Hello, my loyal readers. Some of you have been wondering about my long hiatus from blogging. Well, you know me, I have no secrets. So here it is: For the past few months, I have been nursing a broken heart.
Believe it or not, I have only really dated three guys since my divorce in 2002. However, I dated each one of them for four long years. Now, as yet another chapter closes in the diary of my tragic love life, I reflect back for the lessons learned. After all, if we cannot identify the mistakes we make in relationships and learn lessons from them, then we are destined to make the same mistakes all over again! So here are some of the hard earned lessons I have learned about love:
–You don’t have to fall in love with the first guy who comes along. By which I mean, you don’t have to give your heart completely to the first guy who pays you any attention, or your first match on Eharmoney. (Yes, I am guilty of both.) There is a period of time between breaking up and falling in love again for discovering what it is you are actually looking for in a relationship. It is called dating. My pattern has been to skip the boring parts (i.e dating) and go right to the good stuff, that rainbows and butterflies feeling of falling in love! Lesson: Have fun with dating. Give yourself a chance to see what you want and what you don’t want in a relationship. Get clear on what it is you want, and stick to it.
–Learn to identify deal breakers early on. I just met a lovely middle aged lady who owns two very old cats. She told me that if she ever met a guy she wanted to share her life with, he would HAVE to like her cats. Now for me, liking or not liking cats is not a deal breaker. Not accepting my autistic son, on the other hand, would be a deal breaker. Lesson: You need to figure out if there are any deal breakers early in the relationship, before too much time and energy has been invested.
–Accept that you will never change him. I am sure you have heard some variation of this, from some seemingly intelligent woman you know: “I know that he is (pick one) abusive/controlling/self centered/alcoholic/jealous/gay…….but I am pretty sure that I can change him.” HELLLLOOOOOOO! You cannot change a man. It is impossible. Believe me, I have tried. A person can only change themselves, and only then if they really want to change for themselves, not for you. Lesson: Again it comes down to deal breakers. If the behavior is a deal breaker, do not kid yourself that you are able to change him.
–Boo-hoo, but I LOVE him! I know I am not the only woman who is guilty of staying in a failing relationship for far too long because of love. After all, in an ideal world, love conquers all! In the real world, however, love is only part of the equation…….and not even the most important part. Respect, kindness, and a good balance of give and take are what makes it work in the end. Lesson: Love, Shmove. It takes more than love to make a relationship last.
–First love yourself. I know, that sounds so corny, right? But it is the most important lesson of all. Many of us are guilty of turning ourselves inside out to try to be the person our man wants us to be. You want sexy? I can be sexy! (I call it my thong wearing phase.) You want a maid? I can be your maid! You want someone to listen to your chronic complaining? I can be your counselor! However, when you truly love yourself, you will find yourself capable of using magical, life-transforming language such as, “I’m sorry, that’s just not who I am.” Then you get to be yourself, and if he decides to stick around, then lucky him. Lesson: Just be yourself. It is more than enough!
(By the way, this post is not about any one man in particular, but rather a composite of all the men we women have ever broken up with. So if any of my exes are reading this, please don’t take it personally. It’s really not all about you!)