“See I know what we’ve got to do. You let go, and I’ll let go too. Cause no one’s hurt me more than you, and no one ever will….” Ex-Factor, Lauryn Hill
Today’s post was inspired by the Queen Lauryn Hill (man, did this album get a LOT of play in my apartment after quite possibly the hardest breakup of my life – my last relationship with the man that I just knew I was destined to marry) and by a recent conversation that I had with my sister. Both her and I have been fortunate (or unfortunate depending on your perspective) enough to date men that woo’d us and swept us off our proverbial feet giving us butterflies each and every time we saw them. It was all good, until it wasn’t. Our “butterfly” relationships lasted 1.5 years and 2 years respectively. Was it worth it? Looking back – I’d have to say yes… and no. Let me explain.
I experienced love like I’d never known. The joy of going out on one date (all it took was one, I was OPEN) and realizing that my search for long-lasting love was done. I did it! I landed my man and was well on my way down the aisle! A month after our first date we were officially in a relationship. Less than 8 months later we were signing the lease to a shared apartment in Queens, NY. It was bliss. We barely argued because he was perfect and flawless… for about 5 months, then things started to rapidly decline.
The [often trivial] arguments ensued soon after becoming roommates and it ultimately led to our breakup. We didn’t even last one year under the same roof. He moved out without having the decency to tell me he was doing so (oh yeah – I was fast asleep in the next room when he left like a thief in the night. I woke up on that Friday morning to an empty apartment (he’d been staying in the living room for weeks along with all of his belongings and sleeping on the couch). I stayed in that apartment four months after his departure (doing some major redecorating to make the space customized to my liking), but his energy was still there and it was a painful reminder each and every time I walked through the door. Four months later after he left, I followed suit and moved into my current brownstone apartment in Brooklyn. I’d wanted to do that for years and to this day I am happy that I did.
I made the breakup sound simple right? It wasn’t – far from it. The worst part about being in a relationship based on the butterflies that you feel is the end of said relationship – which usually comes way sooner than you expected (in my case within a matter of months). The fall is hard, long, and tragic. I’d equate it to falling into deep abysmal darkness. The initial fall is scary. You don’t like this free-fall feeling because its scary and unfamiliar to you. Nothing makes sense – you don’t know left from right, up from down. You continue to plummet down the abyss and find that you eventually get comfortable with the dark decent because this is your new norm. The thought of light seems unfathomable – you’ve plummeted so low that you don’t realistically see how you can bask in sunlight anytime soon. Then it happens. You hit rock bottom, your decent is complete – your emotions can’t sink any lower. Welcome to your new home – you make yourself cozy because this is your reality for as long as you accept it to be. The climb back up into life after love seems insurmountable, so you just make yourself cozy and settle into the pits of the abyss you’ve involuntarily fallen into.
The prolific (this dude drops gem after gem on his site) and nationally-known dating coach, Evan Marc Katz (http://www.evanmarckatz.com/), made the following statements on his website (a website dedicated to woman that want to understand men so they can find love) and I found that they resonated immensely with me – perhaps you will feel the same way:
– When it comes to love, I might sit here and give advice every day, but there’s not a “right” and “wrong”. All I know is that the majority of people who have been “in love” and “just knew” that they were meant to be have since broken up. That tells me all I need to know about clarity of passion.
– People fall “in love”, get married, and get divorced even though they “just knew” they were “soul mates”.Being “in love” is clearly not enough to sustain a relationship.
– Being “in love” is just a feeling, like getting drunk or stoned or dizzy. Real, actual, enduring love is a commitment to the commitment, the desire to make your partner’s life better every single day. By giving that kind of love, you are more likely to receive that kind of love.
After climbing out of the aforementioned abyss (earlier this year) and taking an entire year (give or take) to heal and reflect, I realized that butterflies no longer do it for me. Don’t get me wrong – they’re beautiful and give you feelings of euphoria, but they ultimately die. Sorry to sound so morbid, but its true. What I now find important is an attraction of the mind, heart, and spirit first and foremost. I’m sure that once those things are ascertained in my mate that the euphoria that I’ll feel will be way more powerful than a butterfly flutter.
When considering a prospective mate I think about the interview our FLOTUS, Michelle Obama, had with Glamour Magazine a few years ago(http://www.glamour.com/inspired/women-of-the-year/2009/michelle-obama?currentPage=5) in which she stated the following: “Look at the heart. Look at the soul. Look at how the guy treats his mother and what he says about women…. And, more important, how does he treat you? When you’re dating a man, you should always feel good. You should never feel less than. You should never doubt yourself. You shouldn’t be in a relationship with somebody who doesn’t make you completely happy and make you feel whole. And if you’re in that relationship and you’re dating, then my advice is, don’t get married.”
I sometimes wonder if I needed to experience that butterfly relationship so that I could change my views on what I thought I wanted in a lifelong mate. Maybe I had to fall into that abyss so that I could climb out as the victor and learn how to dance in the sunshine again. I’m not dancing yet, but I have made it to the top and am walking towards love – I see it, faintly in the distance and I am prepared to experience life after love so I can dance like I’ve never danced before.
Until next time friends!