Getting stuck in the familiar

QUESTION: Masters, I have finally managed to cut all ties with a man with whom I had an emotionally destructive relationship for 4 years. I’ve tried breaking off the relationship before but never managed to follow through as my feelings for him kept me hoping that circumstances would change.  This time I feel more confident that it is finally over. I am much stronger, but I still experience this longing in my heart for him. My problem is that it feels as if my heart is closed to any other, and that my feelings for him are standing in my way of finding true love again. Do you have any suggestions how I can open up my heart to others again? I’ve been seeing someone else on and off for a while now, and I sense that he is just as hurt as I am and that we are a comfort for each other. I just don’t want my feelings for the other man to stand in the way, should something more develop between me and the man I am seeing.  ~Nina, South Africa

ANSWER: You are in a washing machine of emotions, sloshing around between your dreamed-for relationship,  an emotionally destructive one, and a totally dysfunctional one. You are stuck in the familiar feelings of being with a man regardless of how he is treating you or whether you get anything out of the union because you fear being alone.

It is time to decide exactly what it is that you want. Do you want any man as long as he satisfies your physical needs, at least part of the time? Do you want a man who cries on your shoulder, as you cry on his, comparing emotional horror stories? Or are you ready to have a fulfilling relationship where you share yourself with someone who is not playing games and wants to share himself with you? Or do you maybe need some time alone to access your feelings and work through the lessons you have been experiencing? You have total freedom of choice.

The whole equation begins with how you feel about yourself and what you think you deserve. You have trouble loving yourself so you don’t think a man should love you without strings attached—such as emotional abuse or control issues. Ask why you have these worthiness issues. It is one of your life lessons. Understand that you are as worthy as any other soul in the universe and you have learned that lesson so that you may move on.

Bring self-love into your life. You are a marvelous soul and deserve the very best—settle for nothing less. Allow into your life only men who are balanced in their emotional life and want to share with a woman, not control her. You cling to the past because there was some satisfaction in it. Choose whether that is what you want in the future or not. If it is not, then cut loose of the attachment (the need to have the familiar around even when it is destructive) and begin fresh.