I was sitting at dinner a couple of nights ago with one of my friends who asked me if my boyfriend and I were still together. I told her no but that he is my best friend which is even better (he was my best friend before and we are extremely close). She instantly looked at me like I had four heads. She asked me how that was possible, if I was sure we were ‘just friends’ and I told her that we were definitely just friends who have a lot of love for one another. She looked at me like I had six arms.
Rewind to about a month ago when my best friend (aka ex boyfriend, but that term didn’t feel right) and I were walking in the botanic gardens (something we do every year before we leave school) and he was talking about how he still had feelings for me and was unsure what to do now, especially since we were graduating. His concern was that he would still feel attached to me and feel hurt if I moved on with someone else. He also wasn’t sure if I had just lost all of those feelings for him.
It was my turn to look at him as if he had eight hands. Lost all feelings for him?! He was my first best friend in college, we had lived next to each other for four years, I saw him at least once every day (we were on the same rowing team) and he was my boyfriend for the majority of that time. How could all of the love I professed for him just suddenly be gone? Just because we weren’t having sex anymore? And then I realized, that is exactly what people expect. For some odd reason, there is thus expectation that when you break up with someone you stop talking to them, maybe burn all of their stuff Taylor Swift style, and basically act like they are a total stranger.
Separating love from attachment was very important for me. The first person I ever dated was so attached to me and we learned some hard lessons about why that doesn’t work very well. I love him very much. Seeing him with someone else for the first time would probably be hard because I have never seen it or experienced it. But what I would never say to him is that ‘you were mine, you can’t date someone else’. That is attachment. That is like saying I don’t want him to continue his life’s journey and grow with the other beautiful people he will meet. I love him and I want him to be able to spread the wonderful love we shared together to other people. He is an amazing, beautiful man who will touch so many other hearts. I would feel incredibly selfish to make him feel guilty for moving on and not exploring other souls.
I am not saying you have to spend every moment with your ex if that means you are unable to lead a healthy life. But I always acknowledge my love for him. I could never act as if it didn’t exist. The love wasn’t born because we were intimate physically and doesn’t die with that either. It comes from the strong, loving relationship we built together. I also spent many of my formative years with this man and we have seen each other evolve and transform in ways we could never imagine. He is my first love and I am proud. There is no one that could tell me I should feel a certain way about him just because he doesn’t have the label ‘boyfriend’ anymore.
That brings me to my point: love everyone with your whole heart. That is what I am practicing every day. They don’t need to be a family member or significant other for you to love them. Don’t get me wrong, it was much easier for me to unconditionally love family members and partners. That was because society told me that was acceptable. I am not at the level where I love some stranger as much as I do my sister. However, that is what I am working towards. Love can mean so many things, that is another post, and right now I am working on it also meaning accepting without judgement or condition. It would feel unnatural for me to tell someone I love them and then the next day say that I don’t have those feelings anymore. There is no one that doesn’t deserve your love. If you have read any of my previous posts you may know I am obsessed with Shaman Durek as of late. On a podcast he touched upon this for a brief moment that people have one night stands, don’t even learn the persons name, use them, and then toss them away like garbage. He is not against one night stands or shaming anyone for it. He told this wonderful story of his time with a woman for three days. They had an amazing time, made love, honored one another, and loved each other. After three days they went their separate ways. What I loved about that story is that Shaman Durek showed you can love someone deeply and treat them with honor and kindness without the commitment if that is what you want. So many people won’t invest in someone and treat them like they are less than a person because they don’t see a future with them. You shouldn’t just love someone because they do something for you, you are having sex with them, or you are related to them. You can love everyone, partner, ex partner or none of the above. Imagine a world where someone loved you and accepted you for who you are, even though you don’t know them.
My bottom line here is that no matter what the person means to you in your life, treat them with love, respect, honor, and consciousness. Always live consciously. Love others the way you want to be loved. Love others like you love yourself.
with love, katie