Where Do Broken Hearts Go ?!
With the bright, glinting shimmering of gold changing into the beloved copper of autumn, the rhythm of the Earth seems to change and eases into a less active, more reflective, calm mood of peace.
Not that I ever stop reflecting, but even so, during spring and summer, when all comes to life, naturally even I am less brooding and more outside, taking in the external world and the experiences it brings with it.
As I am writing this, I am cuddled up in bed, with two hot water bottles, one warming my feet and one my neck and shoulders, a steaming hot cup of coffee on the side, just finished with the first two chapters of a new book I started reading. A cosy start into a Saturday. In said book a beautiful sentence caught my attention. In order to gather it, like I so often do with inspiring quotes and phrases, so that it always will be found again, I wrote it down in my little notebook reserved for quotes and my monthly gratitude journal. When I discovered that the month of August was bare of notes, one thing led to another and I felt compelled to go through my agenda (that also serves as a journal) to see what happened in August, to add to my gratitude journal.
My attention was drawn back into the past, flipping through the pages and lingering here or there, reading some of the entries. That was when I came across the following one.
Now, this is a very intimate move, to extract an entry of my journal. My mind somehow got stuck on reading it again. With an extra one and a half months of life unfolding itself since then, my insights on that specific topic have deepened. Something inside of me felt compelled to write about it and something else felt the urge to post it.
12th of August 2022
Yesterday, I had a conversation with a close friend about falling in love again. That whole getting to know someone and be swept off your feet kind of experience. He said, that this was exactly what he was longing for; the exciting, the new, the craving. I said, I’d rather have all of this behind me already and be settled into a peaceful, tranquil state of a relationship. Comfortably farting and burping, just because you are at ease with each other. Safety, security, easy going banter, friendship mingling with passion.
Middle of this past week had me feeling totally overwhelmed by this guy I met. Unsure, out of balance, even triggered. A sense of urgency and restlessness even though there were no decisions, no commitment to be made. I felt rushed into action and missing my calm, quiet balance of daily routine. Then, today, I missed him and told him so. Emotions all over the place and I don’t think I like this chaos and disorder very much. At all.
After three years of being broken up, two and a half years of close friendship to overcome this loss of intimacy and longterm relationship, and half a year of radio silence initiated by him to sort his upcoming life changes out; I thought we’d probably won’t meet up during my stay here anyway. He indeed reached out though. And we met. And the dust cleared. And a person that once was the center of my existence, my sun, somehow turned into a stranger. Closure lurked around the corner, and after three years I was eager to welcome it in; I was prepared and I was content to let go and move on.
Where do broken hearts go?
A wise and close friend of mine told me last year in winter that it was very concerning seeing me still being alone after my break up two and a half years ago. From another source, somewhere I cannot remember, I gathered the information that a proper recovery from any deep, intimate relationship takes the same amount of time as the duration of said relationship. Society at large and admittedly also my mom, gave me the impression that if you are over 30 and single, there is something obtrusively wrong with you as a person.
I say all of this is right and wrong at the same time. All life journeys are different and thus individual. For me, it took exactly three years to get over my six year relationship and I am not sure if I would be able to say that if he had not moved on to create his own little family, all neat with spouse, dog and newborn baby, I would have been able to achieve that in this amount of time to begin with. Obviously I will always love the person he was to me. After all, to this day, it was him who enabled me to get to where I am today. It was him who never faltered to believe in me, saw the potential, gave me the means and time to heal from the first 25 years of my existence. Now he is someone different but it is not contradictory to continue loving someone unconditionally, if the meaning of that love has changed.
He knows all that.
During the meeting I was writing about in the journal entry above, I told him yet again. To make sure he knows what a fantastic human being he is and what he did for me. We both know that our relationship was not a whole lifetime sort of thing. We know it now anyway. Our relationship served us both for reasons belonging to a bigger picture. Growth, the kind that only comes with friction and high highs and low lows.
To me it was such a relief that I no longer have him placed on a pedestal, like I did all those years, even before we got together within a platonic friendship setting. Meeting up and seeing that I was the one initiated the end of it, I being the one walking away and not craving more of his presence; words cannot describe how freeing that felt. All these years being entranced by a person, like a moth to the light, and now I was able to go on with my life.
It took me three years.
And this does not mean that I no longer yearn for that same connection I experienced with him.
This push and pull, passion, this underlying security of friendship and belonging.
Which leads me from the past to the present.
It starts like most romantic stories. The whirlwind of being swept away by your own emotions. My world turned upside down in the course of less than two weeks. My feet loosing the solid, balanced groundwork of the life I had created for myself. It came with all the default experiences falling in love usually brings with it: loss of sleep but tons of energy, addictive craving for that other person, the world around you suddenly even brighter and more colourful than before, the stomach all filled up with butterflies during the episodes of banter and subtle flirting, all thrown together in a pot with a pinch of insecurity about where all of this is going or what it even means.
Overwhelming. Even while I am writing this, looking back on it, I get the impression that it served as a lesson to understand myself better.
