Let’s face it // Mondays stink. Or at least we typically expect them to stink. That is why, every Monday, I post seven positives from the previous seven days of the week as a reminder of what I have so that the week starts out on an upswing. There is much truth in the belief that happy people attract good things, so it is important to start the week out right. Sometimes it’s the more grand, but other times, it’s the simple things.
**PLEASE READ FIRST** Lessons in Love Edition: This week’s 7 for seven will deviate from the norm. As my readers (hopefully) know, I’m an open book, but I was keeping my last relationship fairly private toward the end, as things were unclear and up-in-the-air. I’ve given it enough space and feel it is time to talk, as we are now two months removed. I write to heal (though I feel healed enough already). I also write to open truth. I realize it is not my job to open someone else’s truth, but my intentions are pure and not to lambast — I truly want him to heal too, to never hurt anyone else the way he hurt me, and to find love again. He deserves the best. I’ll also start by saying, I’m hesitant to open up about a past relationship in such a public way — I am back on the dating scene (a little over two months is enough for me after only a seven-month relationship that ended in such a succinct way). I’m not ashamed to admit, despite my track record, that I’m a believer in on-line dating at my age where meeting other singles is like searching for a live, English-speaking operator for AT&T. In a day where reverse Google image searches are well-practiced, social media is not as private as I would like to think, and on-line detective work is easy, I am well aware that my blog is not far out of reach for potential suitors (I strangely love this word) from the on-line dating world. If you are one of those who “stumbled” upon my page, and this scares you away, it wasn’t meant to be. Acting out of fear hardly bodes well in the romance department. Don’t fear — I’m not getting any younger, I know my worth, and I’m never one to slip backward, especially when someone lets me go — to that I’ll always say, “Go ahead, let me go, so I can find someone who knows my value as much as I do.” Even after a short relationship, when we get older, those break-ups only get harder, and it takes more reflection sometimes to feel that the time spent invested in it wasn’t a wash. Despite the lousy way it ended and my being duped in such a profound way, I learned so much from this experience, and I’ll use it to fuel whatever else new comes my way.
1. Be Myself. Immediately after the break up, the most challenging thing for me was the loss I felt after having finally found someone with whom I felt I could immediately be myself around. When one is thirty-four and has been through the wringer as far as relationships go, the guard is a hard thing to let down, but he made me feel 100% comfortable with myself. No one had looked at me the way he did in a long time, and I had not a single encounter with him that wasn’t ridiculously fun. I told my twin sis this, and it’s so true — she is the one person I’ve always had in my life that I’ve felt I could be as goofy as possible around, and she would still accept me. My favorite pastimes are with her, dancing like loons to Michael Jackson, singing into our hairbrushes, and laughing until rolling around on the ground. It’s difficult to find someone who matches that, but somehow, he did. Literally. On one of our first dates, we were the only two people dancing our butts off to Michael Jackson at a bar, moonwalking and high-fiving each other in our happy stupor. But I’ve since come to realize, I didn’t give myself enough credit for this comfort — it wasn’t just his doing; it was mine. I allowed myself to open up, and I made the choice to go back to the old Lauren who knew how to let lose again even after being hurt so many times. I’m proud of myself, and I know I will find someone quickly to have just as much fun with, if not more because I’ll make sure of it.
2. Love Hard. Often times I receive advice after a break-up, telling me to give my heart away more slowly the next time. I don’t give my heart away easily, as I am protective of it, but one thing I do know is, I am good at jumping right back in the saddle again. The best way I know how to move on is… to move on. I’m careful, but I pride myself on the fact that my heart is so immensely open. Truthfully, I love this about myself, and I’m unrelenting in letting this quality go. My heart doesn’t break — Instead, my love for him goes with him, and strengthens his heart so that he can go on to find a stronger love. In fact, I told him this during our break-up, and I meant it. And I’ll do the same — I’ll take the love he gave me to strengthen my heart, so that I can love hard for the man who deserves all of my heart.
