Dear Paulo, I met this great guy who’s been married 18 years. We’ve been planning on moving in together, but he’s messed up emotionally. He says he’s in love with me but also loves his wife ... and said he has obligations to his kids too. Now she is keeping him a prisoner in his own home, monitoring every move he makes, and every call he gets. Please help. ~ Barbara
On an intellectual level, this is easy ... you have to let go of your attachment to this guy. But letting go, of course, is easier said than emotionally done! He is seriously (and understandably) conflicted, which makes him emotionally unavailable for the kind of intimate connection you desire. He may be into you, but no matter how much you like each other, “He’s just not available!” And, if ever he is to break his marital agreement, it must be solely of his own volition, none of your doing. So, there is nothing for you to do but let go.
You have developed a strong emotional attachment and, unfortunately, like the high from a drug, you are going to have to go through a hangover period—from which you will surely emerge intact. Withdrawals are not fun. Hopefully you will come out of it learning an important lesson about the primal importance of availability.
If a person can’t figure out a way to be with you, he is an awful choice to get involved with. No matter what all the reasons are, getting hooked by an unavailable person is a terrific formula for personal pain.
I’m sorry about the pain, but you need to accept your pain in order to suffer less. Go through the letting go process and free yourself to look elsewhere (when you are ready). When someone is unavailable—for any reason, physical or emotional—there’s hardly ever anything that you can do about it. Just learn to choose more carefully in the future. It’s a profound wisdom all relationship-seekers can use—to make, “Is he/she available?” the first possible-deal-killer question we ask, right off the bat.
Paulo, I have been struggling with the loss of my daughter Melissa, who was murdered by her second cousin over 5 yrs ago and I still can’t seem to communicate with her or really come to terms with her death ... but sometimes I feel she is near me. I would also really like to know what really happened that day and if everyone is in prison that should be. ~ Heather
Heather, I know it’s easier to recommend this than to actually do it, but you do need to let go -- not only for your own peace of mind, but also arguably for Melissa’s sake. A great spiritual teacher, Mataji Indra Devi, once taught me that the deceased need us to stop hanging on, so as to release her soul to move forward. According to this point of view, your attachment is not helping her, or you.
When you think of Melissa, try to see her as “blissed out,” as in a better place, a higher dimension. It’s not our job to know all the reasons things happen ... we cannot. Our assignment is to do our best to accept that there are good reasons that are simply beyond our understanding. Meanwhile, please read a book on grieving and/or see a grief counselor. It’s worth the time and trouble.
As for the perpetrators, the exacting of justice is not your job ... nor would it make you feel much better even if you could make it happen ... that is a false hope. You have better things to do, including the spiritual effort to free yourself from the tragedy and grief and move on with your own life. Don’t worry about justice ... rest assured that in the long run, nobody really gets away with anything. If you set yourself up as judge, you are only creating negative karma for yourself. And, as long as you remain obsessed, you are creating the “instant karma” of adding more suffering (i.e. your own) to that of the world.
Paul O’Brien is a spiritual counselor and founder of Tarot.com and the Divination Foundation. He is also the host of Pathways Radio (KBOO, 90.7 FM, Portland, Oregon), an interview program focused on personal and cultural transformation. He is also author of the books “Visionary I Ching” and “Divination”, as well as the Decision Maker’s Corner, a blog dedicated to helping teach people enlightened decision making.
Want to get Paulo’s Perspective on a dilemma or big question in your life right now? Send your questions.