eDisharmony and cheaters in love

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My boyfriend secretly rejoined the dating website that we met on. He did this once before, and when I found out, he said he was disappointed in himself. He’s a dialysis patient, unemployed with little money, a glass-half-empty personality. We started backward—by the third month, he wanted to marry me. When I moved to Sacramento, he decided he wasn’t mentally or physically prepared for a relationship. We still acted like a couple. Lately, he has been depressed. When I confronted him about the dating site, he said he was going to drop off my key and leave my life. Today, I checked the dating site, and he deleted his account. Why would he create an account to find someone, then delete it after we fell apart?

He isn’t trying to find a date. He’s searching for the part of himself that can pretend to be charming and romantic. By hiding behind the screen of an online profile, he can flirt with a new woman and construct a fantasy of who he is. His online life is likely a welcome distraction from the drudgery of his financial, health and relationship problems. The truth is that he’s overwhelmed, and those feelings descend into depression. He reaches for something to jolt himself out of the darkness. Attention from attractive women does the trick, but only for a bit. Someone else’s attention can’t cure what he’s suffering from.

The other reason he set up a profile then deleted it is because its work was done—the relationship you shared with him is over. He decided that cheating on you was an easy way to break up. He surmised that when you discovered the betrayal, it would initiate an argument that he could use to end the relationship. Yes, he expects you to leave. So do I. Please stop seducing yourself with a few flimsy romantic memories from the infatuation stage of your relationship. The man he is now is the man he really is. It is difficult to let go of your hope for love and marriage with this man. But holding on is not healthy for your self-esteem.

If two people who had an affair divorce their respective spouses, marry each other and love faithfully for life, isn’t the affair justifiable because the two people who cheated were soul mates in real love?

It was selfish love, actually. True love would inspire a couple to recognize their attraction to each other and tell their respective marriage partners about the change in their hearts. True love would wait until after legal separation or divorce to act on that attraction. Genuine love always inspires the most ethical behavior. People in love want everyone else to feel loved, too. You can argue that two cheaters are in love with each other, but it is a narrow love that lacks the greater spiritual dimension.

I am in love with a good friend. We dated for a short time, but she just wasn’t feeling it. We love one another as friends, and she left the door open for a relationship, but can’t see it happening right now. I have tried dating others but find myself thinking of her. I wish I knew what changed. Any advice?

It is deeply painful to love someone who does not return our love. And yet genuine love would ask you to release her and every hope of anything beyond platonic friendship. That’s hard to do. It requires spiritual maturity. Right now, your love is needy. You need this woman to love you back, according to a romantic ideal you carry in your head. That’s a sign that the love you feel rises from your ego, not your soul. Pull your mind back from obsessing about her, and use that energy for self-improvement instead.

Meditation of the Week

“The soul of a country is its culture. … Our future, if we're going to have any, depends on art, culture, beauty and tourism. That's where we should be putting our minds, our hearts and our money,” says Italian movie producer Marina Cicogna. Where does basketball fit in?