Everything I Learned From My Best Relationship

woman in brown long-sleeved top standing beside wall
Brooke Cagle / Unsplash

My last relationship was my best, but also my hardest. I learned a few things, and for that I remain grateful. Even though in it’s ending it hurts like hell. I think that “He” came to me when I needed him the most; like people and situations often do. I think he was a vital stepping stone in my life for my healing, growth, and progress. And like a baby bird he saw I was ready to fly on my own, so he let me go. This doesn’t mean he didn’t love me or respect me. Quite the opposite. We both need different things moving forward, and find our emotions and lifestyles getting in each other’s way from time to time. That doesn’t make the love go away. And could even build our friendship stronger. Because even through the pain there’s not hate, nor abandonment. So, this blog also serves as a thank you to him. I’ve chosen to not say his name to protect his identity.

I learned about love. I learned what it feels like to love someone, and what it feels like to be loved. Sexually, physically, romantically and platonically. Due to several life circumstances, I believe this was my first time being loved unconditionally. Other than the way my mother loved me as a child. At which point I was not who I am now. As an adult, and as “me” this was the first time. And I am so grateful that I have had that opportunity. It is so much better than a life of not knowing what love is. Or if I’ve felt it. Moving forward I know what to look for in love. And I know what to not mistake for love. This is a powerful life lesson.

I learned about hate. Hate didn’t have a part in this relationship, but discussions about hate did. I learned that the past relationships that I thought were love were based on hate. I remembered the fear that I learned in those relationships, and the anger they caused me afterwards in hindering my ability to grow and heal at a normal pace. I also learned that every person holds both love and hate inside of them. I learned about the 5 most real emotions; fear, love, anger, pleasure, pain. Every other feeling is based on those 5 basic emotions. and every single person feels each of those things every single day. And sometimes one shines brighter than the rest. And sometimes the coexistence of them can be beautiful, and sometimes brutal to the point of life or death. I learned that if you look hard enough you can see each of these things in every person. This blog expresses the ways that I learned those things. Moving forward I want to find them all before I ever settle into the comfort of another long-term relationship. This is an important lesson for safety in future relationships.

I learned about history and racism, in a way that wasn’t shown to me in textbooks growing up. I learned about real history, of real people, with real and relatable struggles. I not only learned of one life, but multiple. I heard stories about each life, each place and those stories made me want to learn more. And in this I did research and I got a better understanding of both history and mankind. I learned things that made me sad and angry. Things that are ugly and horrible. But I also reflected and learned my part; both now, and where I want to head in the future based on that history. Moving forward I want to continue to make sure that I am respecting history and the views of the people impacted by it. I want to make sure I am doing my part to not allow the ugly parts of the past repeat themselves. “Those who fail to remember the past are doomed to repeat it”

I learned about trust, consent, and respect. Respect is what each human owes to every other being including people, plants, animals, environments etc. Everything living deserves respect even when they don’t give it. Respect for others is really respect for yourself. You must respect yourself to strive to be the best version of yourself and this means showing respect for other people and things. Consent in that nobody can do anything to you, or make you do anything that you don’t want to do. In any situation, ever. The only thing you must do is live and die. Everything else a choice. Even if you give someone uniform consent in the moment, consent is something that can always change and boils down to respect and trust. Trust is the most important and the hardest. I never believed that it was given, it is always earned. And the more experiences you have, and the more times said trust had been violated the harder it is to trust again but you can. Trust is something you can feel, see, taste, touch, and hear. It is everywhere. If you do not feel safe in all ways trust is not present. Moving forward I want to remember this about trust. I want to remember to pay attention to how all of my senses are feeling and never focus on just one thing.

I learned about self-love and body positivity. You are not body positive unless you accept and appreciate EVERY body including your own. You do not have to love them or be attracted to them, but you must respect them equally. No circumstances make a difference to this. Even a dirty body should be treated equal, even a fat body, or a skinny body, or a disabled body. They all have red blood and they all should be treated equally. Self-love is the hardest to learn. Because it encompasses trust, consent, respect, love, hate, history, trauma and everything else I’ve talked about thus far in this piece. Self-love is everything and it’s the most important. You must learn to love yourself. The love around you will be so much freer and easier if you first love yourself. You can get there with baby steps, even people with low self esteem can learn to love themselves. Moving forward I want to maintain my views on both of these things, and I want to remember that I am enough. I am beautiful. My body, mind and soul very much matter.

I learned about pain. We talked a lot about life, and death, and grief, and letting go, and moving on. The pain that encompasses your entire being. I learned that to feel pain from heartbreak you had to have felt love. I learned that pain is also a gift. I learned that pain can be love, and love can be pain. And finally, I learned why they say love hurts. Moving forward I want to remember that sometimes feeling pain is normal, sadness is normal and not every time something hurts is it a crisis or mental illness. Sometimes things just suck, and we must get through these things too. There’s never a rainbow without rain. This is an important lesson for continuing to heal my mental illness. It’s easy to assume every painful event adds to my trauma history. it’s simply not true. Not all pain is trauma. And sometimes pain is pleasure. 

He once told me that conversations never have an ending, and in a way I feel relationships are the same. This chapter of our relationship is ending, but we have decided to remain friends and there is no possible way to know that the space behind the new doors isn’t even better than the one we’re leaving. It surely is a moment of growth and reflection that neither of us could have predicted. It feels incredibly healthy even through the pain. I believe that when souls meet and there’s cosmic connections. We have no control. And I also believe that sometimes if we lay out in the grass at night we’ll see shooting stars. And I also believe that sometimes the stars have the answers. I still believe in fate, and I still believe in hope, and I believe that true love never dies. Moving forward I want to remember that this sadness doesn’t change who I am inside of my soul. No person or situation can change the light inside of me.

Goodbye partner, Hello friend. TC mark

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