Faber says that "to be in love and to act wisely is scarcely in the power of a god," so in this case a woman must be stronger than a god. She must have the wisdom to separate herself from the man she loves, and the strength of will to endeavour to cease thinking of him. The latter part is far the more difficult to accomplish, because thoughts are not to be controlled like the members of the body - it is easy to refrain from going to a place because the loved one is there, but the very fact of refraining will induce the thought of him. Therefore the first thing for a woman to do who wishes to regain control of her affections is to gain control over her thoughts; the very endeavour will help her to achieve the end.
The writer knew a case of a woman and a man in like circumstances. They had been friends for years, but the friendship of the woman was based on love - loyal, self-effacing love - while that of the man was grounded on good comradeship. He had come to the woman in all his troubles and all his joys, knowing that he would find sympathy and sure understanding, and he was never disappointed. But she, did not understand the difference between what she gave and what she received.
One day she saw him with a girl younger and fairer than herself. In a moment the scales were torn from her eyes; in one cruel flash she saw and realised he had given to the other something he had never given to her; those other hands had touched a chord her fingers could never sound, and in that moment something that was in her heart withered and died; but from its ashes was a greater thing created.
In a little while, bringing to his friend his joys and sorrows, the man came and told her of his love, and with smiling eyes she listened and sympathised, while her heart seemed breaking. D 28
The man married, the woman remained his friend, and her great heart was filled with love for him, his wife, and his children. Years after, the man's wife died, and the woman's soul ached for him, because she knew he was suffering even as she had suffered. She never felt ashamed of her love; she kept its flame burning pure and white all her life, and when in the end the man learnt of it, he was humbled by the knowledge of the gift she had given him.
It is a wonderful thing to give all and to ask nothing in return; it is the holiest and best form of loving - the love that is most akin to the love of God. But the majority of human beings are not capable of such a selfless devotion, and every pang of love the lover feels must have its answering throb in the heart of another.
The great blow falls upon them; from some cause or other the love they had deemed was theirs is lost to them, they are suddenly bereft of all that makes life worth living. Love has gone, and has taken everything else with it. The very foundation of life is shaken, . nothing seems secure, nothing steadfast. . Of course, it is not right that it should be so, but even the sense of right and wrong has been swept away in the great debacle. Yet this has to be remembered-that whether it is worth it or not, life has. to be lived, and to live needs courage; therefore hold fast to courage. There are, perhaps, long years ahead to be faced. They cannot be faced without hope. Therefore hold fast to hope. There are friends around to be loved and cheered - give them the music of laughter. It is hard - bitterly hard - but keep a steadfast heart, and the sun will shine again; courage will be rewarded, and the light will gleam through the darkness.
Man's love is of man's life a thing apart; 'tis woman's whole existence.
There is quite as much falseness as truth in these words. Love is not the whole existence of any human soul, whether man or woman, but, as a rule, a woman has more leisure in which to foster and consider her love - she revels in the contemplation of it, and suns herself in the joy she derives from its existence. It becomes of such absorbing interest to her that she is incapable of turning her thoughts to anything else. With a man it is different - he has his daily work, to which, perforce, he must devote his mind for certain portions of the day; he is compelled by stress of circumstances to force his thoughts into other channels. Therefore, however great his passion, he is more capable than a woman of detaching his mind from the object of his adoration; and this fact, the result of a man's training and circumstances, makes it easier for him should the detachment become a forced and permanent necessity.
There are other cases of a different sort which are, perhaps, harder to bear, though, maybe, swifter to cure, than those which have already been considered. There are those in which, after an engagement lasting for any length of time - months or even years, during which two hearts have spoken to each other in that language which only lovers know - one of them grows weary, for no visible reason, the love which once burned fiercely in his or her heart fades into the shadow of its former self. It is useless to fan the flames - it is gone, it is dead; the fickle nature has exhausted its supply, and its chief desire is to break the chains that bound it, heedless, perhaps, of the pain to be inflicted on the one who has loved too well. It may be that one or other has never really loved at all, but, for the sake of a little amusement, has simulated a passion never really felt, has given paste in exchange for a priceless jewel.
When this happens to a man, it often makes him cynical and hard, and inclined to judge all women by the one who has been faithless to him. Either he will shun the sex entirely as being utterly unworthy of attention, or perhaps he will take his pleasure from the many, to try and compensate himself for the pain he has suffered through the one, developing into that most obnoxious of all created beings - a male flirt, a man without heart.
When a man falls in love with a woman he endows her with all possible and impossible virtues. She becomes his ideal, he looks upon her as a perfect creation, something so infinitely superior to himself as to be more like an angel come to earth, and when, one day, his idol falls down from her pedestal, she brings down every other woman with her. And in that lies man's great mistake. His illusions once shattered he rarely tries to build them up again - he lets them lie in ruins about his path, and tramples them underfoot. A woman has broken his life - he deliberately renders the havoc complete.
Women, as a rule, when they suffer through one man, do not indiscriminately condemn the whole sex. If a woman is jilted, in most cases the blow to her pride is as bitter as the blow to her love, but often in this added bitterness lies the secret of the healing.
It is a difficult thing for bitterness and love to live together. A woman's pride will many a time come to her aid and, in covering the wound, will help its curing. But there are some natures that have no pride where love is concerned - who would literally kiss the hand that strikes them.
To such it is hard to bring help, because there is so little foundation upon which to build the new creation from the ruins of the old. Such women have been known to die when love has left them- they literally let themselves die because they have not the will to live. They commit suicide as surely as if they took poison, or fatally stabbed themselves. They do not die of a broken heart - they die because they have not the strength of mind to lift themselves out of their sorrow and face life in its new aspect.
Everyone knows the absolute influence of mind over matter, and the woman who gives herself up to morbid broodings, useless regrets, or voiceless repinings, who lets her blighted love make her life absolutely empty of interest, as certainly kills her body as she destroys her mind.
It is difficult to know in what manner to try to effect a cure. The woman is indifferent to everything; nothing matters, the worst has happened, there is nothing else of any significance that can befall. She only craves to be left alone, and, if she is left alone, she will probably become ill.
It may not happen soon, but it will come. She will get inert and listless, and the vital forces within her will become weak and unable to resist the attacks of any prevailing disease, or she may develop into a nervous invalid - querulous and unhappy. Instead of rising above her unhappiness she has let it crush all life and spirit out of her. It is a terrible danger, and it must be avoided.
Life has to be lived. The best may be gone, there still remains the second-best. Don't always look at what is lost, look at what remains behind. Make the most of what is left, and of itself it will increase in value.
Don't brood - don't think. Work, read, play, do something, do anything; but whatever is done, let it be with a concentrated mind.
It is impossible to think of two things at once, and every moment diverted from pain is a moment of rest, and in the end rest brings forgetfulness and peace.