What I want, what I do not want.
Long story cut short to relieve your curiosity: The fairytale turned into a friend zone.
To me at first it was a true battle to accept it for what it was, raging inside of me rather than outside. While some part of me was longing for all of it, feeling like a teenager in love again, another part of me, probably the mature woman I have become, was observing all of it with a motherly smile on her lips; the child will come to her senses eventually, she seemed to be communicating through her expression.
And so I did.
After two months of ups and downs, supposedly making up my mind and then again knowing nothing at all, turning and tossing and rethinking decisions, finally the turmoil inside settled and I felt it clearly; not the one.
At first that was discouraging. Maybe I was destined to stay by myself. I feel so much at home with myself, I love my life and coming so far, I appreciate it even more because I never even came to a point where I felt comfortable envisioning spending my life by myself. Does this make me fall into the trap of becoming a spinster, unable to compromise and thus unable to put my life’s journey together with another one’s life, a neatly woven piece of a joined legacy? Destined to stay alone, but not lonely?
Or maybe I was too picky? Although I swore, never again would I settle for something I am not one hundred percent sure of.
Gradually, and with significant help, support, guidance of that very person I am talking about, all of this doubt and back and forth settled. The talks, his kindness, understanding and compassion, all of it filled me up with something totally different. A sense of knowing that we met for a reason and that the reason was not found in a romantic sense, but on a much deeper and maybe even more important level. A soul level where I for one, as I am not able to speak for him, know that out of this connection came a lot of wisdom and understanding for myself; where I am at, where my mind and my heart are at. A sort of reciprocal journey of deeper understanding for needs and wishes, development and aspirations, even healing.
Through his never ending patience with me, and listening to my never-ending stream of words, he was offering me a love that was not romantic, although he believed it was, and as I have come to believe now, much more important and needed in exactly this way. I believe it is a love one develops normally over decades of friendship where support and care is there regardless of the shortcomings, corners and edges of the other person.
And then again, maybe not.
Nevertheless, through this time I saw clearly two very important things:
For one, I am scared of letting go again. Having had three years of concluding the last longterm relationship, I am not sure I want to endure something like this healing process. Of course, at the same time, I am also aware that this healing process enabled me to grow even more as a person and that inevitably I will fall for someone again, maybe or maybe not bringing with it a breakup.
Or not… who knows?!
Secondly, and throughout our two month whirlwind connection always a persevering feeling, that I am scared of loosing myself again. Because, simply put, I only found myself this summer.
Which might sound strange considering that I am me, and have been me for over 34 years now. But still- the ME I like and the ME I feel confident about, and the ME that I truly begin to recover, uncover, has only genuinely appeared this year. In full maybe even just this summer.
During my first one and a half years of travelling, I was partly absolutely unaware of who I was. Yes, I was on a journey, and yes, I still am, and yes, I believe that our whole life’s journey partly consists of evolving as a person.
This summer though, can I describe it?
This summer felt like the missing piece in a jigsaw puzzle and I somehow realised an inner depth of love and care and appreciation for myself that I never experienced before.
So, as they say, falling in love, it feels unsettling. I do not want to fall. I want to find myself within that feeling. I do not want to crave a person, I want to find myself comfortable with them. I do not want to feel off balance, I wand to feel balanced out with them.
Which brings me to the last point I’d like to conduct in this post.
As mentioned, some people want to fall and have butterflies in their belly. Want to only think about that person, want to merge with them, be crazy about them. That I can understand. That I had a couple of times already. But what I genuinely appreciated about my last relationship, looking back now, was the in-between where it was not about anything else but the sense of belonging installed within me.
Admittedly, I was not a whole person back then. But since I am on my way of becoming a whole person in my own right then. Accordingly, what I see in my future then, possibly, is a man that slowly comes into my life with me not even seeing him as a potential love interest, and neither does he. A man that becomes a friend and over time progresses to be one of my most trusted friends and not the only one. To then eventually, maybe, culminate into us realising that we could be more.
Proceeding to then be more. Hopefully lasting a very long time.
And that is what I told my friend during our conversation: No falling. No risk to lose myself. On the contrary, found and balanced and set within me. The me stays the me, loved by an equally established, balanced you.
Me and you.
High expectations, I guess.
An interviewee in a podcast by Jay Shetty (LINK) said something very moving that struck me as the essence of what I strive for:
‘Make a list of all that you truly, not superficially, but genuinely want in a partner. And then be exactly that yourself.’
You never know what the future brings, but the future is bright when I envision myself staying true to my aspirations and continuously working to becoming a better person.
Caring, loving, kind, compassionate, courageous, adventurous, joyful, humorous, empowered, creative, supporting, reflective, living life to the fullest.
Whatever that means at any given moment, like right now, cuddling with Marjorie under the blankets and writing about love.
And I wish all of that for you too, my beloved souls. Strive to be the person you want to have in your life, the rest will come in due time.
With that, from my heart to yours, all the love and light of this world.