74 QUESTION: How can you find out if someone you love is really faithful to you? Genuine, mature love is loving without asking. Is it mature to go on loving someone who is in love also with someone else?
ANSWER: This question cannot be answered in a simple statement. But let us try to analyze its various components.
How can you find out if someone is faithful to you? I want to say first of all that the same old human misunderstanding is implied here that puts over-importance on the outer act and often diminishes the importance of the inner state. I do not condemn or condone here. I am not concerned with the outer manifestation, which is unimportant and secondary, when we want to consider the root of the problem.
It is possible that a person does not ever commit an act of unfaithfulness, but the motivations for faithfulness may be just as unhealthy and immature as the motivations which lead a person into unfaithfulness. Outer faithfulness may not be real faithfulness. So you see, the outer act, out of context and by itself, cannot be properly evaluated.
Now, how do we determine the outer and inner motivations? You cannot do so unless you gain a certain detachment from yourself and an awareness of your childish, immature self-concern that prohibits a true recognition of the situation in question and the true feelings of your partner. I will be more specific. If a person is unfaithful, it is often taken as a personal insult or rejection. Of course, that is not quite so.
True, if this is a repeated pattern, then such behavior would indicate a certain aspect of immaturity. It may be a search and a longing for something without knowing what it is. It is often a search for self-expression, channeled in the wrong way, or a longing for self-assertion, also channeled in the wrong way. It is blind searching as opposed to mature and conscious searching. Many motivations may exist that can explain such behavior; we cannot consider all possible alternatives.
If this is recognized by the one involved, the personal hurt will be removed; the feeling of personal rejection will be diminished, at least to some extent. But you can recognize the real motives of such behavior truly – not just theoretically – only with the inner understanding which alone is valid and constructive, as you come to understand yourself. In that measure will you understand the other person. And it may very well be that by that very understanding, the condition may change so that the partner will no longer need to be unfaithful. It may not stop overnight, but the desire for it may steadily diminish.
Then there is something else which too may not necessarily be the only reason. It may very well be that many factors in both partners contribute to bring about such unfaithfulness. If a person finds himself thus betrayed – if you want to use this word – it may often be that he or she falls short in his love-capacity. In this partner, the free and spontaneous expression of love may be paralyzed and inhibited. Yet because this partner has a great capacity for giving affection outwardly, the inhibition manifests so subtly that you may not be aware of it right away.
If you explore your personality in the course of this work, you may find subtle inhibitions which invariably affect the very part of the other person’s nature where she is most vulnerable. Therefore, the other may respond with unfaithfulness because she is looking for that very free self-expression, needing it first in the other to enable her to express it herself.
Everyone longs for true fusion and unity of souls; some long for it consciously, others unconsciously; others still may be afraid of it and fight against it, but that does not mean the longing is not there. The more unconscious inhibitions and fears exist in you, the more you will attract a partner who also has such inhibitions.
Both of you may need another kind of partner, who is free enough to help you toward liberation. But neither of you can attract that partner without changing. However, if you find and solve your inhibitions, you may help your present partner toward this liberation in this respect, so that he or she will no longer find it necessary to be unfaithful. Or if the partner turns out to be really much too immature, you may then attract another partner fitted more to your changed personality.
To consider that you may, in some way, fall short and not give enough fulfillment to your partner, usually elicits a very strong reaction in people. Your emotions become full of self-pity: “Poor little me, I am not good enough,” as though you could not help it, you were just born that way. No, this is not true.
Your actual real value is not at stake, although you may indeed contribute to the other’s unfaithfulness by your own childish craving to be loved instead of giving love maturely, by your fears and inhibitions and shame which are always a manifestation of self-concern and pride. You withdraw your real self in fear of losing something, and in so doing you actually may lose that which is dearest to you, for such is the law of nature.
If you approach this question with a spirit of courage and constructive self-analysis – learning where you fall short in some way, perhaps in a very subtle inner way – you will gain deep insights that will not only give you peace, but which will enable you to free within yourself that which had remained completely hidden. It is your true self that you are not even aware of yet – what it is and how it manifests.
With your true self, you will be able to give constructively. You will not give in an attitude of self-hurt, submission and masochistic self-punishment, nor will you hold back your creative forces from giving and loving. You will not substitute the genuine you with a slightly false one.
It takes a great deal of work on this Path before you even begin to become aware of how much you are not yet your true self. When you start this work, these are merely words. After you have worked diligently and gained some major insights, and have perhaps succeeded in changing some of the old patterns, you will understand these words in their full meaning.
You will see how, during your entire life, your real self with all its natural, beautiful, spontaneous right reactions was constantly hampered. Your real self is often what the other person unconsciously looks for and needs. And when it is not found, he or she, for lack of understanding of the situation, will search elsewhere instead of turning inward to finally release the real self from within, so that fulfillment becomes natural and inevitable.
In other words, when such a condition exists, both must be regarded as responsible, as having contributed to it in one way or another. This responsibility should be accepted in the constructive spirit that it can be changed, that no one is helpless and has to endure a painful fate because he or she is not good enough or lovable enough.
When you think and feel that way, it is the most unhealthy part in your being that speaks: the child in you who does not want to give up childhood; who wants to be cuddled and pampered; who wants to be taken care of instead of taking care of its own life. By insisting that the inner child remain in this state – no matter how indirectly or subtly expressed – one pays a terribly high and unnecessary price in unhappiness, helplessness and hopelessness.
To be adult, in the true sense, means to take every negative occurrence and see how you contributed to it and what can be learned from it. You will inevitably find an answer which you will know deep down in your heart to be true. This truth will make you free.
If you do not choose adulthood by adopting such an attitude toward life, you will believe you are an innocent victim; you will feel persecuted and unjustly treated; you will be a self-pitying helpless little bundle – and you will even like yourself in this role, although you may suffer a great deal. I do want you to know that my words are not directed to anyone in particular. This is a very general subject.
QUESTION: I think what the person who asked this question meant was: “If you are in love with a person who is in love with you, but also with someone else, is it mature to stay in love with such a partner?”
ANSWER: Well, I think the answer is contained in what I had to say about this topic. A continuous situation of this sort cannot bring happiness. It is an indication of something being wrong in both partners. The partner who has the possibility and knowledge of self-search should make an honest effort to find his or her own obstructions. In doing so, the situation is bound to change one way or another, in the most natural way possible.
No forceful measures will have to be applied either to one’s own feelings or to the other person. Such forceful measures can never really work. An organic natural growth will bring an organic natural change.
If a person is so divided within that he finds himself in love with two partners, both of these partners must have a corresponding immaturity and division within themselves to attract this type of person. I say again, the remedy lies in finding one’s own obstructions and divisions within that make such an attraction possible.
To say, “I must not be in love,” is in vain. You can only change a feeling genuinely if you understand it, but not if you suppress it. And understanding can be gained only by the procedure I always advocate. While this procedure goes on, one should not even attempt to effect a major change in one’s life, unless outer conditions become too unbearable.
One’s feelings will usually fluctuate in this period between masochistic submissiveness on the one hand, and hostile resentment on the other. Underneath both sets of feelings is a strong, grasping forcing current, loudly proclaiming, “I want! In order to get what I want, I either submit and allow myself to be mistreated, or I cannot take this anymore, and therefore I hate.” All these emotions should be observed and followed through until one gets deeper into their origin. This is the only way, my friends.