Originally published at: YourTango.com Photo credit: Your Tango Make heartbreak work for you.
By Cristina Conti
Edited by Lisa Coutras and Alessandra Conti
Unrequited love: the bane of British poet laureates and brooding boy bands since the dawn of time. It seems that everyone experiences it at some time in their lives, but why? Does the despair commingled with ephemeral moments of joy have a purpose other than funding neighborhood Ben & Jerry’s?
Take a look at two totally different women from completely different centuries, both dealing with the same issue: current Matchmakers In The City Bachelorette Katie as well as Michal, the original Heiress, from the oldest book in the world, the Bible.
Meet Michal: dark-haired, refined, and the daughter of the king. Michal falls madly in love with David, a mighty soldier who has defeated the enemy’s strongest man. With his chiseled features and dreamy blue eyes, David is a heart-throb who all of the women love. In this ancient 4th century BC story, Michal and David start a relationship, but the tables turn in the kingdom, and David is forced to escape from the palace.
Michal waits for a letter, but David ghosts her. After a while, feeling betrayed and losing her patience, she moves onto another relationship. When David finally comes back to the kingdom a few years later, he wants Michal back. Michal agrees to this and leaves her current man although David had already betrayed her. At the time, it was customary for kings to have other wives, and David has many. This may have contributed to Michal’s jealousy and spite after they get back together. She holds a deep grudge of bitterness that ends up poisoning the relationship. She dies childless and resentful.
Fast forward a few thousand years where we meet Katie: slender, intelligent, and poised. Katie starts to date smoldering, dark-eyed Jared the spring of her second year living in LA. She immediately connects to his passionate spirit, witty texts, and Alpha male, take charge attitude. Every time that she has a date with him, she feels excited the entire day and loves to spend hours getting all dolled up for him. He brings her to the most romantic, candlelit restaurants in the city where she relishes in wearing her sexiest dresses, and he whispers compliments to her between courses. She starts to fall for him, although she feels bothered by his frequent comments about his ex-girlfriend, his negativity about his job, and his pressure to get physical. Regardless of this, she continues to see him; she feels attached to him and despairs at the thought of letting him go.
Eventually, Jared disappears for a week. Afraid that she did something wrong, Katie calls him and leaves a sweet voicemail. Silence. After waiting a few days, she mourns the relationship and realizes the telltale signs of Jared’s immaturity despite his years. She decides to take time off of dating to focus on her spirituality and relationship with God; she wants to prepare herself to recognize the right man and prevent herself from another who mystifies her like Jared. A few weeks later, Jared writes her an apologetic text for his behavior, a plea for her to take him back. Although tempted to throw away the work that she did on herself to have him hold her in his arms again, she responds politely, but curtly, and ends their communication.
Unlike the 4th century BC story, Katie has a second chance and uses it instead of wallowing in her bitterness. Rather than coasting along as a victim of circumstance, she takes charge of her romantic life through growing deeper in relationship with God. Now she is in a serious relationship with a man with whom she feels both passion and security. She feels stable and happy at the same time, a combination that she had yet to experience with any men in the past, especially Jared.
Both Michal and Katie experience the beauty of a deep connection with a man who leaves them vulnerable. Circumstances, out of their control, take the men away from them so they have to deal with feelings of unrequited love and loss. Instead of trusting in a greater plan, however, Michal takes David back spitefully, without the necessary reconciliation. On the other hand, Katie uses her relationship as a guide to the greater plan. She chooses strength over bitterness to lead her to a man with who enriches her life.
Rather than settling for a relationship that lacks trust or true love, Katie walks forward, knowing that the deep desires in her heart were put there for a reason. Although she is unaware of what the future holds, she knows that it requires faith and imagination. It entails “belief over misery,” as @Switchfoot vindicates in their song “Home” (2008, The Chronicles of Narnia movie soundtrack). Trust that every virtuous decision leads to a place of greater joy and more fulfillment. This kind of love is frightening, but it is the only love worth the fight!