The Laws of First Loves and Break Up Songs
The laws of love and attraction are nearly impossible to memorize. As you venture into relationships, they seem to bend and fold into shapes that seem quite different from what you believed them to be. Once you think you have figured out the map, the boundaries shift and directions change and you wind up just as lost as when you started. This is never more true than in a gay man’s first long term relationship.
We all float around in the wading pool in the beginning of our dating lives. That is, until we meet that one guy that leads us to plunge into deeper waters. The first date is magic, the first week is frantic and the first month is a blur. You let all of your friendships go for a while as you drift into couple-hood and cement your new status in laughter and sex. The first relationship is truly one of the great wonders of the world; both for its magnanimous rise and for its tragic dissolve. But when you find yourself in the rubble of the life you thought would last forever, how do you transition to a new relationship without post traumatic stress?
Truth is, it is impossible to realize that you are better off alone until you destroy something that started out good which has now become unrecognizable. And for a while, you think that you deserve to be left in the wreckage. But it’s through life after heartbreak that we learn that it’s always better to be single than to suffer for the one you think you love.
Whether it’s a year, five years or a decade, the dissolution of your first long-term relationship can seem like a soap opera that has been on the air well past its prime.
You ask yourself if its really over well after you know the answer. Your apartment that was once a shrine to your romance now seems like a prison that you’re not sure if you want to break out of. So you sit and you sulk and drink lots of wine, dragging the inevitable out like the ending of a Merchant Ivory movie. But why is it that in your first relationship (and maybe your second and third) you would rather remain in a losing game instead of throwing the match and gathering your strength until a new opponent comes along?
My first relationship ran just shy of the five-year mark. I was 21, he was tall and handsome, and we rarely fought. He was, without a doubt, my first love. We skated through the first two years with rarely any turbulence at all. But as I prepared for graduate school and we were forced to decide whether we should move away together or separate now, things got dicey. Deep down, we both knew it was a bad idea. But we loved each other and were too young and dumb to ever trust our instincts. So we packed our apartment and let the turmoil begin.
The dissolution of the relationship happened quickly. I was unhappy with his approach to life and he was sick and tired of me pushing him. It was always an unfair fight and the battles got ugly, but we stuck together because we both figured that even our unhappy relationship was better than being alone.
Of course, we did eventually break up. But not before we made each other go through our own version of a sappy Lifetime movie where love is lost. Today, we are both still great friends, and we still thank each other for showing us exactly what we don’t ever need to put up with again.
If someone is making you hurt, if someone brings on constant ache to the core of your body, then being healthy and alone is better than being in a relationship that is poison. Nobody likes a martyr and you aren’t suffering for the greater good, you are suffering for no good reason. Time goes on, pop music slowly becomes less painful and you realize that no relationship is ever worth suffering for.
A few people are lucky and meet the one that’s right for them early in life, but for the rest of us, it takes trying on shoe after shoe to find the right fit. Luckily, after each relationship, what you are looking for comes more into focus and what you will not put up with becomes painfully clear.
Yes, there is someone out there for everyone. But never fret over the time that you lost thinking that is was not the man you thought it was. The thing about soul mates is, they always have a few doppelgangers running around and deceiving people into loving them first. You may even be guilty of doing so yourself.
Love is out there, but it takes a few broken hearts to find it. However, once you learn how to bounce back from the first break down, it gets easier every time. Just find your break up song, a good stiff drink, and know that if your relationship was truly bad for you, you are on your way to being good.
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