By Roberta Russell
Of late, I have been a steady patron of social media sites. The results of this widely diversified search for would-be mates, after being widowed, pales by comparison with the amazing run of extraordinary people I knew during my 12 single years between marriages, and especially during my 27-year intense and loving marriage to Harold Krieger.
Despite the fact that most romantic relationships start online today, my results seem like a bad joke. My past success in attracting remarkable men did not prepare me for the current depressing reality: age dramatically alters the demographics.
We all live by attachment, not by reason. There is no value without caring. Fear shadows my attempts to replace lost love by re-creating attachments. Like a pendulum swinging between the pull of open-hearted trust and the dread of betrayal, we enter the heart sweepstakes with trepidation.
To make matters worse, we are in the midst of a plague of loneliness, fostered by COVID and abetted by our increasingly precarious human condition. In America the birth rate has been decreasing for six years. The climate is in crisis. Our planet is being spoiled.
For the lonely, be they single or with another, the remedy may lie in a change of heart and the consequent actions that are dictated by that change. If this is beyond the scope of mere will, could trust be generated by exercising the appropriate behavior first? A new tact may be what I need.
So, here’s my working plan:
First, I intend to use the systems that have worked during the 18 years that I had a New York City search firm specializing in the placement of computer professionals. I only advertised once, and my entire business was generated by referrals! So why not do the same thing now? I should go where the action is and where I have the most to give.
In my quest for meaning, I authored RD Laing & Me: Lessons in Love, with the late Scottish psychiatrist, RD Laing. “This book is about power and love,” he wrote. “It is intended to give you the power to get what you love…when you are in love with love and not with power.”
I was guided by my intention to become more effective at achieving my goals, which were, then, losing 35 pounds and finding mutual love, both of which I accomplished. The plan included recommendations to stalk your own behavior, to move away from people who habitually bring you down, and to move with intention towards those who validate you.
I invite you, the reader of this column, to join me in focusing on some behavior you may want to alter to enhance your life.
You are welcome to a free copy of my book by downloading it from www.scholargoogle.com or www.rdlaing.org. Additionally, if you are so inclined, email me about the results of your journey and I will get you a copy of the published version.
Write down your story. It’s easy to forget how you got where you are without concerted effort and reflection.
If you are stuck with maladaptive behavior, do not be governed by wishful thinking. Clarify ambiguous behavior and thwarted expectations. Then, move dispassionately in the appropriate direction. Keep in mind that everyone has their own preexisting priorities. After all, you can only change yourself.
Move with intention. Use every occasion to increase the chances of rewarding relationships.
Enjoy the pleasures available to you. Don’t sulk. Do something good for others, especially on the holidays.
Roberta Russell is the author of R.D. Laing & Me: Lessons in Love with R.D. Laing (Hillgarth Press, 1992), Report on Effective Psychotherapy: Legislative Testimony (Hillgarth Press, 1981, 1994), and Report on Permanent Weight Loss (Columbia Academic Common, 2017). She has also been a contributor to various international magazines and journals including: Psychologie Heute (Germany), Japan Times (Japan), The Psychologist (U.K.), Human Potential Magazine (U.K.), Changes (U.K.), Clinical Psychology Forum (U.K.), Psychoanalytic Studies (U.K.), and Bottom Line (USA). Occasionally, Russell hosts a New York City cable television show called Lifetalk, which has featured interviews with movers and shakers in controversial areas of psychology, weight loss, nutrition, medicine, the environment, and population growth.