There comes a time after every breakup, when you learn that the other person has started dating someone else. Unless the person you were formerly dating becomes a monk, this fact is practically inevitable.
So it should have come as no surprise to me when I learned that my recent ex-boyfriend had a new lady friend. I knew on some level that this would happen, but I was not prepared for the way it would make me feel. This person, who had shared his love and affection only with me, was now sharing it with somebody else.
This is a marvelous way to discover just how human you are. I don’t know what made me think that I was above jealousy, but it turns out I am not. When I heard the news that my ex was ‘seeing’ someone, I suddenly understood the term “jealous rage”. This rage manifested as a long bout of crying, followed by a frenzied attempt to distract myself with other things.
In the process of trying to distract myself, I was introduced to the friend of a friend. Where I could not fathom the idea of dating just a few short weeks earlier, I was suddenly open to the idea of meeting someone new. Discovering, after such a short time, that my ex had already “moved on” was the equivalent of shooting me out of a canon into the dating world. Oh, he’s dating? Fine, I’m dating too.
What I was not prepared for was the possibility that I would meet someone I really liked, and that things would progress at warp speed and land me square in the lap of yet another relationship. I’m not sure if this is good or bad.
On the one hand, it’s great; how can I complain about being in those dreamy early stages with someone, where everything is exciting and new? On the other hand, I probably could have benefited from a few months, or even years, by myself. Just as I was settling in for the long haul of single life, here comes Mr. Wonderful.
If there is one thing I have learned during all of this, it’s that people can absolutely not be replaced. I imagined that when I found someone new, I’d be blissfully ensconced in the prospect of new love, and that would be a panacea. Instead, I’ve discovered that there is no avoiding those relationship wounds that are still so fresh. New man or not, I still have to deal with some very scary emotions, and mourn the life that I knew.
So I find myself between two worlds; the shiny, new one and the old, comfortable one that I still miss. I often compare these worlds to each other, and wonder if I’m doing the right thing. Is it too soon for new love? Did I make mistakes with the old one? Do I need to spend a year alone? I don’t know. I can slap a bunch of labels on my situation and drive myself to misery, or I can embrace this life without reserve. The most interesting part is that happiness can scare you every bit as much as sadness. So what’s the point in struggling against any of it? The best thing I can remind myself is to “be here now.”
So the challenge is to stay in the present moment, and accept that things are unfolding exactly as they should be. Perhaps I will discover something completely unexpected – a happiness independent of any person or situation. One I can take with me anywhere.