1. No one will ever be the same.
And it’s okay. There’s no loneliness in knowing that every human being you meet will have a different effect on you; some won’t have any at all. This notion, the one that implies we should have similar feelings of affection for every person we become romantically involved with, is problematic. It forces you to make your love life into a a journey with an end point and attach a certain value or rating to every single person along that path. This is a fallacy. There’s no end game. There’s no reason to fear that you’ll never experience love again. Sometimes this fear is so great that we try to love two people the exact same way, or we project our disappointments an old relationships onto new ones. We’re scared to go to sleep without something we had before, or to someday die alone. The truth is a double-edged sword: you have to die alone, but you will go surrounded by the infinite kinds of love that one can have in an entire lifetime. Why live your life only accepting and giving one kind of love?
2. There’s no such thing as better love.
Love isn’t better or worse. It’s old and new every time, recycled and repurposed and felt every day in a coffee shop, the backseat of a car, in line for security at the airport, in sobs as one person says goodbye to another. You should never love anyone the way you loved your ex because it was just one kind of love, and if you use it again on someone new– if you do all the same things, and expect the same treatment in return– it will only be a better or worse version of something else. Your love will be a faded photocopy of the real thing, the ring left by a cup on a table after the mess is cleaned up. Love is not better or worse; it is a person growing over the course of a lifetime, it is breathing and changing, and it is never perfect.
3. Old parts won’t create anything new.
When you try to love someone the same way you loved someone else, you try to make your body and mind function the exact same way to understand a new territory. Your ex built something with you using their parts and your parts. You created something and it worked and then it broke, or became too old to be useful anymore. Don’t take the parts of that love and try to use them in a new relationship, a new machine. Start fresh. Use what you have now and let someone else build something else with you. Don’t bring the same reasons for loving one person into the plans to create a life with someone else. Love may feel old, but every connection between two people is new. Every relationship will yield something different. Your heart may feel old too, but it is not broken. Your heart can still love someone different, it can feel differently.
4. Comparison is a cheap high.
It’s easy to compare our current feelings with things we’ve felt in the past. Grief and mourning as an adult might feel worse than they did when we were younger. We feel stronger when we know that we can weather the worse. We cope by using comparison. But comparison is addictive when you use it for every feeling; one love becomes insignificant compared to a newer, better, intoxicating love. Oddly enough, we bring up the past in comparisons so that we can forget the past. Resist the urge to get high on comparison. Love your ex the way you loved your ex, and love the next person in a way that exists you and them alone. You don’t need to kill one thing to create another.
5. Dating isn’t goal-oriented.
Sure, feeling love is the ultimate goal of being in relationships in the first place. You don’t have to lose twenty times to win once, though. You can win over and over again. You can lose a little every day until it feels like you have nothing, but you are never without love. Your ability to share, hurt, give, and experience love is something that you own from the day you are born until the day you die. The goal is not to find one love, but to give your own love to others, and hopefully share it in a meaningful way with several different people. When you let go of your ego and realize that there is no great prize to be won when you are worthy, you’ll realize that you are worthy of winning all the time.
6. Feeling the past is the beauty of having lived.
If you see something that reminds you of someone and you cry, or feel angry, or feel the burning in your wrists and throat that means you can’t even cry, then you are experiencing the pangs of nostalgia for something you had. It was good. Let it be good in the past. Allow yourself to feel your past every day and it can’t own you. If you try to love someone the way you loved your ex, your past will manage your present. Let the past stick in scents, pictures, songs, feelings, everywhere but the present moment with someone you can love in a way you never loved your ex.
7. Every new feeling in the present is the beauty of being alive.
You have the ability to fall in love every day, sometimes with someone new, other times with the same person over and over, and, if you’re lucky, always with your own best self.