Relationships seem to be the most complicated part of being human, yet it is the most important thing we have. As I caught up with my first love last night, sharing funny memories and reflections on who were were 9 years ago, so young but so full of happiness and dreams, I thought about how at one point, our hearts were so broken over each other it was hard to eat or sleep or dream of going on without each other. Yet there we were last night, laughing together and being truly there for one another and I was genuinely so happy to hear he is happy and in love. My love for him has changed but still remains, the kind of true love that has no attachment but an appreciation for the person as they are.
A few days ago I learned my second real love and longest relationship of almost 3 years, is going through a really tough time. My heart hurts for his struggle and I pray his happiness and strength every day, while also grateful we still can connect and I can be a person of support and unconditional love for him. He has always been that for me and while I wasn’t always deserving of that love and support from him, he gives it to me, unfaltering.
While my third and most impactful love and I don’t speak and definitely don’t have the kind of friendly relationship I have with all my other exes, I am so grateful for all the lessons he taught me. For once, I allowed myself to be swept off my feet into the fairy tale he created for us. He taught me photography skills and got me into building websites. (He even helped me turn LiveMoreHappy.com into a reality) He made me believe in happily ever after, gave me the dream of having a family, something I didn’t believe in before. He showed me that the worst possible thing I could imagine would not destroy me, but create growth and opportunity in my life I couldn’t have believed possible. Last week I found my old blackberry full of photos of our first year together and instead of being sad or angry, I was filled with happiness and gratitude for the memories of total joy. (I had deleted ALL photos off my hard drive in a fit of rage, so recovering these over a year later was an even more of pleasant surprise.) I find myself in a new place, not angry at him for the lies and deceit, but happy he has found someone who is a much better fit for his fairy tale life than me and excited for when I get that happy ending with a real prince charming. I’m grateful for the lessons and happy memories and new skills that have catapulted me further into who I am today.
The last man I was with showed me compassion and patience for my broken heart and reminded me of how I deserve to be treated. Even though we are not meant to be together as lovers, we are still close friends and continue to support each other in our dreams, passions and goals. (He just sent me the new logo for Live More Happy that we designed together!)
I have shared my story of heart break and my struggle to over come the betrayal, however I want to share the other side, the stories of positive transition from lovers to friends. A romantic relationship does not have to end as “someone I used to know.” It takes patience, compassion and maturity but these relationships can transform and be positive parts of our lives.
We can get so bitter with our own disappointment in how our expectations didn’t work out. If we can view heartbreak with a positive light and not focus on the hurt, we can be grateful for the growth we experienced during the relationship even after it is over. If we are lucky, we end up with lifelong friends who know us at our best and worst and still love and appreciate us for all our beautiful and ugly parts. I am so grateful to have exceptional exes like mine. And if any future ex boyfriends are reading this, I hope this goes for you too. ;)