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What to Do Once She’s Gone

By BounceBack | Love + Sex – Mon, Jun 25, 2012 10:33 AM EDT

Three years, five months and 11 days. That was the length of the relationship. A good healthy loving relationship right up until the moment that it wasn’t. Things were bad and needed to end, but when she left, I still felt painful amounts of loneliness.

There are lots of men like me who’ve committed themselves to a partner only to see them disappear into the ether. Fortunately for me, there was no cheating or deception, just a slowly expanding void that eventually became too wide for us to manage. The weekends we spent at the beach just a short walk from our apartment in LA, were replaced with her solo shopping trips and my golf game. We started to habitualize our separation, and in doing so allowed our connection to fizzle. Eventually the light went out.

A few weeks after she left I decided I needed to move locations. I’ll be honest, the move was partly stemming from the heartbreak but mostly it had to do with the fact she was keeping our LA apartment. While packing up my things I realized I could make a life for myself in NYC again (I’d lived there after college), but that LA hadn’t died for me like cities sometimes do for men in failed relationships. I wanted to attack a new career angle and without my girlfriend in my life, I was free to explore. This was when things started to feel like a positive change, when the odor I smelled in everything was no longer pungent of failure, but sweet with opportunity. I wish I could write that I packed up my car and set off across the country, but I did something much less poetic: I flew.

When I got to NYC I was very careful to not launch myself into flings, attach to old lovers or hunt for the perfect doe-eyed beauty. I was to relax as best I could in a city of 8 million people. I’d work hard at my job, but in my free time I’d just lay low and let those old relationships with male friends improve with the thought that I might meet someone nice at a party. Dating was secondary to a process not really of healing, but of prolonged self-actualization. I was no longer defeated, I was moving forward. The parties eventually started to pickup, but as soon as I felt my engine running hot for some 20-something Vassar grad I’d pull the reigns and double down on work. But really I was doubling down on myself.

Eventually work took off and the fogginess of my time in LA became clear. I saw what I’d did wrong and vowed not to repeat them. Oddly, I came to the realization that my ex and I were compatible, we’d just failed to see that we’d landed in a rut. But still, there was no room for regret. She was happy with someone else and I was happy with my work. The women would come, I had confidence in that. I just needed to make sure that I was ready to take on a full commitment.

It wasn’t too long ago that I was at the right party with the right friends and met a woman who interested me. Where before I might have been exposed as sensitive to my recent relationship failures, I felt bold and confident. I don’t know if it’ll work or not, but I know that taking my time and carefully measuring my steps is leading me in the right direction.

Original Story

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