Humans logo

What the Psychic Told Me

And What I Learned About Love

By Robyn NeilsenPublished 2 years ago 8 min read
What the Psychic Told Me
Photo by Scott Rodgerson on Unsplash

I had my tarot cards read by a psychic when I was twenty-five. I wanted to know when I would find my soul mate. A loaded gun of a word if ever there were one. But I fell for the idea that we have one person we are meant to spend the rest of our lives with, and I was hell bent on finding him. Unfortunately, I was terrible at love. When it came to partners, I consistently chose incorrectly and then paid for it later when I had to clean up the mess of a failed relationship. In order to avoid any more emotional disasters, I figured I’d have a psychic tell me what to look for.

He spread the cards between us. A flurry of color and symbols that I couldn't understand. Then, he laughed into a discussion of my love life. He described three men I’d meet who he referred to as Shoulda, Woulda, and Coulda.

"You'll meet Shoulda over money. Woulda will have red hair. And Coulda will be younger than you. Treat each of these relationships as passing flings, and do not get serious with any of them," he warned.

“Then, who do I end up with?” I asked.

He told me that I’d meet the man I was going to marry over flowers when I was between twenty-eight and thirty-two years old. The man would be brilliant and handsome with a dry sense of humor. The caveat was that I had to get through Shoulda, Woulda, and Coulda first.

Armed with my psychic messages, I went out into the world hopeful about the future. I was going to cheat the game of love and move quickly through Shoulda, Woulda, and Coulda in order to get to my forever partner.

Shoulda showed up first as promised. I noticed a man staring at me as he pushed a five-dollar bill across the counter to the cashier at Starbucks one summer afternoon. After a minute or so, the man struck up a conversation with me. It turned out that he was a former student from one of my LSAT prep classes. We exchanged information, and he asked me out on a date. We had a nice time, but he was twenty-five years older than me. This wouldn’t have been a problem if he wasn’t fresh off a divorce and looking for a younger woman to bolster his confidence. After a rather unsuccessful second date and an awkward kiss, I stopped answering Shoulda’s texts.

A few months later, I met Woulda online. He asked me to be his girlfriend after a week of dating, which was a major red flag. I liked his certainty about wanting to be with me, but I had this weird feeling like saying yes to getting more serious with him was a mistake. He eased me into the idea of a relationship by taking me on nice dates and being very charming and complimentary. And by the time I warmed up to the idea of him as a boyfriend about a month after our first date, he totally changed his tone. One night after a very tense dinner, he mandated that we only see each other on weekends. And for three years, that’s what we did.

Over time, he showed me that he didn’t believe in or support any of the things I loved. So, I gave up most of my hobbies. And because my weekends were spent with him exclusively, I neglected all of my friendships to make time for the relationship. I waited for him to morph back into the person he’d been when we first started dating, but he remained cruel and cold. And I was desperate.

I went back to the psychic I saw when I was twenty-five wanting to know where I went wrong.

And the psychic said, “I still see you meeting a man over flowers. Greenery. You’re in a garden. At a park. Could even be in the produce section of the grocery store.”

He repeated what he said three years before about the man being brilliant and funny. And he topped off his reading by saying that the man I was with wasn’t the one. But my feelings for Woulda were so intense that I couldn’t imagine him not being the person I ended up with. I’d never felt this intensely for anyone before. I was entrenched in my emotions and couldn’t see beyond myself despite the psychic’s warnings.

And then Coulda exploded into my life like a box of lit matches eclipsing everything I felt for Woulda. Coulda and I were a passionately, reckless mess from the start. We were coworkers who originally met in college. Our pasts and presents danced around each other until we finally collided. I always assumed he was older than me, but it turned out he was six months younger. At the beginning of our affair, I went on long walks with friends where I emphatically explained that Coulda was it for me. He was the one because unlike previously, this was a feeling I never felt before. My friends supported me because they all hated Woulda and were glad to have me back in their lives.

I broke up with Woulda for Coulda. The night of the breakup Woulda and I were making dinner in the tiny galley kitchen in my apartment. He leaned over a pot of clams and the lamp on the stove exposed the strawberry in his blonde hair. I snapped back to the psychic foretelling of the red headed man in my love life and rationalized that breaking up with Woulda was the right thing to do. The psychic warned me not to get too involved in the first place. I only wished I’d heeded his warning sooner.

The two years with Coulda were beautiful torture. The friends I originally called to profess my love for him were the same friends I called to work out my feelings about why he wouldn’t stop dating other girls. But just like with Woulda, I was blinded by my love for him and didn’t see a way out.

I tried looking for the psychic to book another reading, but I couldn’t find him anywhere. All traces of him vanished. I had to go it alone with Coulda. He ended up finding someone else while we were dating, and he left me for her.

I was single for two years. I went on dates, but nothing stuck. I kept in mind the illusive prediction of a psychic who said I’d meet a man over flowers some seven years earlier. And as I fast approached my thirty-third birthday, I thought maybe it was time to give up on that dream. I had to surrender to the fact that so many times in my life I thought knowing what was coming next could help me control the outcome, but in the end it never did. The psychic warned me not to take Shoulda, Woulda, and Coulda so seriously, and still I fell in to two of those three relationships head first hoping to land on my feet only to come out on the other side severely bruised.

Two weeks before my thirty third birthday a friend from college asked me to join him on a vacation. We dated for a year when we were twenty-two. I broke up with him because I recognized that I was too immature for a relationship, but we stayed friends throughout our twenties and he patiently watched all the messes I made with Shoulda, Woulda, and Coulda.

My friend and I spent a weekend in a little town off the coast of Rhode Island. At dinner the first night I felt butterflies for him that I quickly tried to shove aside. After so much heartache, I was afraid of choosing the wrong man to love again.

But I had to trust myself. I couldn’t cheat love. Even when I knew what was coming, I wasn’t the type of person that paid attention to the warning. I had to touch the stove to know it was hot. And I had to accept that about myself because in the end, I believed that love was worth the risk no matter the outcome.

When we got back to the hotel room, I told him how I felt. He admitted I was the only girl he ever loved, and together we decided to take things slow.

The following day, my friend and I had an incredible time walking along the cliffs on the ocean and touring the mansions on the main drag. After one such tour, we strolled through the gardens surrounded by flowers and greenery. We joked about how romantic of a time we were having. And then I remembered the psychic’s prophecy. Our time together that weekend confirmed for me that the brilliant, funny man from my reading seven years earlier was a man I’d known my entire adult life.

For the first time I could truly say that I’ve never experienced the kind of love I feel for him. But I needed to love Shoulda, Woulda, and Coulda to recognize it. I needed to trust that I was making the right choice on my own. No psychic needed.


About the Creator

Robyn Neilsen

I am an educational content writer, cat lover, and Ina Garten enthusiast. My creative non fiction essays have been published on Thought Catalog and Mogul. I am also a novelist and flash fiction writer.

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2023 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.