There’s a point in every woman’s life where we decide it’s a good idea to do an inventory of all our past relationships and figure out what the f**k went wrong. And what went right. Because there’s a nice solid mix of both those ingredients in every relationship we have.
The first time I did this, I was coming from the place of, “Waa!!! What’s wrong with me that nothing works out?” Which by the way was me being a total Drama Queen because all those relationships worked out for a period of time. One for four years, one for seven years, one for eight and a half years..
Others briefer, but incredibly beautiful, which ended in lifelong friendships.
So, who was I kidding? I’ve had a lot of success in my relationships if “success” means I’ve loved and opened myself up to being loved by others.
The second time I did this was more recently after somebody I really dug opted out because we had very different lifestyles and seemed to want different things from the relationship.
Still that one hurt more than I expected it would. And probably more than he knows. I think it was because I felt this guy was really something special and the wounded part of me immediately went to the place of, “He must have given so little in our time together because he never thought there was anything special about me.”
And since I had that thought at all, I realized it was time I changed my stinkin’ thinkin’ and really look at the beauty, purpose and gifts I received from every relationship, whether they ended with kindness, compassion and well wishes for each other or hurt feelings, mounds of resentment and a lot of “fuck yous.”
I write this for all the men who may have an ex they think hates them. And for the ones who are convinced the girl they truly loved has never given them a second thought since the day she broke his heart.
And the ones who dated someone for such a short period of time, well, they believe she probably doesn’t even remember his name.
None of this is true.
We think about every single one of you. Whether it lasted years, months, or only a few weeks, you’ve shaped us into the women we are today. You’ve shown us what we want, what we don’t want, what’s really important in a relationship and what’s not important at all.
You revealed how we need to be loved… How you need to be loved. How to communicate more effectively. How to be more honest with ourselves and with you.
You taught us how to look at ourselves truthfully and with more awareness, so we could see what our part in the demise of the relationship was and where we could do better next time.
We were able to do this by being with you.
These were some of the men, both long ago and recent who have forever changed me… I still think about every one of them and owe them a debt of gratitude.
My first love
Had I known then you would be the man I held every other man up to in my life as the years went on, I would have acknowledged you the way you deserved instead of making you feel I had greater mountains to climb out in the world and that staying with you would have “held me back.” Your heart was bigger than anyone I’ve known ’til this day and your love as unconditional as a parent’s love for their child.
As happens to all of us at some point in time, I experienced what it was like to be in your shoes when the man I dated recently made me feel the very same way…that continuing to date me would hold him back from exploring the world and all the things he wanted to do. It didn’t feel good. You didn’t deserve that.
My College Beau
You were weird. Different. You refused to march to the beat of anyone’s drum but your own. You challenged everyone and everything. I broke your heart into a thousand pieces because I couldn’t commit to a life with you.
Please know I think of you often and can never thank you enough for the love, support, honesty, compassion and integrity you showed me in our three years together. You embodied devotion, loyalty and trustworthiness like no other.
The Sexy Older Man
You were hot, smoldering, witty, worldy and unpredictable. You taught me to be a real woman at the age of twenty-three. With you, I experienced reckless abandon, wild passion and my first real heartache.
For years I thought I’d never meet another man like you. I didn’t, but I took the lessons you taught me and I’ve used them 1,000 times in my life in the 20 years since.
The Single Dad
We didn’t date for long but your kindness, thoughtfulness and selfless heart healed me at the most broken time in my life. You gave everything of yourself and asked for nothing. You opened your heart while I kept mine closed. You deserved so much more than I could give at the time.
The experience I had with you allowed me to have compassion instead of anger towards the man who treated me the same way recently. Through you, I learned sometimes we can’t give what we just don’t have in us at that moment in time.
The SNAG (Sensitive New Age Guy)
You were genuine, deep, high awakened and brutally honest. A little too much for my tender heart. Your honesty hurt me so much I was forced to do some deep, intense healing for many months before I even considered dating again.
I learned through you to proceed much slower and with eyes wide open. To ask the tough questions of someone right from the get-go, so that we didn’t waste each other’s time if we weren’t looking for the same thing. Our time together was incredibly brief but oh, so necessary for me to confront the wounds that were still weighing me down and holding me back from really loving myself.
The One Who Gave Me My Children
You have been my greatest teacher… The one who tests me daily to see how capable I am of not giving up and loving myself for exactly who I am. I always sought validation of my worthiness and lovability from others, especially you. You showed me the only person’s validation that means anything at all is our own.
All of these men and all the others who were a part of my life for a period of time revealed parts of myself I needed to see in order to learn how to love. I mean really love…. from a place of authenticity and truth.
Guys … maybe we raged at you and called you every name in the book when the relationship ended.
Maybe we simply blew you off and never looked back because we weren’t awakened enough at the time to hold your feelings more sacred.
Maybe our feelings for you were still there and our hearts still raw that we couldn’t have contact with you anymore. So we unfriended you on Facebook or took your number out of our phones because it hurt too much to know what you were doing and that you were doing it without us.
But you mattered …. You have no idea how much you mattered. We hold you sacredly in our hearts, no matter how it ended. Because through you, we learned about ourselves….and how to move into our next relationship with more awareness, consciousness and intention.
So, to all the men out there …. thank you.
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