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Dear Gramps,
I was married to a man for almost 11 years. We actually dated since the time I was 16 years old. We divorced back in 2005. I think part of the problem for me was that I got married young and never got to live on my own and experience life and make my own decisions. I think we also just grew apart from one another. My ex became career oriented and I felt like he was no longer interested in me. We struggled to communicate and fought constantly. This was part of the cause of the divorce.
Anyway, fast forward now, I had gotten myself involved in dating a married man who was 16 years older then me. He said he lived a polygamy lifestyle and his wife knew and accepted his lifestyle. We dated for more than a year and I realized that this was not what I really wanted. I realized that I am kidding myself trying to date a married man who I could only have on a part time basis. Problem for me was that I fell in love with him. I’d break up with him but it took so much courage to let him go. He didn’t want to lose me either. He said he wanted me to live with him and his wife but I couldn’t see doing that. I wanted more from the relationship and he couldn’t give me that. I still do love my ex but I don’t feel the same passion for him. I do feel that in the back of my mind we should still be together. But I don’t feel he’s my “soul mate”. I think the married man is. What are your thoughts?,
Trudie, from Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey

Answer

 

Dear Trudie,
Item A. you can’t have it all. Item B. Indeed, life is more than fun and games, i.e., self satisfaction. True happiness is really very elusive. Most people go through life searching for it in all the wrong places. I know the old saw, “You can’t buy happiness with money, but you can’t buy anything without it.” The truth is that happiness has nothing to do with possession, or security, or indeed with trying to satisfy personal needs. That is why most of the people in the world are basically unhappy, spending their lives searching fruitlessly in the all the wrong places. And then when they don’t find the happiness that they are seeking, they put the blame on those around them for not fulfilling their expectations. You were divorced from your first husband because you wanted something from him that he was unable or unwilling to give. The second fanciful relationship was an attempt to find happiness by filling the void left from your first relationship. And if you had gone into that one—!!! From the frying pan into the fire! Your troubles would only have mounted. So what is the solution?
The key to being happy is to forget about being happy!! If you were to devote yourself to the great and noble task of trying to make others happy–and to do that solely for the purpose of making others happy–i.e., no thought of recognition or reward–the most ideal situation would to be anonymous in what you do–you would find the happiness, satisfaction and fulfillment that now appear elusive to you. As you practice doing this, people will fall in love with you!! You will become a most desired prize–not by those who are attempting to satisfy their own needs and selfish wants, but by those who admire kindness, graciousness and a loving spirit.
So the solution to your problem is not easy. Actually, it requires a complete make-over. But as you embark on such a journey you will find jewels along the way that will encourage you on. When you see the effects of your selfless love in bringing happiness to others, you will find a peace, a fulfillment and a happiness beyond understanding, and a new direction in your life that will take you where you really want to go.

 

Gramps

 

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