Life Advice



Single File: The End of Love

Susan Dietz on

The last scene of once-wondrous love isn't pretty. The anguish of that finale is pain I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. Yes, I was dumped by a man who had brilliantly envisioned my career but did me dirty in the realm of love. Looking back, I realize the necessary role he played in reopening my heart after the dramatic loss of my young husband ... insight that came only after years of self-inquiry and a psychic that left me roiling. But however it's rationalized, the memory will be a permanent resident of my memory bank.

If you're still hurting from your own memories, you probably can't believe there's a way to minimize the emotional meltdown we women are susceptible to. It's certainly not to stop following your heart! As I see it, the solution -- the only one I consider reliable enough to pass along -- is to maintain your own spheres of interest, your own friends, your own identity, even when -- especially when! -- there's a very good person vowing true love forever. Holding tightly to your selfhood is a way to make sure your personal universe doesn't eddy down a black hole if/when love ends. That counterbalance is crucial to keeping your emotional equilibrium in love. Not wrapping your whole life around the other person (stored in the female DNA?) is crucial to fighting the tendency to surrender your very soul in the heat of togetherness.

Behind that bit of self-sabotage is the outlandish belief that total surrender of one's identity makes it the "real thing" and anything less is delusion. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Keeping a reserve for yourself is, in truth, the ONLY way to love another person. (This may take a few more readings, but the wisdom of holding on to your life when you enter that of your love is actually an act of supreme generosity because it eases the pressure on him to be all things to you.) Besides, it makes you so much more interesting, alluring, mysterious and all those good things. Oh, one more thing: If you can't pick up and travel with him every time he asks (because of your work), there's no way he won't admire and desire you more, not to mention appreciate you more when you ARE by his side!

But all that is in the future. In real time, think back over the days immediately following the split to find a moment of calm, maybe even relief. That moment, however fleeting, when nurtured, can become the linchpin of your gradual and steady recovery!

When you wake in the morning, greet the new day with the words -- aloud or softly -- "It's over, and I'm glad." (Get up a half-hour earlier than usual to gift yourself with that mantra!) Speak the words out loud until your body actually resonates with them. Keep breathing slowly, steadily. Resist the urge to take shallow, irregular breaths.


Remind yourself that love isn't the only challenge. Once you take steps to meet new friends and find new interests, love will stop being the most important thing in your life. But tears will still come at the most unexpected times. And when they do, don't hold them in. WEEP with a vengeance. The body has its own wisdom, and when it's finished for the day, the tears will stop. The crying jags will lose intensity and gradually end.

Oh, how I wish you everything you wish for yourself and the precious people in your life.


We've uncovered another treasure trove of "Single File" paperbacks - in perfect condition, signed by Susan, ready to enjoy. Send $15 and your address: Susan Deitz, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 Third St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. Have a question for Susan? You can reach her directly at



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