Why he broke up with you

If you have to wonder why you were broken up with, there probably isn’t a reason. You didn’t do anything or say anything the wrong way; it may simply have been time for the relationship to end.

Cupid shoots his arrow, and he takes it away.

My favorite passage from one of my favorite books has to do with heartbreak. The book is called We’ve Had a Hundred Years of Psychotherapy and the World’s Getting Worse, and the conversation is between the psychologist James Hillman and the writer Michael Ventura:

HILLMAN: Then she realized that what love is all about is heartbreak. And when you realize that what love is all about is heartbreak, you’re all right. But if you think it’s about fulfillment, happiness, satisfaction, union, all of that stuff, you’re in for even more heartbreak.

VENTURA: Well, love is a very funny place to go for safety.

HILLMAN: A very funny place to go for safety.

VENTURA: You get totally vulnerable and infantile with somebody you’re in love with, you’re vulnerable to their moods, their needs. And you become more vulnerable to yourself, your own needs. Things you didn’t guess were inside you will come out with a loved one, including the fact that you have needs that no one can possibly satisfy.

HILLMAN: The thing is that two people do go to love for safety, safety for their vulnerability. Both people want to be vulnerable, but as long as you’re open and vulnerable nothing is safe. They want safety for their vulnerability, but because of their vulnerability they can’t be safe.

VENTURA: My friend George Howard said a very disturbing thing to me in Austin. He said, “The Self is hostile to love. It will not long tolerate that preoccupation.”

HILLMAN: It’s got a lot of other things to do, that’s the point.

VENTURA: Anyway, the reason you’re with this certain person, this certain lover, is not about love, or at least it’s not about ‘having a good relationship.’ You’re with this person because your soul is hungry for them, your soul is seeking something with or through them, and it will insist on what it wants. It doesn’t care what price YOU pay for that; the ego-driven, agenda-ridden you is not your soul’s priority. The nice thing about getting older is that you learn to pay some prices more gracefully, but the soul doesn’t care. The soul is absolutely merciless–toward you, and toward anybody around you. The soul doesn’t give a damn about human values.

HILLMAN: The Gods do not care. That’s the basic old Greek idea, that the Gods do not care about that kind of human concern. Our happiness, our security doesn’t interest the Gods.

VENTURA: God has all of eternity to play with, and all the worlds, so . . . God doesn’t care about the price.

We are creatures of limited means, so I suppose we can’t be blamed for worrying about the price.

HILLMAN: What is the price of love? T.S. Eliot says, ‘Costing not less than everything.’ So one of the things you begin to see is, what gets sacrificed in love is love.

VENTURA: Ohhhhhhhhhhh.

HILLMAN: Ohhhhhhhh.

You think you’re bringing a lot of sacrifices to it, but the sacrifice demanded, the ultimate sacrifice, is the sacrifice of love itself. All your notions of love–that’s what’s given up. Your idea of love, what you’ve thought of love, what you expect from love, what you cling to as love–this is what you give up.” (p. 162).

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