It may be that he is perfectly demonstrating an all too common split that a human of either gender is capable of maintaining within themselves, between their heart and their sexual forms of love. He loves you. He’s “in love” with her. Sounds very common. The stereotype of this is the guy who loves his wife and has hot sex with his mistress. This enables him to maintain the split inside himself between heart and genitals.
So that is my vague, generalized answer to your first set of questions. It may be close to some elements of what is going on here. Or it may just be a very good example of what possibly could be going on. To get to the more interesting depth of it, I would have to interview you and him, like in a counseling scenario. And whether the situation would end up as I paint it above or not, it is still clear that on some level or other he is split. He is not unified and congruent. Part of him is with her. Part of him loves you. That is his problem to solve.
What’s your problem to solve here? Right out of the gate, I’d say it’s whether you want to be with someone who is split in his ability to love or not. I generally advise it best to keep things clean, clear and simple. I generally recommend that people totally complete their emotional attachment with a past partner — move through the grief and healing of that completely — hopefully having spent a significant part of that process alone and not in the arms of an emotional care-taker — and then when their heart opens again to a fresh possibility of love, go forward from an absolutely clean slate — with no third parties that linger on in some form of attachment.
But life is not always so simple. And things are not always so black and white. To the extent that you can choose your own path, at least consider the general guidelines I am suggesting above.
If you have any further questions, please get back to me. And let me know in time how things are going for you.