That fateful Saturday, walking through Dolores Park, looking down at the San Francisco skyline, I replied yes to his invitation for lunch. That lunch turned into a weekly--and then daily--activity. We started calling each other to commiserate after our terrible online dates with strangers. He and his friend recorded a YouTube show--a parody of tech called Silly Valley--near my house, and we'd meet up for a few minutes before or after their tapings. One day, as we said goodbye to each other after yet another lunch, he retrieved a white flower that had escaped a tree and put it into my hair. You're letting go of the story, and you're giving yourself the support, encouragement, validation, respect, and love that you didn't receive in that moment. This is powerful medicine, indeed. In 2013, Dr Keesha Ewers, an integrative medicine expert, conducted a small pilot study of 100 women called the HURT Study (healing unresolved trauma). She wanted to understand a recurring pattern that she saw in her new patients. Many came in asking for bioidentical hormone replacement therapy and other supplements. When she would ask why they needed them, almost without fail she'd hear about how their libido was gone (many were also exhausted and had brain fog). As a follow-up, Dr Ewers would ask them when the last time was that they had a libido or energy, or felt clear-headed. Often her patients responded with tears and shaky answers of never. Other times, she'd get answers about how her patient's husband or wife had an affair five years ago. They had forgiven them, but they still didn't want to have sex. You cannot be denied your due simply because your ex refuses to give it. No God in heaven is saying, sorry, but there's only one source of abundance, and if you can't get it there, that's it for you. You are not here to suffer; Everything you attract is offering that opportunity. As you find the growth and share the wisdom it brought you, you offer the people around you a healthy example to follow.

Children of divorce often worry that they will suffer the loss of love. Their worst fear is realized if they are denied the presence of grandparents, cousins, friends, or anyone else who cares. Your children need continuity. Don't make them suffer because of your anger. This is when they need all the affection they can get. It feels like we're in a haiku, he said. I told him I was free that Friday, and he asked me out. Scott was nothing like Brian. He made his interest in me clear. I felt excited to see him and spend time with him. There wasn't that voice in the back of my head wondering, Does he like me? He'd send me texts like I'm excited to spend time with you today; I like your brain; Two weeks after our first official date, I sent him an aggressive text, annoyed about something he'd said. I knew from past relationships that this would launch us into a fight. Dr Ewer's answer to her patients was the same--hormones will not fix the problem. If her patients wanted to fix their exhaustion, brain fog, weight gain, or hormone imbalances, they needed to address their undercurrent of trauma. Through her HURT study, Dr Ewers discovered that to resolve the trauma, her patients had to have a willingness to self-confront. They had to be willing to look at whatever trauma happened in their lives and ask themselves, Where can I take responsibility for this? Where in my life can I see that I'm attracting similar kinds of people or experiences, and why could that be?

What is it that I need to adjust? From there it can take going through a trauma-release therapy, such as EMDR, cognitive behavioral therapy, or somatic experiencing--whatever treatment is right for them--and then eventually getting to forgiveness. I know people aren't going to want to hear about forgiveness, but it is not lip service, Dr Ewers told us. It's hard work, and you don't go from A to Z. You have to digest your feelings and experiences the same way you digest your food. Don't deny them the obvious place to find it: with those who already love them. After a divorce, you have a certain amount of healing to do. Healing doesn't come from holding onto the past. Healing doesn't come from haranguing the person who left. Healing doesn't come from forcing the children to take sides. It doesn't come from revenge, it doesn't come from criticism, and it doesn't come from blame. Healing comes from finding the love in whatever is. This is the answer to healing regardless of the healing needed. Try to remember the good times. Look forward to the future. I would sit on my couch, angrily poking at my phone, heart racing, eyes unblinking, as I rage-typed my disappointment in a volley of short, combative texts. I knew what would happen next: We'd go back and forth until I got so upset that I'd revert to some trusted old protest behaviors, likely ignoring his calls and texts. But we never went down that road. Instead, Scott wrote back, Let's chat in person about this one. It was my first time dating someone so secure.

It was a completely new experience. We discussed issues instead of careering headfirst into arguments. It's been six years since I invited Scott to that lunch at Google. We've now shared two Burning Mans (he eventually came around to it), a five-day scuba diving trip in Thailand, and an apartment. We've killed one basil plant and three succulents. In her HURT Study, forgiveness intervention was the only therapy Dr Ewers used with women who had low libido and who had experienced trauma in their pasts. She didn't give them hormones or supplements, only her forgiveness exercise. As she explained, it's not an easy one. According to Dr Ewers, in our lives, we have all been both a victim and a perpetrator. When we are victimized, it's a very dysfunctional place of power to be in. People will say, I would never do that. That puts us in a place where it makes us feel safe, like there's a boundary and a separation between us and them. Dr Ewers used herself as an example of how her forgiveness exercise works. Dr Ewers had been sexually abused by a person in authority when she was growing up. In her forgiveness exercise, she looked at the ego characteristics, or personality traits, of her perpetrator that she hated. Release your mate and wish that person well. Speak kindly of your ex in front of the children. Honor your ex with the same honor you hope to receive. Instead of arguing for your due, trust that you will receive the fairness that you give. Take responsibility for what happened and look for the growth it forced you to experience.

If you choose to blame instead, the war continues long after the divorce has been settled. Since a focus on pain causes suffering, focus on gain. As you find the gain, your children are more likely to find theirs. Then all concerned move through the drama easier. If you want to inspire spirituality in your children, show them a person enjoying spiritual growth. We're happy. We say R is our love language. KEY TAKEAWAYS Relationship science can teach us what really matters for committed long-term relationships. Seek Life Partners: people who are trustworthy and reliable and who will stay with you for the long haul. Avoid Prom Dates: individuals who are fun in the short term but ultimately let you down. Superficial qualities like looks and money matter less for long-term relationship success than people think they do because lust fades and people adapt to their circumstances. The same goes for shared hobbies and similar personalities. A great long-term partner is loyal, kind, and emotionally stable, a person with whom you can grow, make hard decisions, and fight constructively. In the end, a relationship is about what happens when the two of you come together. She identified egomaniacal, misuse of power, and cruelty. Then she used him and those traits as a mirror to herself and asked the question, How did I use these personality traits in my life? Every human has the same personality characteristics, but we use them differently, she explained. We're all egomaniacal, we all misuse power, we're all cruel at some point, and we are also loving, compassionate, and kind. When I looked for a misuse of power, I said, Well, my gosh, I'm the parent of four children.