Torn Between Two Lovers

The First Photo Paul Ever Made of Me - 1977

The First Photo Paul Ever Made of Me - 1977

I was 23 years old and for two weeks straight I had been putting myself to sleep trying to figure out a painless and tidy way to end my life.

I could no longer bear the anguish of a breaking heart. I had to find a way to escape this “aching forever alone place” I was trapped in.

I remembered a place in San Francisco my roommate had taken me to visit. There were counselors there – nice people. One day I lifted my head up from the pile of used Kleenexes that had soaked up my tears and despair and reached for the phone.

I dialed the number for Theta House.

“I’ve been thinking of ways to kill myself.”

A warm male voice answered, “How soon can you get here?”

I drove the thirty minutes into the city, crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. That was a trip that changed the course of my life. Theta House was the colorful, Victorian home of Leonard Orr, the founder of the Rebirthing Movement. One of his apprentices opened the door for me and I crossed the threshold into a mélange of unparalleled spiritual ideas. Here was where I would begin to learn the secrets of love and power.

I learned that the hurt in my heart wasn’t caused by my bad boy lover. Gabriel was my first love. We met when I was 17 and we had broken up and gotten back together more times than I could count. It was an addictive, high drama relationship that was destroying me and I still couldn’t let it go. He was a self destructive loser and I was in love with his potential.

I thought I could see the best parts of him that no one else could see and through the sheer force of my love, I must save him from himself. He was a drug addict with a very tragic past and I was cast in the role of heroine.

I knew he loved me. Why was he unfaithful? He had told me in so many ways that I was the best thing that had ever happened to him, yet why was he always sabotaging our relationship? I would forgive him, make excuses for him, try harder and keep winding up in the same painful place.

Then at Theta House I decided to let someone teach me to learn from my pain instead of running away from it. I drilled down into it and found the unknown source of it. The realizations shot me up like a geyser into a vast light of wisdom and strength. I learned the pain in my relationship with Gabriel was caused by unresolved hurts from my mother and father.

I was born illegitimate, to a young Italian girl in the early fifties. My mostly absent father would show up for brief periods, only to leave again. My mother was emotionally fragile and frequently overwhelmed by the demands of being a single parent. When the going got too tough, I would be sent to relatives or boarding schools, until she had gained her strength back. My mother adored me but, she couldn’t always take care of me.

By the time I was five years old a belief that “people always leave me” had become the creative driver for all my adult romantic relationships with men. The “breaking up and getting back together pattern” with Gabriel was a reenactment of my relationship with both my mother and father. The cycle of abandonment and reunion, renewed hopes and broken dreams had become the story of my life.

I also learned that these beliefs and patterns can be changed. I tried shifting my determination from saving the people I loved, to saving myself. I set my brave little foot on a path of healing and spiritual awakening.

But, changing my consciousness didn’t happen all at once and the journey had some unexpected twists and turns. Six months after I went to Theta for the first time, I was still in love with Gabriel, still trying to help him in any way I could. But, I had also shared a mystical moment with a man that I barely knew, who assisted in the office at Theta House with me. His name was Paul Cutright.

He was smart, sensitive and attentive. He poured naturally and gently into my life and with the most infinite tenderness I had ever known, he showed me what it was to be truly loved. He helped me learn how to trust love, how to trust men. I opened like a flower to sunshine.

But, now I was in love with two men and nothing had prepared me to deal with it.

I tried enjoying it and did quite a fine job of it for awhile. Then one day Gabriel said he loved me and needed me to help him learn what I had been learning. He wanted us to really try to make our relationship work. He knew about my relationship with Paul and he wanted me to stop seeing him.

I was torn. Maybe this was the last chance to really help Gabriel. I loved Paul but, Gabriel needed me. It was one of the most important decisions of my life and I didn’t know what to do. I agonized over it for weeks. No matter what choice I made I was going to lose love. In the end, the grip of my past with Gabriel made my choice. I decided to break up with Paul.

I didn’t know how I could do it. I couldn’t find the right words to say. But, Gabriel kept the pressure on and I knew I had to tell Paul I wasn’t going to be able to keep seeing him. We met one evening on the top floor of Theta house. We were alone in the big open room with bean bag chairs and cushions all over the floor. The lights were low.

I cried and twisted my hands in a riot of emotion. I told him what had happened with Gabriel. I told Paul I loved him but, I had to let him go. I had to see if I could finally make things work with Gabriel. Paul sat quietly, watching me. He listened deeply with his big blue eyes smiling his love into the core of my being.

“I understand. I will always love you.” And he got up and walked away.


Is there any part of you that can relate to this story? Have you ever been in a similar situation or known anyone who has? What does this story bring up for you, if anything? Please feel free to leave your comments here by clicking on the  Add Comments link on the right at the top of this post.

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