As we wave goodbye to 2014, I can’t help but be excited about ringing in 2015. This year was honestly an emotional roller coaster for me. I reluctantly left a relationship where we were both unhappy. We both saw the end coming for a long time but because we loved each other tried hard to hold on. I knew it was over when we had another fucked up Valentine’s Day. Two weeks later, I packed my stuff and moved. I can honestly say that I’m much happier now than I was on January 1, 2014. Leaving was a major learning experience for me! Here are some of the things I learned about love and relationships this year:
1. It’s okay to let go of a relationship that is just not working. There’s nothing wrong with moving on. Leaving was inconvenient in many ways and at first, I felt guilty for not trying harder. I felt like we let down our friends and family who wanted us to stay together. But had we not found the courage to move on, we would probably still be struggling through a frequently hostile and unhappy union. It’s okay to be happy alone than unhappy together.
2. Sometimes you CAN’T be friends with your ex. When the wounds of a break up are still fresh, trying to build a friendship can be painful. It can also prevent you from truly moving on.
3. Sometimes you CAN be friends with your ex. One of the most supportive friends I had as I went through a break up was an ex-girlfriend. We hadn’t dated in years and she was also going through a break up at the same time I was. We exchanged dating stories, cried on each other’s shoulders and listened patiently to stories of how much we missed the other woman.
4. Unless you love yourself first, you’re never going to be happy in a relationship. Unfortunately, I spent many years seeking love from others instead of working on loving myself. And when my girlfriends failed to meet my expectations, I would be so unhappy. I’m still learning, but I now get how important self-love is to loving another person period.
5. Casual sex will not heal your broken heart. And for me it was not even worth it.
6. It’s okay to date a lot. I learned a lot about myself by spending time getting to know a variety of women this year.
7. It’s okay to take a break from dating. My new sweetie was single for two years before we met. Time alone can truly clarify who you are and how you want to show up in a relationship.