In our last session I read a letter from a woman who said that she had been in many romantic relationship that had initially gone well but had all ended badly, and she wondered how to change that pattern. I described how she was TRADING Imitation Love with her partners. She was offering men sex, attracting them with all the pleasure, praise, and power that involved. Now back to the writer of the letter.
So you’ve been offering men sex, and in return you’ve been getting some combination of approval and pleasure and power and safety. But you described perfectly what happens with the effects of Imitation Love. You said it goes great for a while, but then, NOTHING. That ALWAYS happens, but in the beginning of a relationship, when we’re on that initial HIGH of flattery and pleasure and power, we manage to deceive ourselves and believe that somehow THIS TIME it really, really will be different. I’ve heard this story so many times. People call me on the phone and email me and tell me in person that they’ve met this magical someone, and this person is SO different from the last person, so they just KNOW the relationship will work out. But I know that the person they’re describing CAN’T be different. Now, how can I know that? Because the person I’m TALKING to hasn’t changed. They haven’t learned to tell the truth about themselves. They haven’t found Real Love in their lives, so I know they’re still trying to find happiness in Imitation Love. Knowing that, I KNOW that they used Imitation love to ATTRACT the person they’re describing to me. So I know that the characteristics of the person they’re describing—no matter how wonderful they sound—are just the characteristics of Imitation Love. They can’t be the characteristics of an unconditionally loving person. Impossible.
It’s as simple as this. Horses don’t eat worms. Let me explain. Let’s say that you claim that you’re trying to catch a horse, but every day you go horse hunting you go to the lake, put a worm on the end of a hook, and throw it into the water. I simply can’t believe what you’re saying, because, you see, horses don’t eat worms. If you were really trying to catch a horse, you would go to a pasture, stand there, whistle, and hold a handful of carrots or sugar cubes. Similarly, if you say you want a fulfilling relationship, you can’t go hunting with worms. If you go out into the world offering people Imitation Love, you WILL—not might—attract people who will give you Imitation Love in return, and you WILL—not might—become involved in relationships that will be exactly as you have described yours.
The laws of relationships are as reliable as the laws of gravity. You can count on them. If you drop a lead weight—right here, right now—unless some outside force intervenes, it will drop every time. If you try to make a relationship work with Imitation Love, you will lose. But we still try. Why? Because we’re not even aware that Real Love exists, so we do the best we can with what we have.
In some of your relationships, for example, you discovered that sex didn’t work, so tried other forms of Imitation Love. In your own words, you took take care of them “financially and in other ways.” No matter what you gave them—sex, money, mothering them, whatever—you were literally BUYING their affection. Don’t feel alone, darlin’. We’ve all done it. We were trained to do it from childhood by our own parents. But we have to realize that it NEVER works. EVER. So what can you do here? We’ll talk about that in our next session.