3. Listen to Your Gut. Our problems never arose when in each other’s company. They arose when we were apart. When we were apart, inconsistencies happened. He didn’t communicate much when we weren’t together, which should have been a red flag for me, but until I realized the truth, I chalked it up to it being a strange quirk of his. And a part of me, though frustrated by it, admired how present he was with whatever he was doing or whomever he was with when we weren’t together. In fact, he was like this when I was with him, too — ever-present, in the moment, not on his phone. He didn’t have social media, either. There was only one time when I vocally questioned his intentions and his character in a moment of frustration, and he got upset and offended that I would think that of a genuine, honest person. After seeing how much it hurt him, instead of trusting my instincts, I allowed him to talk me out of them. I vowed to never again allow baggage from being duped in a past relationship, to affect my trust in him. …Hindsight is 20/20. Long story short — he asked for a break about two months ago to figure things out. He was clear about not wanting to date other people, and let me know that he would communicate with me if things changed. Almost immediately after the break-up, he told me he felt there was more to our story and that he had made a huge mistake. We continued to see each other romantically, though sporadically and I found myself caught in his push-pull web. Every time I grew tired of not knowing what he wanted and walked away, he would reel me back in and tell me everything I wanted and needed to hear, but then of course, his actions would not quite match his words and promises. At one point, I asked him point-blank if he was seeing anyone else, to which he said he wasn’t. This leads me to the next lesson…
4. Trust. Yes, even though he ended up lying to me, a lot (and maybe more than I know), I learned to trust with him. It took me a long time to trust again after being in an abusive relationship in my twenties, so when I finally trusted him and discovered how deeply duped I was, I could have easily reverted back to not trusting people again. However, I’ve come to realize over time that trust doesn’t have as much to do with the other person, and has more to do with the self. I will trust someone relentlessly until they give me a reason not to. I just have to trust myself that I will know how to handle it if someone fails to match this trust. I gave him every opportunity to be honest with me and walked away because he wasn’t. Right before I left for a ten-day Europe trip this summer, he and I met the day prior to departing. He told me he loved me and wanted to make things work again, and he promised to be here when I returned. However, when I returned he was difficult to reach. He told me he had to travel to Houston for the weekend to take care of his mother during an emergency spinal surgery. Monday night, he said he was staying to have dinner with his dad and brother and would return Tuesday to see me. That night, I checked my Instagram and a mutual friend of ours (who had no idea he and I were still involved) posted a picture of a group of friends at a Houston Astros game. In that group of friends was my ex — with a girl on his arm. My immediate reaction was to send him a picture of the picture, letting him know that I knew his lie. However, I refrained because I wanted to give him an opportunity to be honest with me first and to see how deeply willing he was to hold onto it. Selfishly, I also wanted to not give him any time to think up an excuse — a liar is a liar. So I sucked it up and met with him the next day. I asked him many questions, allowing him opportunities to tell me about the Astros game and the girl, and he never once admitted the truth. I thanked him for being so honest with me during our relationship, even when it was tough, and I could see him getting uncomfortable, but he was unrelenting in his story. Finally, I told him I was going to show him one picture from when I was away in Europe that I felt encompassed everything that happened while I was gone. He thought it was a Europe picture, so I’m sure it shocked him, as he stared at it for a long time without saying a word. Finally, it was me who had to break the silence. He lied again and told me the girl was a college friend, but after probing, he finally admitted it was a girl he was seeing. He also claimed he met her through a friend and meeting someone wasn’t intentional (“It just happened”). He claimed to be off the dating website in which we met (to which, unbeknownst to him, I recently discovered he was active on the day he told me this — another lie).
