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The values that have been promoted since the advent of the moving picture have sent a message to women. I have been through many wonderful love affairs; I have been through divorce and near-death illness; I have traveled the world and been on the covers of magazines. All this may sound super new-agey and self-possessed, but I can't help but fall back on that old maxim, "happiness comes from within." The worst relationship I ever had was also the most important one of my young life, in that I learned more about myself from that year-long ordeal than from any other.
Through all of this, I have come to understand that I control my ultimate happiness. I was 18, and as often happens with first love, was completely blind to the fact that I was being manipulated and taken advantage of.
Even so, the advice has stuck in my head all these years, and I still recite it to single friends who seem to have trouble making romantic relationships stick.
The point is not that you should act arrogantly or as if entitled, but that, if you act as if you have value in the world, others are more likely to treat you that way.
In the hetero world, this means letting the guy pursue you.
Which is to say, not calling too much or being too accommodating to his needs.
I think the 13th Century Persian Poet Rumi sums up love so eloquently.
Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but I still think that, in the early days of a relationship, the onus falls on the opposite sex.The best advice I ever got about love was from my grandmother, right before I got married.She said, "Marriage goes through cyclical phases, it's almost like the movements of planets.Sometimes you're so close, the two of you, your orbits are in synch, and sometimes you move so far away from each other, you feel you'll never reconnect, never reenter each other's orbits, you're too far apart. I never forgot this advice; we moved far away from each other many times, and I waited it out, and sure enough, we came back into synch again.
The trick to marriage is having faith in the reconnection, waiting for the inevitable closeness again." This was in 1994. And then at the end, we moved too far apart to ever reenter each other's orbits, out of each other's fields of gravity, and that's when I knew it was over. The best advice about love I got from my father, Michael Rockland.
My mother, Ingrid Teichner, always said "to love is to be happy with.". That is my advice to myself in midlife, seeking love.