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In the rainy city of Seattle, I had the opportunity to advise a woman who felt her romantic horizon was just as cloudy as her city’s.

Susan first started dating Dave around eight months ago, and while she was tremendously attracted to him and they shared many common interests, Susan couldn’t quite rid herself of the nagging notion that something about her newfound paramour was less than perfect.

Susan first started dating Dave around eight months ago, and while she was tremendously attracted to him and they shared many common interests, Susan couldn’t quite rid herself of the nagging notion that something about her newfound paramour was less than perfect.

Having recently surfaced from a failed long-term romance, Susan had a tendency to blame herself for what she termed “less than stellar” relationship skills. She’d grown up in a household with abusive parents, and had since learned through counseling that low-self esteem often made her feel as if she didn’t really deserve a man who loved and respected her.

Recognizing Negative Patterns

In the past, Susan had sabotaged herself with men by simply trying too hard to please, second-guessing her every action, and choosing romantic partners who were abusive to her because they fit into a self-defeating pattern with which she’d become all too comfortable and familiar. Children from abusive backgrounds often try to heal themselves by recreating their parents’ relationships as a way to prove that such broken dynamics can actually be fixed. But more often than not, what’s broken stays broken, and the only thing that remains intact is the cycle of detrimental behavior — and such had been Susan’s case in the past.

As things progressed with Dave, Susan tried to put these thoughts out of her mind, stay in the present, and just enjoy what was happening. Still, when he asked her to take the relationship to the next level by moving in together, she couldn’t rid herself of the feeling that something about Dave was just not what it appeared to be.

Susan had already begun to develop a strong attachment to Dave, and was worried that, should her suspicions prove true, the longer she stayed in the relationship, the more devastating it would be when it ended. She needed advice.

Putting a Relationship Under the Tarot Microscope

When Susan asked for a tarot reading last month, I had her concentrate on Dave, and on their interaction with one another. Unfortunately, the card that came up to represent Dave’s actions was the Seven of Swords — a red flag if ever there was one. If, in fact, Dave’s true nature was that of a cunning thief, surreptitiously making off with something that did not rightfully belong to him via charm and stealth, it certainly did not bode well for the relationship.

The final outcome of the reading, had Susan remained on her current path, was represented by the Eight of Cups: A cloaked figure retreats from an endeavor that even after much obvious effort and investment, he has been unable to complete. While there’s always a slim chance the missing piece to the puzzle is to be found by seeking it in the larger world, the general meaning of this card is that chances are, it’s time to cut your losses and move on.

Transforming Insights Into Action

After her reading, Susan did not break up with Dave out of hand, but she did decide to do some digging; a background check revealed Dave had something of a dubious past. When Susan pressed him for details, Dave was reticent, but finally confessed to having been let go from his last position for embezzlement. He maintained it was a huge misunderstanding, that he’d paid back every penny, and that charges were eventually dropped. Dave went on to tell Susan that he’d also been sued by an ex-girlfriend, who’d claimed he’d misappropriated funds from their joint checking account. Again, the case had been settled out of court.

Dave’s explanations seemed logical, and he was so contrite, Susan wanted to believe him, but the nagging doubt just wouldn’t go away. Susan decided to reach out to this past ex — and the woman didn’t sound surprised to receive the phone call. “Dave’s very charming,” she admitted. “He’s just very reckless with money, and sometimes, with money that doesn’t happen to be his.”

Susan had heard enough. Even if Dave’s feelings for her were genuine, she wasn’t comfortable remaining in a relationship with someone who’d neglected to tell her the truth, no matter what his intentions might have been. Despite Dave’s protests that he was a “changed man,” Susan ultimately decided to break things off.

The Take-Away

It’s important to understand that Susan ended her relationship with Dave, not because the tarot cards told her to, but because she took the clues the reading revealed, and tested their truth in the real world.  

As painful as it was to lose Dave, Susan realized that while her romantic radar still needed some fine-tuning, she was actually making progress. Rather than remaining in what would have likely become one more lost cause that wouldn’t be worth fighting for, Susan felt stronger for having listened to her inner voice, and acting on the warnings she’d received by consulting the tarot for clarification. She was confident that in the future, even if her relationship choices weren’t perfect, at least they’d be smarter.

Not every relationship is as tenuous as Susan and Dave’s, but if you’re in doubt whether to work things out with your current love or move on, a session with a trained KEEN advisor can offer you insights into your best course of action.