5. Forgive. As crazy as it sounds, I forgave him almost immediately, and actually not just for myself. Of course, it’s easier when you know your only choice is to walk away. He has to deal with his terrible choices now, not me anymore, and it is a relief. It is not up to me to teach him a lesson. He will not learn from this unless he is willing to make a change for himself. But I do want that for him. I want that for him, so that he will never hurt anyone or himself in this way ever again. Unfortunately, I feel that he will, but that’s out of my hands. And yes, mostly, I forgave him for myself. I knew immediately, and have known throughout this journey with him that I deserve REAL love — to feel it in someone’s actions and not just hear it in his words, and I know in my full heart that this had absolutely nothing to do with me and everything to do with him. I want him to heal whatever deep wound is there preventing him from taking that other foot out of the door and planting it firmly in front of the person who he should be holding onto tightly.
6. Don’t be the “F-You” and Walk Away Girl. I talked a lot about what I was going to say to him to a couple of friends because it was my way of dealing with it before I was actually able to deal with it. I desperately wanted a “zinger,” something I could say right before I walked away that would make me feel a sense of satisfaction and closure (knowing full well I may never have that) — a slam the door, make-you-think-hard moment I wanted and felt I deserved. Most women said I should just say, “Fuck you” and walk away, or some other variation of that. However, this is what came out in the moment, “If I were the ‘fuck you’ and walk away type, I’d honor that right now, but luckily for you, I’m not. Instead, I’ll just say, don’t ever hurt anyone again in this way, and stop hurting yourself,” and I gracefully walked out. Being the type of person who will say something strong and trip on her way out the door, I was feeling pretty good about myself for not. However, instead of tripping, I did something much worse — I left my dang phone on his couch after leaving — after waiting for an elevator for what seemed like ten minutes, taking said elevator down, and walking all the way to my car. Once realized, I quickly wiped my tears, muttered a few profanities, shut my car door, and braved another entrance. Despite my blunder, what transpired after that was one of those moments women always wish they had but rarely ever do — I was momentarily a fly on the wall after a break-up and saw what truly happens when he is finally alone. He was blasting the record I gave him with our song on it, drinking a whiskey on his balcony, and losing a hard battle of fighting back tears. When he turned around to see me, tears in his eyes and a lump in his throat, he said “I fucked up. I self-sabotaged. I have never loved anyone as much, or felt like this in such a long time, and it scared me.” Hearing that felt good, but at the same time, it felt worse. It felt worse knowing he threw it away instead of holding onto me tightly. I told him about wanting a “zinger” and not knowing what words to leave him with that would truly give it closure, so I let him have the final word, to which he said, “You are amazing; you are like no other girl I’ve ever met. Words cannot express to you how sorry I am. You trusted me after it was hard for you to trust, and I ruined that. I’m a terrible for doing that to you. Tonight, needless to say, is going to be a scotch night. I’m going to drink a lot.” And I walked away — not before tripping on the way out (I wish I were kidding).
7. It’s Okay to Feel Anger. Although I didn’t toss around words of anger toward him when I had every right to, I knew being true to myself would mean holding onto my strength and compassion. One of the things that saves me from the depths of woe-is-me, is understanding people on a deeper level — understanding what motivates them. As long as we continue to label people as jerks, or evil, etc., we will never see an end to people doing things that hurt others and themselves. In a time when it seems that mindless acts of violence and people acting out of fear instead of love are the norm, it seems all the more important to dig deep and understand the inner-workings of these terrible decisions, if anything to help us heal and understand, and to not take these acts as reflections of ourselves or humanity in general. This all being said, I will not express anger toward him, but it is okay for me to feel it. I didn’t deserve to be treated that way. However, I won’t hang on it to it for long because anger is an unproductive emotion long-term. I’m moving forward, and I feel better and stronger than ever. I’m excited to be set free so that I can continue to search for the love I’ve relentlessly looked for my entire life. It’s going to be profound. 🙂
I hope to inspire you to reflect on all you have to be grateful & that your week brings you even more positivity + balance + bliss! Feel free to share your seven with me as well / or even just a couple!
Have a wonderful week!