discovering real love

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How can someone give love and take it away so easily?

Two weeks into my break-up with my partner, and this is the question that has been plaguing my mind. Yet today, I happened upon wisdom that gave me a much clearer answer to that question.

Wisdom came in the form of my mother. I put the same question to her, and this was her astute response: Every human being is different, and will handle love in different ways. Because we are fallible, we will fall short many times in truly loving someone–meaning that real love is loving someone at their best and at their worst, receiving while also giving, even giving when you may not necessarily want to. Some people are able and willing to truly love, and others are more focused on their selfish needs.

Your partner was focused more on his own needs, on his comfort level. He wanted things to be simple and easy, and therefore, his bowl was very small. There is nothing wrong with that… he merely operates differently, and all of us have our different capacities. At the same time, struggle is embedded in the experience of life, and to divorce yourself from that leaves you alone and narrowed into a very tight zone. Bailing when things get hard speaks to where his values stand.

When anyone is in love, you only see the good in that person–it’s easy to understand and explain things away, because you love them. You have blinders on, and everything about the person looks wonderful and perfect. But the thing to remember is that it takes a long time to really know someone. As you do, you start to see things about that person: Oh, that’s odd he said or reacted that way. Doing that doesn’t seem like him. When you have those thoughts, it tells you that there is still a lot of things you do not know about that person. You may come to see that you really match well and love particular qualities about the person, and see other qualities that you do not like at all. That’s when the blinders slowly come off, for the both of you.

When he bailed that way, it was because he didn’t want give more than what was comfortable. He wanted it to stay easy and avoid challenges. He doesn’t want to take responsibility for his actions. He can choose to live that way if he wants, and with that mindset, he will be better off alone in his life. Otherwise, he’ll be doomed to recreate the same issues and pattern, whoever the person may be.

Don’t make the decision to be with someone just because you love them. I made that choice when I was young with your father, and you see how it turned out. You think at the time when you make that decision that the future will hold much joy, but for me, I suffered and despaired a lot. Your father had a lot of issues and it made our marriage very difficult. So this is something I want to pass onto you. Don’t choose someone only because you love them. Although love is certainly important, it’s not the only factor. This is going to be someone you’ll be spending 30, 40 or even 50 years of your life with. Choose a companion with good, stable traits. Your partner has to be kind, patient, have a good heart… someone you have a strong friendship with.

Although the sadness is hard and you’re feeling it, don’t stay sad for too long. These hardships will build you stronger and allow for better things to come your way. Have faith. For the 60 years I have lived, I’ve learned that healthy minds attract other healthy minds… and the same goes for unhealthy minds. So focus on building yourself up into a healthier person, and you will naturally attract better.

For the past couple of weeks, I felt like I was close to drowning at sea, but these words are becoming my life saver to float on.┬áMy blinders are coming off now, and I feel more disillusioned. I want to be someone who strives toward truly love someone. I want a relationship built on sturdy things, not on unrealistic expectations and love myths. While I was willing to work through challenges, he was not. I was not “perfectly good” to him, and “I” didn’t give him constant comfort or joy… but reflecting on that, that says more about him than it does about me. No one is perfect. That is yet another false expectation.

I share my mother’s wise words in hopes that it may help others out there, as it is helping me.

what it’s like to be broken up with

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After 27 years of living, I finally understand what it means to have your heart thrown and smashed into a 1000 pieces. Anyone who has been broken up with will know.

They say love is all about taking a leap of faith. Although in the back of my mind I knew there was a possibility that I would fall, now that it has become reality, each day feels like I’m getting punched in the heart repeatedly. The hours, the minutes stretch to an agonizing length, and tomorrow never comes soon enough. Dreams are plagued by the ex-lover’s spirit and sleep never lasts for too long. Food tastes like sand and you gag at the idea of stuffing your face at a buffet. Not to mention the urge to see, text, call the person, despite the knowledge that they don’t want your call. Why else would they have ended it? Get it into your brain that they don’t want or care for you, you attempt to say to yourself, sometimes to no avail.

Then I struggle with all the hodgepodge of emotions. The anger – of how guilty he made me feel for communicating my feelings, and for planning a future with me, saying he loved me, days before hastily breaking up. The sadness – of his absence in my day-to-day life and the sinking reality that I will never get to have the comfort of his hug again. And the grief – of having lost one of my closest friends.

On top of the heaping pile that comes with breaking up, life decides to take a shit on you some more by creating fires in other areas of your life. I half-expect God to be looking down, saying, Oh, you think life is hard? Well, let’s throw in this and this for good measure.

My only saving graces are my faith, and my loved ones. I’m not sure where I’d be without them and their immense support.

But even there too, people can throw heavy balls at you. Friends telling you to “just be strong,” “you’ll learn to be more independent from this,” and that “you deserve better anyway.” On some level, I recognize the grain of truth in their words, but at the same time, my mind screams out, “I’m killing myself over here just trying to stay strong. That’s not the issue. I’m overwhelmed, I’m at my breaking point.” Having to put on a brave face at work and the people around you (excluding your closest family/friends), gets exhausting–especially when you know that if given the opportunity, you’d burst into tears at any second.

I feel bad too, because any human being can only tolerate you talking about your sadness or ex for so long. Then you’re alone, just as your ex left you, having to make sense of something that holds very little logic.

I write this as a way of validating myself and my experiences, and also of validating others who are going through the same process. To those out there who know how this feels, I say to you: I hear you. This royally sucks. It gives me a modicum of comfort to know that there are others out there in the universe who know what I’m suffering.

The only thing that makes sense to me is this. Alanis Morissette recommends us “getting our hearts trampled on.” Why? Because, as she phrases it, “You live, you learn. You love, you learn. You cry, you learn. You lose, you learn. You bleed, you learn. You scream, you learn.” In other words, every single experience you’ll have in life will mold and shape you, and leave you with a valuable lesson that can ultimately build you into a better person. Putting yourself out there, with arms open to life, is the only way you’ll live, and the only way you’ll learn. So to my fellow heartbroken compadres out there: let us continue to live, to learn, to fight and carry on.