It’s not you. It’s not them. It just is (or isn’t).

OK, so I’ve decided to keep the blog rolling for now.

I have heard from so many friends lately that are in challenging relationships, or are in the aftermath of failed relationships, that I wanted to share some words of, well, maybe “not-wisdom”. Maybe experience.

I hate to say it, but I’ve been in a lot of failed relationships. If you’re looking for how to get into a good relationship and stay there, find another blog. This is NOT the blog you were looking for.

obi-wan

But if you’re interested in what I’ve learned, or are looking for some commiseration, keep reading. I am by no means claiming to be an expert. Some of this is more intellectual knowledge than internalized, but we’re all getting there in our own time. Some of this is from Buddhist practice, some is from a book I’ve recently read called “Radical Acceptance” by Tara Brach, some from friends, and some is just from past experience. Much of it overlaps. You may be aware of these things already, but in my own experience, I find commonality with others to be helpful.

First and foremost: There is nothing wrong with you. The end of this relationship (or the relationship in general) has no bearing on your worth as a human being. It’s just the nature of human relationships. Repeat as needed.

Maybe you keep thinking of the good times you had together and minimizing the bad, and wondering what went wrong. Or maybe you’re thinking only of the bad, and wondering “What the h$$$ was I thinking?” Sometimes you think of both. That’s OK.

If they broke things off, you may be wondering why. You may never hear their answer of “why” and even if they tell you, it probably won’t make sense. If you ended the relationship, you might feel guilt even though you know deep down that it was the right choice. All of these things are OK.

You and this other person came together for a period of time, you learned from them and they learned from you. Maybe there were good things that happened between you. Maybe a lot of good things. Or maybe a lot of bad things. Maybe both. Yet for some reason or another, that run came to an end, as all things do eventually. Even the truest love birds are parted by death. The fact that you and this person are not together anymore has nothing to do with your worth as a human being. Like two puzzle pieces, you simply did not fit. Or you did for a while, but now your shapes have changed, and the match is gone. You learned what you needed to learn from this person and this particular lesson is over.

You may have feelings of loss, loneliness, and perhaps even a feeling of worthlessness.

Accept them. Meet them with friendliness. Telling yourself that you shouldn’t have these feelings will only feed them and make a stronger narrative around them.

As you come to see and accept the feelings there without creating that narrative, eventually, they get tired and go away. Honest. This will take a while, and will be a struggle to say the least. Be patient. Give yourself time and don’t be in a rush for acceptance. In the meantime, be gentle with yourself.

Imagine that all of your friends and loved ones are standing around you in a circle, cheering you on. Hopefully you have family and friends nearby that can do this in person, but if not, use your imagination. Try to talk to yourself as they would talk to you; not beating yourself up.

Eventually we find that there is so much more in life than these transient feelings. And the transient relationship.

And know, dear reader, that I’m cheering for you too.

End of Story 

Over two years ago, I met someone with whom I developed a strong and strange friendship. It was never a romantic thing, and probably had some resonance from past experience. I had spent a fair bit of time with this person, and did my best to do what I could to help him in a time of need. Last year our time together came to an end with arguments and hurt feelings, along with a feeling of betrayal and unanswered questions.

I spent a lot of time afterwards wondering what happened, why, what if, etc., etc.. I wanted answers, and thought that if I had them, I’d feel better. Too much time spent in the story of what happened drew me down a dark path that took a while to reverse. It wasn’t until I dropped the story line and the unanswered questions, and simply recognized and accepted the feelings and held them in awareness, that the wounds healed in time. The story line eventually dropped, and I moved on. All things that are of the nature to arise are of the nature to cease.

I also had the opportunity to reconnect with other healthier relationships and to be reminded of how they feel as well. I’ve been in a much more peaceful mental space for a while now.

From this stable ground I recently encountered this person again. In the interest of reconciliation, I thought it might be a chance to exchange perceptions of what happened, and to be honest, hoped to receive some sort of an apology.

Neither were provided.

The same dynamics that plagued the friendship in the past have continued, and I’m not terribly surprised. The pleasant surprise is that my involvement in the answers (and the person) is not there anymore. I no longer feel the need to know what happened. The clinging to “why” isn’t present, and neither my happiness nor peace are dependent upon the answers.

Sharing perceptions of what happened for both of us would have been a step towards true reconciliation, and it’s a bit sad that this will not take place. There is a shallow détente now, but nothing more. I wish him well and will continue to be kind, but the true friendship and trust are no longer there.

Instead I’ve reconciled myself, and I’ve moved on to a healthier place. As memories or emotions appear, I’m continuing the same process that my teachers have given me: feeling the feelings in the body, accepting them, and riding the wave with awareness as the feeling passes.

The answers to what happened last year will most likely never transpire. I’m no longer counting on them. The reconciliation has happened with the feelings involved, even if it hasn’t been with the relationship in which they arose. The story line continues to fall away, and my own sense of peace has emerged from the rubble.

That’s all the answer I need.