By Jordan Gray
At the beginning of 2014 I set out with the intention to fall more deeply in love with myself than I ever had before. And when I get an idea in my head, I commit to it fully.
I hired a self-love coach that I checked in with at least once per week. I started working with a therapist to dig into some of my painful childhood memories. I started journaling (with a focus on self-recognition) on a daily basis for months.
I also set the intention (from January 1st onwards) to aim to remain single for the entire calendar year in an effort to be able to focus all of my energy on myself. If I was going to be dating, I would be dating me.
I set the original intention of working on my self-love because I realized that I had been attracting romantic partners that were often significantly out of alignment with what I was looking for. For example, if I hadn't yet accepted how sensitive and emotional I was, I would inevitably attract partners who didn't like or accept those exact same things about me.
So I figured that by only dating myself and falling in love with myself for a full year, I would eventually be able to attract a much more aligned partner into my life. Well, the plan worked, but it didn't take a full year.
On August 14th of that same year, a magical unicorn of a human being popped up in my Facebook sidebar. Every part of my being came alive and told me that I had to click on that profile.
I messaged her, she messaged back, we had an easily flowing two-hour conversation from across the country. Fast forward a couple of months and we were officially dating.
We each had our own blocks to emotional intimacy that came at us full-force within the first few weeks of our being in a relationship.
In terms of our attachment styles, she had been a classic love avoident (not really having had a relationship in close to five years), and I was a textbook anxious style (dating many people, but rarely letting them get close to me emotionally). And those blocks (fortunately) came crumbling to the ground for both of us in short-order.
We cried. We shared secrets. We were vulnerable. I wrote a book about our early dating experience in under five days. Then I wrote an article about what I had had to overcome. Then another article about how emotionally strong she was.
We were rocket fuel for each other's creative energies. We were inseparable.
We helped each other grow. We learned how to love ourselves more fully. We learned how to improve our communication and boundary setting. We learned to prioritize our self-care, autonomy, needs, and desires.
We spent countless nights basking in the glow of our mutual adoration. Or maybe that was the glow of the fireplace that we would have our date nights in front of at the apartment that I lived in back then. Or both. Either way, there was always a glow that surrounded us.
I had never felt more emotionally safe with someone. I shared everything. I constantly told her how much she meant to me, and all of the things that I appreciated about her, and she responded in kind.
After a certain amount of time, we slowly drifted apart. We found that we weren't compatible for each other long-term, at least with how we were as people in the present moment. Despite having an endless well of love for each other, something was off, and we couldn't hold each other back any longer.
We had learned our lessons, and we had to let each other fly free.
Something else we shared in common was the fact that neither of us had ever had to end a relationship with someone that we still loved so deeply. This point might be confusing to some people, but relationships aren't simple. They're never black and white. It's all nuance. You can think the world of someone and simultaneously not work as a partnership long-term.
When we sensed the emotional resistance and gradual drifting apart, we didn't fight it, but we did want to work our way through it. We went and saw a counselor together for multiple sessions. We did our best to salvage the obvious love that we still had for each other. In the end, we both did everything we could and we felt like we had earned our way through the entirety of the relationship.
One of my superpowers is that thousands of words spill from my finger tips with relative ease, and yet I find it difficult to convey how much this person means to me.
Everything in my life has been shaped by her existence. How I write has changed. How I am as a friend has changed. How I am as a son, brother, cousin, nephew, partner, and human being has changed. Her beautiful heart has expanded mine in innumerable ways and I will forever be grateful for her.
Our red wine-stained first dates have affected me just as profoundly as the tears that I have shed over her. Her influence in my life has helped catapult my soul into an entirely new realm of loving and relating.
We both recognize that we are not the ones to take each other's hearts all the way to the moon. We have to let go so we can allow the other to continue to soar even higher. And even though I know this fact, it still hurts.
Sadness shows up to allow you to mourn the passing of things. The passing away of friends and family, the end of living somewhere, the end of a much-loved portion of your career, and the end of intimate relationships.
No longer will we be able to reference our hundreds of unique inside jokes. Or have date nights like we have date nights. Or make food like we make food.
The future that you imagined with your particular person slowly dissolves in your heart, and it hurts. But it is a pain that grows you.
I know, deep in my bones, that the more you show up for yourself, do your inner work, and follow your bliss in life, the more you will continue to attract increasingly alignedromantic partners. I know that there's an even bigger love waiting for us around the corner. And whether that love is months, years, or decades away is not up to me. All I can do is let go, allow the experience to grow me, and continue on my path.
The last time we saw each other as partners, we sat across from each other and listed off all of the ways that we were grateful for each other. We thanked each other profusely. We gave specific examples. We also communicated a plethora of words in the silences that we shared, as a hundred tears rolled down our blessed faces.
Amy, you've changed my life immeasurably. "Grateful" doesn't even begin to describe my feelings towards you. You will be in my heart forever. Thank you, for everything.
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