Sometimes, I write as part of the thinking process, letting my fingers express my thoughts and work through issues I’m facing. But sometimes, I write to try to reframe issues into something more positive, to redirect anger and hurt. This is the latter.
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I’ve had 5 long-term relationships in my life, the longest nearly 14 years and the shortest just about a year. And I’ve been hurt five times.
Now, to be honest, in all but one of these, I can see my part in their demise. And even in that one, I have been able to forgive, if not forget. And what lingers is the fact that inside of me, I still have love for each of these ladies. In some cases, it is the love of the person I met. In others the person I have seen, but was never ready to come out. But regardless of how the love is manifested, I still have love for all of them.
I’ve written about trust previously. It is important for me. Very important. And almost all of these relationships ended with a loss of trust. That’s a tough pill to swallow. But it’s tougher when the lies, the dishonesty don’t stop. Like making the case that you don’t have time or desire for a committed relationship, then going back to trolling the online dating sites less than three weeks later – looking for a committed relationship. Or publicly flaunting your sexual exploits online while pretending to work things out through counseling. How about a long-term relationship where you’ve discussed your partner going on the pill and always being told they really don’t want to, then finding out that they started it less than a week after they ended it with you – while they’re hitting the dating scene?
Yes, these have happened. And yes, they hurt like hell.
Yet what lingers is the fact that despite the lies, the dishonesty, the knowing deceit, I will still have love for all of them.
Yet what lingers is the fact that despite the lies, the dishonesty, the knowing deceit, I still have love for all of them. Why? Because for me, love is not a spigot I turn off. There was something in every one of these women that attracted me to them.
The difficult part for me is getting past that, and getting past the hurt. In one case, it took nearly 20 years. Yes, twenty. And mainly because I had been an ass the last time I saw her, and carried the guilt of that for all that time. Funny thing was, when I apologized for it twenty years later, she didn’t remember it at all. I carried that guilt unnecessarily.
And yes, I still melt a little when I see her picture. Always will. And the guy she left me for? They’ve been married ever since. I envy their relationship for how wonderful it is. I’m genuinely happy for them. And she is a trusted friend.
The one after that? The last time I saw her was when my dad died. She was close with my folks. I hadn’t talked to her in more than 10 years. But I let her know about my dad. She came to the funeral. And I melted looking at her again. It had to have been very uncomfortable for my wife, as the emotion of the day cut through any walls I could have ever put up. And I never saw or heard from her after that day. She was (and I believe still is) married to what seemed to be a very possessive, controlling man. I have in the past tried to contact her, to find out if she is ok. She has disappeared. So I have not been able to achieve the same kind of closure.
We’ll always be friends, we’ll always care about the others well-being, but it won’t ever be “us”. And that’s totally ok.
I very recently did come to closure on a more recent relationship. I believe we truly do have love for each other to this day. Not “in love”, but genuine caring. We remain friends, and we have both been apologetic for the mistakes we made when we were together. We were both broken people and are both still trying to sort out the pieces. We have spoken much recently, and finally got out in the open what to me was the elephant in the room: Despite how we feel, there is just no chance it will ever work out. We’ll always be friends, we’ll always care about the others well-being, but it won’t ever be “us”. And that’s totally ok. We had tried in the past to make things work even after we both knew it wasn’t going to. This was an acknowledgment that that part of our lives was over. And for me, it was like a weight lifted.
And she is also a trusted friend.
In the other two relationships, trust has been damaged. Badly. And I will eventually forgive, but not forget. I’m sure that some of the lies were ostensibly to “protect me”, or to not “hurt me further”. But of course, hurting me is exactly what they did do.
But what lingers in these instances is that there is still love there on my end, even if it is not there on theirs.
They’re broken too. That’s what I remind myself. Their actions are direct results of their not dealing with what’s really going on inside them. I just happened to be part of the debris field. They have to figure out how to deal with their own issues, or they’re doomed to repeat them. I hope they do. And because they are broken, i will end up forgiving.
And so, I love all of them, still. Not “in love”, but love nonetheless. For those with which I have been able to achieve closure, we will be friends as long as they’ll have it. For the one that’s missing, I truly hope that she’s ok. And for the other two, I hope that they are able to sort themselves out. I wasn’t able to do that for them. I hope they can do it for themselves. Everyone deserves happiness.
And to all of them – I love you. Because that’s what lingers.